“Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly at first” – Dr. Bob Hoke. That quote is one of many from my book Dr. Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit that I’ve found helpful in my life as a professional artist. [a link to that book is here: https://store.bookbaby.com/book/dr-bobs-emotional-repair-program-first-aid-kit]
When I begin any commissioned portrait of someone’s special dog (or cat) I make a series of practice sketches of that breed before I attempt a likeness of the special dog. Yes, I’ve been doing these portraits for years but I still find it helpful to start with the basic characteristics of the breed. Then I can look at someone’s special dog and see what makes that dog unique.
I’m currently working on a commissioned portrait that has a schnauzer in it. Here are a couple of practice schnauzers (not pictured are about 5 other practice pieces).
Shultz by Clancy – ink on handmade paper
Gustav by Clancy – ink on handmade paper
All of this talk of “practice” has reminded me of a story Dr. Bob told that is not in the above mentioned book. That story went like this:
Once there was an Emperor who had a pet rooster. He decided he wanted a portrait of his beloved rooster to be painted by the best artist in his land. One of the artists was invited to the palace and was asked to make the portrait. The artist agreed, saying that he would need 3 months in order to do it. Then he would return to the palace and paint the portrait in front of the Emperor. The Emperor was pleased. The artist went back to his studio and worked hard every day for 3 months. Then he returned to the palace, as agreed, with his art materials. The Emperor had his pet rooster brought before the artist. The artist watched the rooster for a while and began to paint. In about 3 minutes the painting was finished. The Emperor was thrilled with the portrait and asked for the artist’s fee. The artist named what sounded like a large sum. “What?!” bellowed the Emperor “That only took you 3 minutes to create! Why do you want so much money? Are you trying to swindle me?” The artist requested that the Emperor travel to his studio by way of a reply. Reluctantly the Emperor did so. When they arrived and the artist flung open the doors of his studio the Emperor saw thousands of rooster drawings. The artist described his work history and extensive training and while the Emperor marveled at all of the rooster portraits the artist added “The portrait of your rooster has actually taken me a lifetime to paint.” The Emperor happily paid the artist’s fee.
You can see more of my dog practice work in my newest book “Dogs by Sue Clancy” https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Dogs-By-Sue-Clancy
I’ve been busy working on art commissions – and some extra special “dog-drawing-for-Christmas” requests – none of which I can talk about in public ’cause, you know, they’re somebody’s present! So I took a very short time off from being one of Santa’s elves and did this short-narrative poem plus illustration practice:
Molly – By Sue Clancy –
Molly sat combing her hair
Tangles she had here and there
It took some might
But she set it a-right
Then got dressed and went dancing somewhere.
illustration and poem “Molly” by Sue Clancy
Doing my short narrative – poem plus illustration – practice again. Perhaps I should call it “dog drawing plus words”?
Ponder – By Sue Clancy –
There once was a dog named Ponder
Who was full of curiosity and wonder
“What’s it like in the lea?
or for people at sea?
Oh what is it like over yonder?”
Sketch and poem titled “Ponder” by Sue Clancy (drawing made with pen and ink)
Today’s short narrative practice… original poem and art/illustration to follow:
Danny Joe – By Sue Clancy
There was an old dog named Danny Joe
who played a lively banjo
and sang folk songs
about rights and wrongs
and all the things a body should know
art illustration to go with a poem by Sue Clancy called “Danny Joe” – the art is pen and ink on handmade paper
Here’s some more short narrative practice, or poetry practice, or words plus pictures practice or if you want to be really accurate you could call it “Sue’s playing around again”. Whatever you want to call it – here’s the poem and illustration:
Card Times by Sue Clancy
A sly old dog named Muffin
Sat on a cushion of stuffin’
While playing cards
And sweating hard
He said firmly “I aint bluffin’”
Card Times – words and illustration by Sue Clancy (the pen and ink on handmade paper artwork is titled “Aint Bluffin”)
Earlier today I did a blog post called “Friday Fun In Progress” about a short narrative poem I was in the process of writing and illustrating. Then I took a lunch break. Thanks for waiting so patiently…. and without further ado here’s what I came up with:
The Fudge Judge – By Sue Clancy
A strict, stiff, sober Judge
was asked to jury some fudge.
With unusual glee
he shouted “For me?”
then ran off with the very best fudge.
The Fudge Judge – illustration and poem by Sue Clancy
I’m working on my short narrative practice again; aka writing a quickie poem/story plus creating an illustration for it. I’m thinking of fudge, fudge competitions, and the process of asking people to judge something so subjective as what something tastes like… and what could happen.
Anyway, here’s what my desk looks like right now… more progress to come later, after lunch. All this thinking about fudge and I’ve realized that I’m hungry. Back in a bit…
Sue Clancy’s work-in-progress; writing a short narrative poem and creating an illustration for it.
Here’s a self-portrait I did this morning. (Aka: more short visual story/narrative practice.)
Self-portrait of the artist this morning. By Sue Clancy
I was looking in my files for some dog photos and found this graphic narrative I’d written and drawn some time ago. Since I’ve recently been practicing my “short narrative/ flash fiction/ nonsense” on this blog I thought you’d enjoy seeing this effort too!
A short autobiographical graphic narrative by Sue Clancy
Practicing “narrative” additions to my “visual story” thing – and this time I illustrated a short short-poem-story-like-substance. Please wash your hands after handling (ahem, wink) this one titled:
Haste Accounting by Sue Clancy
An accountant was working in Haste
who added his numbers with paste
saying “If these sums are wrong
then I’ll sing you a song
but there’s simply no accounting for taste.”
illustration for “Haste Accounting” a poem written and illustrated by Sue Clancy