I think one of the biggest mistakes an artist keeping a visual journal or sketchbook can make is to stop when he gets frustrated.
That’s when you kick it up a notch, hunker down, repeat, repeat, repeat.
Keep searching for that line, or that likeness, whatever it maybe.
If you give up too quickly you never learn to work through frustration. (Something that is valuable in whatever job or relationship you ever find yourself in!)
And working and searching like this is also very fun. Maybe not the first time you do it, but the 1,000th time or 20,200th time…
It gets more and more fun all the time. Because each time you embrace the mess and find even one line to enjoy, you discover something new that you bring along in your into drawing and painting practice.
Look, I know you might not trust me on this. Maybe frustration makes your stomach roll over.
But everything worth learning is worth working through that frustrating phase to learn.
Right now drawing is incredibly painful (headache inducing) and non-fun on several levels for me, but I know, through practice, how much fun it is overall, and how much I will enjoy, not just a finished study which catches a likeness, but the also the funky “Don Quixotesque” lines of version 4, and the dawning understanding of Ray’s skull in version 3.
Observation is its own reward, to be enjoyed and savored, happy in the knowledge that you showed up. Only you can earn that. And nobody can take it away from you.