How Much is Not Enough?

I beginning to get comfortable with minimal detail in my drawings but there is always a question about how much is not enough.

This may be the same reason why so many artists love John Singer Sargent. He was supremely skilled in stating the essentials with a grace and simplicity that never came close to copying. It’s easier to copy exactly what you see than it is to depart from it and still keep the essence of the form. To indicate just enough to communicate and nothing more.

I’m not sure I’ve pulled off the lack of detail of the tyrannosaurus’s body while communicating enough, but at the moment I like it’s current state. I feel that if I did less it would just look lazy. I could add a bit more detail to the body and tail but then that would pull away from the blur of action and compete with the head for prominence.

What I may do before I spray this drawing is soften more of the edges on the tail.

Side note… If there is one thing that I would suggest to every artist, is to review all their work through a digital eye. After every session of work look at the artwork through a cell phone, on your computer, or whatever digital means you have. But pass it through that digital filter.This is the only method that I’ve ever found completely breaks the spell of closeness with an artists and their work.

Jurassic Park Drawing

Previous Tyrannosaurs Drawing Posts


The normal 15 minute warm-up in graphite.


Short Drapery Study

This book The Natural Way to Draw is a wonderful source of exercises that constantly keep me working a little outside my comfort zone and reflecting on more than just copying what I see. It’s not the book to go through if you want to learn the foundations of representational drawing but it is the book you want to move beyond the surface and into emotion or purpose with your work.

Graphite Drapery Study

Daily Composition and Sketch

A composition of a cashier behind the counter at RiteAid then a sketch of my french press… again.

daily composition and sketch

What went well, what was awesome! Celebrate It!

I’m learning so much more about letting go of detail and figuring out how much is not enough.

What needs work? What did you learn?

When drawing drapery I could do better by shading against the form. Or deciding when going against or with the form is best.

How am I going to Optimize moving forward?

For tomorrows drapery study I’m going to take my time with the form of each fold and simplify it as much as possible.


  1. Love the T-Rex — espeically how you blurred the body and the tail, which brings all the focus to the head, where it should be. Also really like how gave motion to the tail. For me, the two artists who captures motion better than anyone else are Frazetta and Sorella. With Frazetta I often feel like I just walked in on something about to happen,.

    I agree with using a camera to get a differnt view of your art. I try to remember to do this on a regular basis, but often fail. I’m sure you already know, but back in day, artists would turn away from their work and use a handheld mirror to allow them to see their work anew.

    • I never thought to look at Frazetta! Thanks! That is an artist I need to get some images from.
      The mirror works great also. There is even a “Titian Mirror”, which is basically a piece of glass that is blackened on one side that you can use to check values.

  2. I think the idea of viewing your work from a digital source is a lot like an author/writer reading their work out loud. I’m often amazed at how many mistakes I find when I read my work out loud versus when I just read it silently to myself.
    I love the T-Rex. She’s pretty awesome.

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