learning stuff

Posted:

This is going to be a pretty serious post, so let’s start off with a little tiny bit of absurdity.

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I'm a little teapot!

failing

Not that we got that out of the way, let’s talk about something a little bit more personal. As you may or may not know I’m doing another 365 project, this time with drawing. I bought this sketchbook for it and the sketchbook has 170 pages. This is just 25 pages sort of getting me through the full 365 project. You probably know where this is going, but I had to learn the hard way. So I stared this project with some excitement. And the first few days were ok because I was pleased with my project and eager to go through with is. The week following that was ok because i was trying out drawing on photographs. At some point, however, I was tired of drawing on photos every day. It felt gimmicky and like I was really missing the point of the project. Finally one day I decided that it was time to get back into proper drawing. I sat down to draw at 10pm, right before bed. I tried drawing a face. No good. I tried drawing another face. Also no good. Finally I lost it. I tore out the page in frustration and tossed the cursed sketchbook across the room. I hate this. I’m done.

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This drawing represents frustration. Also: bad drawing

Ugh. Fine. No. Alright. I’ll do it. I’ll keep going. Begrudgingly, I picked up the sketchbook and started drawing rectangles: a hard drive on a book. Nothing. Terrible. Another wasted page. Staring at a blank page with no inspiration is not a great feeling. Staring at a blank page when you need to hurry up and do one good drawing is a terrible feeling. Those of you who have done creative things before are probably going, ‘you only gave yourself one page a day to draw on? That’s absurd!’. Yes. Yes, I did. And, yes. Yes, it is. It’s so much pressure for no reason. My fun project turned into torture. Not only do I have to draw something every day, but I only get one page and it has to be perfect.

I had two choices: accept defeat and quit, or try again, but do something different. I tried the latter. There’s no longer a page restriction per day and the drawings don’t have to be perfect. That’s why I started working on this, after all - because I’m so out of practice. It’s unreasonable to not draw in 7 years and then expect to be just as good as the day I stopped. I know that three weeks in is a little early for a year-long project summary, but I’ve learned something already. I’ve learned to let myself fail. Not every drawing is perfect and that’s fine. There’s no reason to get upset; there are another 200 pages and then another sketchbook and then another.

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With this weight lifted off my shoulders, I can move forward with this project and really expect to succeed. At this point it’s a matter of finding the time to let myself draw and sometimes fail. On the weekends it’s a little harder because we’re out doing stuff, but the weekdays have become more productive. I have dedicated 40 minutes of drawing time every day on my way to work on the bus. It’s great because I can’t perfect a drawing. People come and go, so I only have enough time to throw down a rough outline before my subject is off to work. And I can’t sit there and get all upset that the drawing isn’t a perfect reproduction of the subject, because [s]he is already gone. I can just draw and enjoy the process.