I am working on my fundamentals by drawing basic shapes. Also, it is the first time I have tried using a charcoal pencil! It is definitely different than graphite and takes some getting used to!
Maybe it is a misguided sense of optimism, but I have always thought that if I put my mind to it that I can learn anything. And I think a lot of people share my view. That if you work hard enough at something that eventually you’ll get better at it and learn it.
Last year when I was pregnant and bored, I decided that would like to learn to draw. I loved looking at various illustrators and their works online, but I wanted to learn to do my own thing. So, I started with a basic drawing class put on by an adult continuing education program in my community. I learned that drawing is a skill and that you can improve. I also learned that it took a lot of concentration for me to draw and that sometimes it was tiring.
Drawing is also a skill that you must practice to keep up. I think if I wanted to draw something like the above tree right now, I’d have to give myself a few hours of warm-up before something even resembling a tree was produced.
Then, in March I gave birth to my son! I no longer had a few hours to sit down and draw something super realistic. I mostly liked doodling and playing around with color. I discovered the Spoonflower Weekly Contests and enjoyed thinking about a new theme every week. Plus, the sketching I did for the contests I could do quick enough while I was looking after my newborn son on Maternity leave.
And while entering them has been fun, I find myself wanting to improve my drawing skills and learn painting. So, that’s where I am at. I feel like such a beginner at drawing but it is a fun place to be. Sometimes, I don’t like the finished product that I make. I hope that I’ll get to the place where I eventually think what I made was actually good!
I’m hoping that if I persevere enough I will produce something I am proud of eventually.
Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.
– Ira Glass