Princess Bride Part 3 – Westley and Buttercup in the Fireswamp

Where does the time go? It seems like I ask myself that a lot. It’s probably on my mind so much lately because I’m rapidly approaching four decades of stumbling around on this planet. My kids seem to be growing faster than ever, and I’m trying to capture and appreciate everything that’s happening as it happens. But it’s hard to keep up sometimes, because days turn into weeks and then suddenly years. I’d always heard that’s how life goes, but it certainly seems true that everything only speeds up the older you get.

In true “where does the time go” fashion, of course it’s already somehow been a month since I last posted. I have three drawings related to one of my all-time favorite movies (and books) “The Princess Bride“, and fully intended on sharing them in somewhat rapid succession. But, I got hung up on how I wanted to present the progression video, which I decided to think about…and think some more. And then time flies and here I am. At least I finally got around to it, right? Small victories!

So, this is the second drawing in the recent Princess Bride series. And actually, overall it’s the third of four, since I also drew a sketch of Inigo and Fezzik a couple of years ago. The one from last month featured Inigo, Fezzik, and Westley creeping around the castle wall. The subject this time around is Westley and Buttercup in a scene that is one of the best in the movie. I love the back and forth between them as they enter the Fireswamp, when Westley is explaining where he’s been, about the Dread Pirate Roberts, and the dangers of the Fireswamp. There’s a great moment when Westley says something about it not being that bad there. Buttercup gives a classic “are you insane” look, then Westley says, “I’m not saying I’d like to build a summer home here, but the trees are actually quite lovely.”

Movie credit to William Goldman/Rob Reiner, Cary Elwes, and Robin Wright. Credit to me for creating the .gif file I guess.

So, anyhow that’s basically what I tried to capture. Both Cary Elwes and Robin Wright are great in how expressive they are in the scene. Especially Wright who, despite not being given much dialogue in many portions of the movie, still manages to convey clearly what the character’s reactions and thoughts are. I figured if I could get the facial features right in this drawing, it would be quite apparent…and if I got them wrong, that should also be fairly noticeable.

Here’s the final version of the drawing:

I’m really having some mixed results on these Princess Bride drawings, if I’m honest about it. As mentioned at the top, this is now the third one in the series, so you’d think by now I would start getting a feel for these characters. It’s a bit tough though, and I’m just not sure I’m capturing them exactly right. Don’t get me wrong, I do like this one! I think it turned out pretty well overall. It’s pretty solid in terms of a person looking at another person. The pupil/eye direction, which can be challenging, is good here. And I sort of got Buttercups “are you serious, dude” expression right. Not exactly, but close enough to understand the feeling there.

But the problem is just capturing the essence of the characters and the actors who play them. Yes, this does basically look like Cary Elwes and Robin Wright. And it does so more accurately than the previous sketch of Westley, Inigo, and Fezzik. But it’s almost like an impression of them, rather than what I was aiming for (a realistic portrait). Yes, I’m probably being overly critical, but I do tend to pick apart my drawings. It’s funny, I’ve been watching old episodes of the Joy of Painting by Bob Ross, which is one of my all time favorites. I love his calm demeanor and the way he makes art accessible; a really appealing philosophy for someone like me. Anyhow, in one episode, Bob Ross was talking about how he doesn’t hang any of his own paintings in his home. He said he just spends to much time picking apart where he thinks he could have done better – I felt like he was speaking right to me on that point. I love art, and I love making art, but somehow I don’t always end up loving what I make the same way.

So, trying to look at this overall with an unbiased mind, I think it’s a success I can be happy with. Like my ol’ pal Bob Ross, I won’t be hanging this up anywhere. But I believe these Princess Bride drawings are improving to some degree! I’ve got one more that needs to be finished, but I’m sort of ready to move on to a new topic. Not sure if I’ll finish it or not, I guess we shall see. I also made another progression video which I’ve put up on the YouTube channel. It’s a bit of a longer one this time…I tried to speed it up more, but for some reason there was a bit of shakiness that’s only noticeable at high speeds. I’m not sure what I did wrong there, but such is life!

That’s all for this one! Will I get around to finishing the last one? Stay tuned…it very well may be time to explore some new things. I mentioned an idea I had to built out my portfolio of images that I own the rights to publish in another book, but I’ve made exactly zero progress towards that end. I think I talked about that being a year-long project – I might need to revise that upward to a two year project! As usual, I also continue to grow my drawing idea folder with interesting stock images that I can’t publish, so I’m always tempted to practice with those even though I can’t do anything with them. I also have some other ideas that I doubt I’ll get to any time soon. I wonder if I’ll ever get to a point where I can actually finish everything I have in mind?

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