Okay. I think it might be time to admit defeat.
For the last few weeks I've been working on my Inkscape vector art skills by taking the original artwork of my favorite children's illustrators and trying to recreate them in a digital medium. And while most of the time things work out great, for heavily hand-drawn or hand-painted works like the one from my friend Ludwig Bemelmans here... it's a challenge.
I usually set an informal timeline of no longer than a couple of days to complete any particular work but this one has taken weeks to just get this far. And while I know I can definitely get it to a state of "pretty good" I'm also an incompetent enough artist to know when I am simply out of my league.
I'll never get anywhere near as good as the original, and that's fine. That's what makes Bemelman's work so iconic. If it was easy to replicate there would be lots of other books out there illustrated in the same way.
So while I may be admitting defeat for this particular challenge I learned a LOT while trying to figure out how to digitally recreate a beautiful painting. So in a way, maybe I'm a little more competent (or at least a little less incompetent) than I was before.
And that's really the point of the whole exercise. To practice, to learn, to improve, and to try again.