Above: 7 inch x 5.5 inch (approx.) piece of Folio paper stuck into my journal. (I didn't have my journal with me when I was out and about, because of needing to travel light. I just had small scraps of paper.) Sketch made with an 0.1 Staedtler Pigment Liner. Click on the image to view an enlargement.
This is an atypical drawing for me. FIrst it's a landscape. I don't usually do landscapes. Second, I really started without any focus, except on that central tree, and then the squirrel appeared, and then the tree at the right seemed more than interesting to me, and then I thought the small tree on the left seemed interesting because the squirrel was long gone, though I first had to put in the bench and some of the flowers and leaves, and since I'm here what's going on across the river because I really need something there compositionally and the sky is so flat and gray…
You get the idea, when I'm upset I don't really follow a logical plan when I'm sketching. On this day I was particularly upset, having had a bad experience with Dick's 91-year-old parents, specifically his dad.
At this point I felt I had three options. 1. I could interrupt my best friend at work, three blocks away, while sobbing in frustration; making her wonder about my sanity because I was unable to speak intelligibly. 2. I could run away and join the Peace Corps (OK there's that whole problem I have with anti-malarial drugs). And 3. I could sketch.
In 99% of situations, any situation, the best option is to sketch.* Even if you don't sketch in your usual manner. Even if you don't focus on what you normally would focus on. Even if the squirrel abandons you for finer fare elsewhere.
I love sketching on Folio with a fine pen so much that my attitude improved in the 30 minutes I was sketching.
In hindsight my best course of action would have been to sketch first, before calling C.R. a drongo (for insisting he could revamp his old bathroom into handicap accessibility by simply chainsawing down through the bathtub wall and constructing a sealed "doorway" in the tub.)
Learn from my mistakes.
And I will keep repeating—He's 91, he's 91, he's 91.
*Exceptions to the "it's better to sketch in 99% of situations guidelines" include all situations involving the operation of heavy equipment, and any situation involving Ninjas or the care of young children. (Both Ninjas and young children require constant observation so that you can plan your next response, though those responses are obviously widely different as the case warrants. I cannot actually think of any situation in which it would be safe or reasonable to sketch in the presence of Ninjas. I can say the same about the presence of children, unless of course there is another responsible adult present—preferably not just tending to the child's needs but also keeping watch for Ninjas and other dangers while you draw.)