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The Ugly Phase

When I started drawing faces, I learned there is an ugly phase. It's usually when you are going for the real deep shadows, when you are adding character that makes the face come to life... but JUST as you are doing that, Ugly shows up. The drawing is SO Ugly... you don't think the face can recover..


This is when a lot of artists say, "Woah, whoopsie there, let's rip this page apart and pretend it never happened." Then they start again and Ugly happens once more... the artist becomes doubtful, "I can't draw. I can't do this. I'm not an artist."


Sometimes Ugly appears from a relative or friend as they watch you draw and they say, "Eww, what is that" or they make a horrified expression or sound as they walk by looking at your art. Ugly sees Ugly.


Don't let this stop you! I've learned to embrace the Ugly. It took me a couple of times, don't get me wrong. At first, I'd cringe and think, "I'll never make this look good!" I remember one drawing I did of an Egyptian lady. It was late at night when I started the alcohol marker drawing. I got to the ugly phase. Oh, I knew I had to keep going, but I was tired. I thought about stopping for the night to rest, but ... well... instead of an Egyptian queen, she looked like a Mummy! (yeah, serious Ugly phase) I thought about a family member waking up and the ugly comments that would be made, so I swiped and swished and breathed life into the Mummy by the hardest. We (Ugly and I) made it through to a great drawing by pure determination at 4am!


Here's the thing, Ugly can stop you from enjoying art. But, listen, art is supposed to be fun!


So have fun with Ugly, make friends with it. Now, when I see the Ugly, I say, "Well hello there, Ugly! It's about time you showed up! How are you doing today?" I smile and know that I'm right on track and I know something awesome is going to happen soon.


To give you an example, here's a rough drawing, an Ugly phase and the finished project. You might think the finished project is butt ugly in green, but it's Halloween and I'm having fun!




Hello, Ugly!




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