Note: I actually tried to post this yesterday, and then had web server issues of doom. I’m pleased to see most of my text preserved, so you get to read it after all.
I tend to be a minimalist when it comes to detail in a drawing. I know that the more detail I include, the less likely I am to be satisfied with the outcome, for the simple reason that I am equal parts perfectionist and impatient. When something only takes me a few minutes to draw (few of the drawings on this site took more than 10 minutes to execute; the “Wombatilim” image being the biggest exception, since I was planning on using it as a more widespread avatar), usually it comes out “good enough.” The more time I spend working on something, the higher my demands are for the final product because “Goodness, that took me how long?” The thickness of the brush I use to draw things for this blog is deliberate; aside from being fairly sure it will reduce well, it also provides a limit on how detailed I can be at all without everything becoming a black jumbled mess.
Occasionally, I’ll draw something that really needs background; the image just entirely lacks context without it, or the subject just looks strange without it. I have to figure out how little I can do while still getting the point across, and hope that I don’t feel it’s lacking when it’s finished. I also really don’t like drawing the background around the subject, mostly because the thick brush means the edges between subject and background get blurry and twonky and generally don’t look right.
Fortunately, Man invented Layers.
What ends up happening is that I end up drawing the entire background, and coloring it, and the entire subject on a different layer and coloring that too. Double that, because the color is generally on a different layer from the lines. In this case I actually wound up with three layer pairs, though the 2 most background layers got merged before I was finished.
One reason I enjoy photography is that the details are already there; I just have to worry about how I want to fit them into the picture. ;)