For a lesson I was looking forward to, it’s a bit unfortunate that it took me nearly 18 months to complete lesson 5. I started around the end of December and I was pushing forward fairly well, but by mid-January I had confirmation that my partner and I would be moving 1500km across the country for a big life change and honestly everything kind of went on the backburner.
After the move, I tried to pick up again where I left off but I was still struggling with my mental health and ended up just grinding on things, drawing without confidence, and just generally not having a great time of anything. I desperately wanted to push on but it felt like the more I pushed on, the less satisfied I was. It all came to a head around August when I had a breakdown about my anxieties in other situations. I ended up seeing a therapist who wasn’t particularly useful for my social anxiety, did help me move past my art block by letting me talk myself into a resolution.
Anyway, I ended up redoing Lesson 3 in September through to November 2019, which rebuilt some of my confidence with a pen. I tried to move onto Lesson 4 as suggested but ended up with a number of false starts till February 2020 when I decided to say screw it and tackle Lesson 5 head on.
Because of the large timescale, this lesson is kind of hard to talk about. I drew 15 pages the first time I attempted Lesson 5 and had only gotten halfway through the assignment because of rampant perfectionism. For context, my eventual page count came out to 18 pages in total, with some of these being extras from demos and such.
This time I decided to just try and push through and do the minimum number of pages. I think this was the right call because I made it through in 56 days, which came in slightly longer than my Lesson 1 - which I totally grinded on, don’t do that.
Australian animals featured quite heavily in my submission with my bird drawings - superb fairy wren and Australian white ibis - both being native to Australia. The first one had particular meaning as every few years from 2011, I have drawn the same reference of a fairy wren, so it seemed only right to try and tackle it as part of lesson 5, with the last attempt having been 3 years ago.
Superb Fairy Wren Progress
Lesson 5 Superb Fairy Wren
Whilst not nearly as impressive as a fully rendered digital painting, I feel the drawing captures the solid 3D forms of the wren much better than any of my previous attempts to date.
For my other animals, I tackled a wombat (AU native), squirrel, giraffe, alpaca, blue-tongued lizard (AU native), and a moorish idol (cover image). I was particularly proud of my moorish idol and blue-tongued lizard as it really felt like I’d nailed down certain concepts by this point that let me focus more on proportions and such. It was funny to me though, I didn’t really want to draw fish or lizards, I couldn’t really figure out their construction just looking at them but after discussion with a few people before I commenced construction of my moorish idol, I’d nailed down an approach I wanted to take that ended up working really well. (Simplifying the body of the fish to a flattened, rounded cylinder).
When I redid Lesson 3, I picked up a habit of actually warming up before I worked. I found that I tended to get less frustrated when I wasn’t warming up on my work itself, so I continued this into my Lesson 5 work and onwards… it never seemed particularly important, but it does get me more into the mindset I need to draw and deal a little better with failure.
After two years of working on learning to draw animals in the constructive method, I’m proud to finally be done with Lesson 5 (No redos! Yay!) and be able to move onto other things - like the 250 cylinder challenge.