Sunday Mailbag: Happy Accidents?

December 10th, 2017 | Posted in Mailbag

Q: How much of your drawings are not planned? I mean, are there parts where you are thinking: “Hey, I didn’t plan to draw this line/look/composition like that, but it looks good. I’ll keep that!”

A: That’s what Bob Ross used to call “happy accidents”.

When you get right down to it, all drawing is like that. As an artist I have an idea of what I want my drawing to look like, and then I spend time pursuing that mental image. Sometimes it appears instantly, sometime I have to chase it down. That mental image is seldom a fully finished drawing in your mind, so you explore with the pencil or pen or stylus in an effort to find that image. What you end up with when you are finally satisfied is usually not exactly what you had in your head. The physical act of drawing with your hand, the paper or surface you are drawing on, and what’s in your head leaves lots of room for “happy accidents”, but that’s what the process of drawing is really all about. So, to answer your question: Yes, that happens all the time.

Thanks to Dominick Zeillinger for the question. If you have a question you want answered for the mailbag about cartooning, illustration, MAD Magazine, caricature or similar, e-mail me and I’ll try and answer it here!



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