Bad Drawing Habits and How I Plan to Embrace Them

ideaA friend of mine over on Bat Cookies just posted an article about her writing fears and desires. It struck a special chord with me in the current state of my drawing life. I was going to post a response there, but I realized quickly that I was going to be a bit wordy, and that my readers might appreciate the perspective, so here we are.

From the Days of Our Youth

“In 2004 I had won Nanowrimo and my love of writing was greater than my fear of it.”

She wrote a lot more when she was younger. She felt passionate about it and didn’t let fears or concerns get in her way. I feel the same way about my illustrations.

I can remember years of my life spent in a diner in the wee hours of the morning drinking coffee and just drawing with everything I had. Like her journals, I filled sketchbook after sketchbook with thousands of images filling page after page. It was like an addiction. The more I did, the more I wanted to do.

Like her, somewhere along the way, I became that cliché – my own worst critic. With that, you could watch as my volume of drawing just dropped away to virtually nothing.

I miss that addiction.

A Little Bit of Perspective

I’ve heard it said many times that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at something. While that may or may not be true, the concept gave me a bit of a new vantage on my current battle with the fear of doing bad illustrations.

It occurred to me that you have to pay your dues. You have to do those bad drawings before you can get to the good ones.

The key here, I think, is to focus on the positive. With each individual sketch, I draw many lines and then select those that I think are the best and focus on them. Why wouldn’t I take the same approach to my art career? What’s more, people tend to respond better to a positive outlook. Yeah, I know that this sounds like another ‘duh’ point, but the simple truth is that I’m likely to stay more motivated by the positive responses that I’m likely to get by being positive. Positively.

Keep Pushing Forward

These thoughts have been swirling around in my head for a while now, and the conclusion that I’ve come to can be referred to as ABC: Always Be Creating or CC: Create Constantly. I’m making this a thing for me. I’m focusing on burning through (another?) 10,000 hours. Bad drawing? No problem – I’m just paying my dues. Good drawing? Excellent – let’s get some feedback on this. Another bad drawing? What can I learn from it.

What’s more, I’m going to be more inclusive in my art life. I’ll do some sculpture work. I’ll get out the paints and cover some canvasses.

More on all of this as I go forward, but for now:

Which do you like more? Always Be Creating or Create Constantly? Which has a better ring to you?

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2 comments on “Bad Drawing Habits and How I Plan to Embrace Them
  1. Shelle says:

    This whole post is made of win.
    Especially this, because it is so true:

    “It occurred to me that you have to pay your dues. You have to do those bad drawings before you can get to the good ones.”

    Also, and you say this above but not explicitly, I think that the bad is interspersed with the good, so it’s not bad, bad, bad … GREAT! GREAT! but more like bad bad …. oh cool, great! … not as bad but not my best, bad, GREAT! etc. etc.

    Thank you for reading and responding. I love that we can inspire each other.

    Oh, and re: ABC or CC – it’s whatever inspires you to draw. That’s the best one. Duh. :P
    Shelle´s last blog post ..Bad Writing Habits And How I Plan To Embrace Them

  2. Ray says:

    Semper Vobiscum – Always create (plural) in Latin.

    Look at Schlock Mercenary, a webcomic that has been running since 2000. Howard Tayler has been drawing it every day for 13 years now. His style at first was primitive. One might say, prepubescent. It has grown to a stylized, recognizable style. Do anything for 13 years and you’ll get pretty good at it.