Welcome to Monday, I hope you had a refreshing weekend.
For me the break from the work week brought some needed rest and with it, renewed creativity. Last week was a hard one as far as drawing goes. Every time I go through one more day or week like that, I don’t like it, there’s always something to gain from it.
Change and growth is on my mind a lot these days. We can change, it’s just really difficult to do—and takes time. We have to plan the changes we want to make. The plan does not have to be elaborate—but should be specific. The plan should more often, consist of what we need to remove than what we intend to add.
Decision is the stripping away of things less important: Do I get my style just right/perfected or go for finished and as good as I can get it now? If you decide on style, then finished isn’t most important. Either way you grow. But, deciding on finished allows you to have something to share with the world and have growth.
I’m still growing in my ability to plan (just ask my family), but it’s helpful to be at this long enough now to be able to look back and see changes, I aimed for, have taken root.
This week @Tylerhallstrom asked me about seeing improvements from year to year:
Hey Tyler, thanks for asking. Here’s my process/plan: for each period of time I want to focus on growing my skills, i.e. this year, the next six months, this month, etc. I define what I want to work on specifically. Here’s what I mean,
This year, my goal = clean up my lines (simple plan, definable outcome).
The reason to be specific is to enable us to have an intentional “metric” to judge our progress by. If we make specific goals then we have those specific characteristics to look at in our art. The question of whether I’ve progressed or not is not left to my subjective mood or opinion but rather an objective measuring of progress in specific areas. Make sense?
So, like I said, I wanted to be able to draw with cleaner lines when I wanted to. I’ve been studying other artists with clean lines in order to learn from them, so that I could bring more clarity to my drawing. I’ve accomplished that to a large degree, (along the way, I played with how far I could take my lines to be rough, as well as how simple I could get them) now I’m in a process of bringing what I’ve gained back into my own style.
This works for me. I gauge my progress this way. I studied color for a year, and once that time had passed, I compared how I colored the year before to how I am coloring now. I focused on perspective for a set time, and then compared my use of perspective from the prior year compared to the present. The same with storytelling, inking, etc.
Throughout the process, I also consider and keep at the forefront my purpose for my goal. I shared in this post that I realized a lot of the reason behind my unclean lines was more about a lack of confidence than it was a style I 100% wanted. (Now, I LOVE rough lines over precise ones, but there is a difference between control and lack.) If you’re not sure about your purpose just give yourself some space to be quiet and ask yourself why, then ask why to your answer until you get to what you know is your bottom line “why”.
I hope that adds to your arsenal of growing and making the changes you want to make, on purpose. This really is within each of our grasp. It’s hard at times, but the payoff is worth it.
One More Thing:
To wrap up, here’s a couple more thoughts, I’ve got words for this week. They may not all seem connected, in some ways they aren’t, but each one speaks to making decisions. Maybe they’ll hit home for you too?
*Trying other artist’s tools is a good thing, but being honest with yourself about what works best for you is a crucial part of that process.
*I like watercolor, a lot. I’m not great at it yet, but I think it will remain a primary tool.
*Art drops can be disheartening, but it’s still a good idea. About 90% of the time I haven’t heard back from recipients, it stays in the back of my mind wondering if the wind blew it away or if someone found it and saw no worth and trashed it, etc. It’s still a good idea because it allows you to put yourself out there and get used to not having feedback—but still feeling good with what you do.
*You gotta have hope to draw well. Without it, you create a cycle of pain. e.g., Pain: this is terrible. I can’t draw. I might as well give up. Hope: this is terrible, I’m going to get this—keep pushing forward.
*Inktober is coming. Gotta decide if I am going to do it.
How do you guys measure your progress from year to year? I’d love to hear what works for you.
Alright guys, have a great weekend and keep creating.
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