My path in art has been far from straight and unbroken.
I started sketching when I was quite young, and would spend hours and hours at it. I struggled with perspective, and went through a lot of paper.
At the age of 16, at a point where I had a basic sense of sketching, it all came to a sudden shuddering halt … I had discovered the opposite sex, and quickly forgot pencils and paper.
I later started a career as a graphic designer, and other than sketching here and there for my kids as they grew up, I had basically stopped doing art for myself.
32 years passed, and I decided to pick up pencil and paper, sketching out the fascinating stories I was reading of automotive racing history.
I then wanted a bigger challenge, so I moved to pen&ink. I decided to do my very first crosshatched pen&ink sketch, the subject being a Cobra Daytona Coupe. As a graphic designer, I was taught to draw the line where it was meant to be. But as I put that first line to paper, it didn’t go at all where it was planned!
I thought to myself “I’ve ruined it!” At this point, the normal reaction would be to throw it out and start over. Instead, I thought that as it was already ruined, I might as well continue for practice. I put another line down … wrong! … and then another line down … wrong! … and so I kept going.
Tourist Trophy - Goodwood 1964 © Paul Chenard
Before I knew it, I had a lovely crosshatched pen&ink Daytona Cobra Coupe sketch!
It was a real revelation for me, the fact that what I first perceived as a mistake was really just fine, and worth continuing. You can start something without knowing the final result, and let your curiosity lead you through … let the result be a surprise.
I later digitally added colour to the sketch. © Paul Chenard
Later I showed my sketch to an acquaintance, and they said that they could never do something that well, that they would put the lines down wrong! I told them that every line in my sketch was wrong, yet look at the result!