Bernice

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This was the last version I did. I think I may like it best, because I added a few strokes to give her face more definition, as well as multiple filters to give it a sort of watercolor look. It still looks like a child’s painting, but a ten year old instead of a four year old. It’s a start, and crude as it is, Bernice does have some personality conveyed by this drawing, and that’s the idea, isn’t it?

I think I’ll call her Bernice. She is a very precise and earnest woman. Very serious. My jokes go right past her. She practices yoga diligently. This is the beginning of a character in search of a story. I have yet to draw THE character, the one that captures my heart and comes to life magically before me. But I will get there. She is out there somewhere waiting to be drawn.

Before judging me too harshly, please consider that this is one of the first drawings I have done with serious intent, in many many years, thirty at least. I need to get my skills back. Tonight I began drawing and it was absolutely horrible!!! I would rather have had my fingernails pulled out one by one than go through the agony of trying to draw and having it look like the efforts of a five year old child. But then I just gave up on it and just scribbled, and lo and behold, the very earnest features of Bernice emerged. She is 43 years old and believes in affirmations. She wrote me this one: “Every day in every way I find myself again. All my pleasures can come to pass in time. Give me patience in my endeavors.” You see? I am already giving Bernice her life in words. Now I need to put together a story. Bernice is a peripheral character, one of the main character’s friends. I may use myself or create someone else. I haven’t decided. But, at least I broke through my resistance to drawing. Considering that I sketched this in about ten minutes (I am so impatient!!!) I am rather happy with it, at least it works to some degree. I like the sloppy quality, I do my best work when I bypass my OCD tendency to want to draw very realistically. This is much more expressionistic, and I captured a very serious and earnest quality in Bernice. She is ‘concerned’. It shows in her face. But I can do better. This is just a start. This is the one drawing I felt I could share without embarrassment. This is so much harder than just using images I find on the net, but it is honest. It is completely my creation, and not a copy of a photograph. But, clearly, I need lots of practice. This whole project will be slow in coming together. I’ve got to put my story together. But, it is interesting how, when I became frustrated and gave up, Bernice appeared, and I already have a sense of who she is. The drawing is just a beginning. I need to bring her more fully to life.

I can’t wait to do more!!!, even though it is very hard work. It is hard to describe how I work, I just start scribbling and something begins to emerge. I can’t plan it, or I drive myself crazy. The more I draw, though, the better I will be. My fledgling attempts to write, back when I began my first blog, were equally amateurish. I will get better. I will get a lot better, if I just keep on drawing.

So here are some examples of what I did on Gimp (poor man’s Photoshop) after I scanned my drawing. I got some interesting results. I hope you enjoy, and perhaps my first baby steps in drawing will inspire other bloggers to illustrate their work as well.

This is the original drawing, done freehand on a pad, old school. I knocked it out in about ten minutes, tired and frustrated after an hour of absolutely horrible drawings. This isn’t a good drawing but it is a start. On some level it seems to work. Bernice is born. Hi Bernice!!
I used Gimp to add washes of color. This is really childlike, but it has it’s charm.
I used Enhance to create this very expressionistic version. I like it and I don’t. Just experimenting. I love just messing with the possibilities.
The Oilify feature gives my drawing the look of a watercolor. I sort of like it, but as I post these versions of Bernice I find that I actually like the original drawing the best in a lot of ways, because it looks fresh and spontaneous, because, guess what? it was.

So I learned a lot in a short time. I was surprised at how adept I was in the retouching to the drawing depicted in the final version of Bernice. In just a few seconds I instinctively knew what to do. It is still a poor drawing, but slowly but surely I am getting back in the game, and regaining a long lost talent. As I do more of it, my true abilities will reappear. But what a struggle! but I promise I won’t cut off my ear and send it to ‘you know who’.

In this beginning of the beginning of a new series yet to be named or plotted out, I am proud to say I am indebted only to myself and Gimp. There were no outside sources. It is very fitting that this is the 300th post on this blog. It is a positive culmination of my creative surge over this past year.

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