There's a sort of... 'curse' in professional circles, that if (for example) a client needs you to do a drawing of a cat. So you do 5 sketches of different types of cats so the client can pick which one they like best. You love 4 of them but hate one of them, the client is guaranteed to pick the one you hate.
As for screwing up, you learn more from one piece you FUBARed than 10 piece you did perfectly. I bet you learned a lot from your drawing and your mistake?
Quite often, it's one of the disadvantages of working in pen. Usually I try to hide it in some way - covering it up or adding marks to other parts of the drawing so it looks like the mistake was deliberate. It's a good job that I like a certain amount of imperfection and scruffiness, sometimes if something is too neat it loses character and becomes sterile but on the other hand if something is too scruffy it looks a mess so its a bit of a balancing act.
There's an "Oh, shit!" moment in nearly every drawing. I've always seen it, after I stop the self-flagellation & panicking, as an opportunity to prove to myself what kind of artist I am. If I can fix the fuck up du jour, I might not be half bad.
Seeing it as part of the deal, like you said, seems like a good way to look at it.
I've thought about doing that, too, lightening the areas around it. I ended up covering some of the white with blue spots (it's a spotted froggy), and that reduced it to a point that I'm happy with it. I think in the future, though, I'll do that before I add the gouache.
Nearly finished artwork that took a couple of hours to make meets: coffee spills, paint on wrist, sneeze, grease from fingers, wrong color on brush, a dirty floor to fall on, electricity power outage, monitor breakdown, computer freeze, computer break down, paint squirts from air-brush, ink bleeding, water-color bleeding...
I suppose if a person isn't making mistakes, they can't have something to personally improve on. Sometimes I feel like I draw what is familiar because it's "easy." Recently though I've been feeling like I need to expand from this, you know? That means working on challenging projects. Mistakes could be thought of as a very good thing, in that light. If an artist isn't making mistakes, they're not growing! I've always approached projects wanting them to be perfect, but I think that's where my unhappiness with them comes from, when I do that.
That's how it goes a lot for me, my hardest work gets no love at all and the stuff I feel like I screwed up gets praise. Even in class... my professor would come up behind me while I worked on my worst figure drawings and start praising them.
Omigosh, that's funny! I can see how that'd be frustrating too. Do they ever tell you specifically what they like about those drawings? I've been reading some art blogs, and one suggested exaggerating those qualities that others react to, especially if they are something the artist would consider a mistake. I thought that was interesting advice. It's one reason I'm looking forward to having my work displayed at this art fair, so I can see how other people see my art.
Sometimes they'll tell me specifically what they liked, but when I try to re-create it later... flop, no one reacts at all. Honestly, what people like just seems like a toss-up. The things I think will get a good response almost never do. I guess all you can do is keep doin' your thing (and trying new things).