Finished – The Wrong One

At the 11th hour, I decided to add a second arm to the captured toad. I felt the composition was lacking. Thankfully, I have several reference photos and found a suitable toad hand. I roughly photoshopped it on to my reference and then lightly sketched the new hand on to the drawing, looking at my computer screen. (Some day I will know toad anatomy enough to be able to draw a toad hand from memory!)


It was terrifying to go to my mostly completed drawing with an eraser and a razor blade and pull away an arm-shaped patch of pencil. The layers were very thick and the paper was rough and abused underneath them all. Thankfully Prismacolor’s Peach pencil really helped blend any parts of the hand back in once I had destroyed them. I think it ultimately worked out. Here is the .gif of the piece from start to finish.

That thumb was too much “blank” space for me. It’s my thumb, and it just isn’t that massive in real life. I am happy with the decision. It shows that a drawing just isn’t finished until it’s finished!

Now the toad looks even more resigned to the sexual harassment he is being subjected to; as if even he has accepted the cliche and it is a given that he will be snatched up and test-smooched from time to time.  Never mind that the fairy tale does not advise the kissing of random amphibians.

This drawing is 100% Prismacolor Colored Pencils – on Stonehenge paper, of course. The finished presentation will be a more vertical crop. Behold:

I am going to enter it into the Prismacolor contest right now.  Looking for a toad arm last night, I think I found my next drawing, too; another view of this guy struggling to get free. I could use the practice drawing hands of all species.

Why toads?

I had a very good experience at the LoLa Art Crawl this past weekend. I was at Glacier’s Cafe on Minnehaha across from the Hub. We had great weather, good traffic, and really good frozen custard and sandwiches. Thanks to Ben and everyone at Glacier’s for a great time! My only complaint would be that I wished I could have gone out to crawl some of the other spaces myself.

I had a lot of interesting conversations with people about many different topics. Some wildlife rehab volunteers told me about rehabbing snapping turtles. I directed a young artist to Wet Paint in St. Paul for the best selection of truly artist quality colored pencils. The question I got most was “why toads?”

I know I gave a different answer every time. Sometimes I talked about the wonder of frogs and toads in fairy tales, other times I just said that they make me smile. I do  think there is more to it than that ; I identify with their ugliness and their ordinariness.  Their individuality is lost on the people they come in contact with. They are defined instead by the odd place where they were found or how close they got to your lawn mower blades. Instead of the princess, I feel like the toad. Perhaps there is some magic behind this toad skin; perhaps not. I just know that this really does make me smile.