Bob helped me draw my dragon today — we talked about the shape of the dragon, the chest puffing out, and I particularly liked how he helped me figure out the claw coming toward the viewer.
It was not easy for him.
I got so frustrated. I couldn’t get the shape right. He was going too fast. He wasn’t showing me what he was doing. He wasn’t being specific enough. He was being too specific. Where do you put that arm? What’s wrong with its legs? How are you drawing that thumb? What do I do with the rest of the arm?
About ten minutes in, I told him it wasn’t working. Something wasn’t right. It wasn’t him though, it was me.
I wanted step-by-step directions. I wanted him to fix things, but not fix things. I wanted to be good at it. I wanted him to like it. I WANTED.
Wanting leads to frustration, and frustration leads to anger…or chocolate.
I slowed down. I focused in. I worked on the dragon’s body. I didn’t draw the wings because I didn’t want too. I liked the way the dragon looked. Except he looked too plain — too many dark lines and simple edges.
“What would you do?” I asked Bob, calming myself, breathing.
“Maybe you could add a ridge? Over there?” He pointed over the shoulder of the dragon.
I nodded my head and drew ridges down its back, and then along its arm.
I like him.
But, I don’t super like myself.
I want to be able to learn without the edge. It reminds me of high school math class, when I would get stuck on a problem, the frustration would creep in, and I wouldn’t be able to finish it.
I need to figure out how to deal with that.
That’s the lesson for today. Not the tail, not the dragon, but myself. Listening, questioning, and finding a better way.
I’m dedicating this one to my friend, Kristin Noreen. It’s her birthday. She wanted a purple dragon, so here it is, with all it’s attendant complexities.
Thank you for all you do to support other writers, Kristin. You are a light at the end of the frustration, and a voice of support and encouragement.
Keep on writing.