It’s rare, but every now and again I’ll jump right in to painting the sketch and not finish the drawing. I mean, it’s something I almost never do. Almost without exception I fully render a traditional drawing and finish it before I even think of painting it, digitally or otherwise.

But! For this one? Just dove in.

The results? A more painterly approach, sure. As a study I think it was successful and as an excuse to practice painting a sketch, fulfilled it’s purpose.

If you’d like to see how it developed, I recorded it sometime back.

While I liked this one and I was pleased with the rendering, I was never completely happy with it. Hard to say just why but after five hours of tinkering (as you can see in the video) I was ready to call it done.

So what happens when you’re revisiting a piece and prepping files to post? Well, if you’re me, you might continue to tinker!

Small adjustments but they lend a big difference. Feels like a totally different character to me.

While I like the original ghostly pale eyes, there’s a little more something to communicate with here. They read as a humanizing touch. I also like the highlights on the adjusted “snout” or whatever you might call it. The flatness of the original face stood out. The question now is which the real one? Do think I one or the other is the better, finished version? You’ve got me with that one. It’s up to the viewer. I mean, for me, probably the newer version but, ultimately, I think it doesn’t matter! As studies they both work and they both accomplish different things. In fact, seeing the two versions together somehow makes me appreciate the original more.

I think the larger lesson is that it can be worth the while to return to a piece that never sat quite right. That the experience is, at very least, educational to see just what you’ve learned in the intervening months or even years.

After a little time you can better see what stands out, what you could improve, and what still works.