When teaching kids, I very regularly equate the skills they’re working on to working out physically. “Could I wake up today, having never run a kilometre, and complete a marathon, and feel good at the end of it?” They all harmonize on their enthusiastic “Noooo!” I answer, “So, then you need to think of (fill the blank skill: this math problem/writing a story/revising a story/creating art/and on and on) as you would working out. You can’t just start lifting a tonne – you’ve got to start somewhere, and maybe that’s at one pound. It’s the same thing. Let’s start somewhere and practice, practice, practice, until we love it. Then, let’s practice some more to get even better.”
Well. I can dish it out, but I don’t always take my own advice. Maybe that’s why I’m a fairly decent teacher, but I can’t run, or lift weights, or sometimes … draw.
Tonight, I feel like my hands must be broken. They just won’t draw! No matter what I do, no matter what I visualize, no matter how I copy and alter and alter and change and reorganize the features of a model … it’s just not working. I was getting frustrated, so I stepped away.
Then it hit me.
I haven’t actually drawn in about 2 weeks.
What my studio looks like when I follow my own advice. Reference materials, paints, sketchbooks, works in progress, it’s all out.
I was drawing every single day for a month, and it was getting so great. I was loving what I was doing. Then, I added colour to the images, and started playing with them on the computer, and put together marketing materials with finished images, and changed up my website, and did all of this art-related stuff. But, I broke my own rule. I didn’t make art.
So shame on me. I’ve learned my lesson. I need to draw every day. I’m putting a sketchbook in my bag, and I’m going to put in the time, so that I can lift the metaphorical tonne. The images in my brain need to find their way out, and I’ve got to practice, practice, practice until I love it. Then, I’ll practice some more to get even better.