Monday, March 21, 2011

Breaking up is hard to do...

     Have you ever had an idea that you thought was good, and you were so sure it was good that you worked way too hard and long trying to get it right when you really just needed to let it go?  It happens to me a lot, actually.  A case in point is my first idea for last week's Illustration Friday topic, "stir".  The first thing I thought of was a witch's cauldron.  But, not being in the mood to draw witches, I thought I'd try drawing a cat instead.

     I really liked her face but the plain cat just looked too.....naked.  So then I thought maybe the cat had somehow grown large enough to pilfer the witch's robe and cauldron for dress-up.  But although that idea was clear to me (since I thought of it), I didn't think it would be clear in the illustration.  How did the cat get that big?  Why wasn't there a fire under the cauldron?  The illustration wasn't answering the questions it was creating. 
     Well, what if there were a fire under the cauldron and the cat had on her own robes?  I tried that.

     Not bad I suppose, but the cat was becoming less important as the cauldron got more attention and the whole illustration seemed to be traveling farther away from the theme of "stir" than I wanted it to.  At that point I should have known that the idea just wasn't right and stopped working on it.  But no!  First, maybe color would save it!

     It was the same confusing illustration as before, but with color.  Cute maybe, and I'll keep the cat around to use for something else someday, but it still wasn't right.  After a couple of days of struggling with the cat idea I sadly admitted it just wasn't going to work.
     So I started over, ended up with the spoon idea posted on this blog, and had it finished in a few hours.  One more lesson in not falling too much in love with my own ideas.  Sometimes a clean slate is just what is needed.


  1. I love this little stirring cat. I like how you've showed usthe process.

  2. Thanks for sharing your process and thoughts on this illustration. This is so true! I find myself stuck on one idea and refusing to just let go. Thanks for the reminder (sometimes a clean slate is what is needed). Although I do love your cat idea and your characters expressions.