Those faint lines all over the show are my original blue pencil layouts. I just scribble them in, feeling around for size and mass and general shape. Look at how many weird things those leaves did and how the stick insect's body is one big blue cloud, I fiddled with it so much.
But those blue mistakes were necessary to the second draft: that dark pencil sketch. There, I (more or less) picked out one line. I gave the sketch light and shadow and general form. If this had been a story instead of a drawing, the characters would have the same name throughout at this stage. The plot would make sense, and any sense of symbol or theme I picked up in the first draft would be amplified. The main thing is, that early searching and flailing has now been simplified.
Of course, the finished tattoo was the actual 'final product', but the literary metaphor would break if we tried to stretch it that far...
If I'd let my critic off its chain too soon, I might have sat there with my pencil in one corner of the drawing, fussing and fretting over a bit of twig, or the veins in that one leaf. I'd probably *still* be fretting that leaf on the right, or that front leg on the left. The tattoo would never have been done, let alone the full sleeve it grew into.
If I hadn't let it off at all, well... How many people want an incoherent scribble for a tattoo? How many people want to read bad writing? Who in this world wants less than your personal best?
It's all about balance. Charles uses a metaphor of personal appearance. Get too critical too soon, and you'll be the literary equivalent of Tammy Fay Baker sleeping in full makeup so not even her husband would see her true face. Go the other way, and you go the Kevin Federline route, showing up for important public occasions looking like you just rolled out of bed.
Now go write ugly!