I recently started a drawing challenge for myself. The first one came from whatever the first thing to pop up on a random generator was. I asked my niece to choose the second and then the third.
The third is the absolute hardest one so far. A dragon.
Now, she choose the dragon for me on this video:
It’s at the end. You don’t have to watch. Anyway…
Of the three options I knew she’d choose the dragon, somehow. Mostly because I knew it would be the hardest one. Fun fact, I once painted my husband, back when he was still my boyfriend, a dragon for our first Christmas.
He has since informed me that it’s actually a “wyvern” not a “real dragon”. Which, by the way, rude. I’d never drawn one before, let alone painted it. So it kinda made me feel bad. But he doesn’t read my posts so doesn’t matter what I say here.
So, with this most recent dragonian adventure, I did what any
sane normal me person would do. Put it off for two weeks. Every single time I messaged or FaceTimed my sister, the niece asked, “have you started on the dragon yet?”
My answer was always no, and she’d always ask why not. I’d give various reasons but honestly?
FEAR. OF. FAILURE.
My reasons for everything.
But tonight, I decided that it would be a better waste of my time than scrolling through TikTok endlessly, to start on this dragon. And so I did. Like, four times.
At one point I even got so fed up with erasing I closed one Procreate canvas and opened a whole new one. I’ve drawn and redrawn so many parts of this dragon that there are probably twelve different breeds of dragon floating unfinished in the digital eraser dust of the universe.
I used to imagine that the things you erased lived on in another form in the eraser dust you swept off your paper carelessly. There’s a universe somewhere where all those mistakes exist.
The dragon himself is currently living tailless on the canvas. You see, I got every bit (of the initial sketch) done but the tail, because I thought, “That’s gonna be the easiest part.”
But no. The part of his body, where his torso ends and tail begins looked wrong. I stared at it so long my brain only saw deformities. So, I created a new layer, hid the part I needed to edit, and drew a new tail to see if I liked it better.
The husband agreed that it did, and I erased the original and added the new. But then that bit still needed reworking.
So I erased that too.
Because even though the only person who needs to really see the dragon is a ten year old who probably only cares about choosing the next challenge subject, and that’s the only opinion that matters, I’m still being particular about it.
Therein lies the problem. It’ll never be perfect because I’m not an artist. I’m a doodler. I have been a doodler for decades. I’m not painter, nor do I sketch or any of that stuff. I doodle. I draw silly pictures of borderline depressed stick aliens named Steve in the borders of my college notebook papers.
And yet I tell myself I can do better because it’s not good enough.
But, despite that, despite the fact I’d love to keep working on it well into the midnight hours, only because the unfinished of it is eating away at my soul even as I type this, I am leaving it. I’m not leaving forever, it will not go unfinished, nay nay. Tomorrow probably, I will work some more. Hopefully I’ll finish it then.
But then there’s the silly video too.
The lesson of the day: do not seek perfection. Perfection is a silly thing, a nonexistent entity. A thing worshiped by many, claimed by a few, and attained by none. It’s nothing to praise or long for. The only things that are perfect are a child’s laughter, a well formed flower, and the way leaves tend to spread out in a canopy of trees. And rainbows. I think rainbows are pretty perfect.