I was going to just post a follow up to the pose practice I started doing with Clip Studio Paint, but after finishing off that particular drawing I didn't have a lot to say about it. However, it struck me that often when I'm practicing techniques or learning software, I never actually finish anything one hundred percent. I have a whole lot of "could be better" pieces that will never be taken further, so let's talk about why instead.

There's an easy answer that should be readily apparent: time. As you can see with the progress pictures in this post, there are loads of messy lines and basic colouring, which could all be neatened or detailed to really bring the image to life. I suppose that purpose has a lot to answer for as well, because once I feel the image has served its purpose, I kind of run out of steam.

The purpose of this piece was to practice drawing a human form in an odd pose. There are others like it, just in different poses, which all share this purpose, but have no further requirements to meet. So why not just draw an outline and be done with it? Well part of the pose practice is to go past basic shapes and to think about form and lighting.

Shading is another technique that can be its own focus, but any three dimensional object only really comes to life when it has some kind of depth applied to it. A pose involves more than just basic shapes, which is why I like to at least apply some basic shading or colour to imply at least a minimal amount of depth. 

With all this in mind, we get back to the idea of how much time is required on a piece for it to serve its purpose. I know that if I spend a lot of time on something, it will only get better as a result, but that would go well beyond the purpose of a practice piece. On the contrary, if I'm working on a piece to exhibit or sell, I want it to be the best it possibly can be, so will probably spend months on getting it just right. It still might not come out amazingly, but that's more down to available skill than anything else. By applying unrestricted amounts of time on a piece, it's possible to make it the best that it could be.

In the case of practicing different poses, quantity trumps quality every time. The benefit comes from drawing loads of different poses, so that your brain gets used to a basic human form and how it changes as it moves around. Repeating this process with different configurations is like learning the language of poses, which is my ultimate goal with this practice. The same could be said for anything else, but the common thread is that a large variety of attempts will achieve the purpose of the exercise better than a single perfect image.

To this end, I end up with a bunch of mid-level drawings that hint at what their purpose was, without ever being a polished work. The piece shown in this post is a good example of this, as there are parts that have nothing to do with poses, but were fun to play around with anyway.

The water/air/whatever doesn't have any purpose here, other than to try and form an idea from the pose and what its position could mean. The colouring is a bit of an afterthought, but serve as a vehicle for applying a couple of different shades to add to the overall form.

In my opinion, none of these elements are done very well and are simply there to serve the simple purpose of putting the idea onto paper. It's like the doodles I draw that appear in Sunday Sketchbook posts, they're simple representations of thoughts and emotions.

Sometimes though, this can be a double edged sword. Usually if I'm showing my work to anyone, it's a piece that is intended to be displayed or assessed on some level. It can be a bit confronting to show the doodles and experiments that are full of flaws and imperfections, because I'm incredibly aware of each and every one of them. 

Thankfully, I'm not really someone to be bothered by incomplete pieces, as I remember the intention and purpose of creating them in the first place. It's also why I would never want to judge someone else's art based on the work they produce when they are learning and practicing. Most of us are incredibly far from mastering any craft, so it's unfair to pick on the attempts that are being made along the way.

What I do find interesting is the balance between purpose and time, as it's something I try to balance as best I can. Maybe someday I'll know what the best ratio is and learn that there's no point trying anything unless it's taken to its pinnacle conclusion. Or perhaps all the doodling will pay off and after thousands of random shapes and thoughts on the page, it will become second nature.

It's all part of striving to get out of my own way by getting familiar with techniques in order to not have to think about them. Surely when the process becomes second nature you can easily focus on the outcome and produce the best result possible.

That's why I have a lot of mediocre sketches and drawings lying around. They might be flawed, but their existence was borne of learning and development, so who's to say they lack merit?!