At the beginning of the year I wrote a post about my intentions for 2014, and mentioned that I was going to incorporate three daily practices: One, I would de-clutter by getting rid of one thing per day. Two, I would find and save a daily piece of inspiration. Three, I would draw a picture every day. And while I have been pretty good at doing one and two, I seem to do those more on a weekly basis. Once a week I get rid of a bunch of clothes, or clean out the shed, or my desk, etc. About once a week I also go on Pinterest and pin things I like, or read through magazines and rip out pages for my notebook. But I have been really good about doing number three, drawing a picture every day, and I have to say, I love this practice. Here’s why:
- I love to draw. I always have. And once I get started, it’s hard to stop. I never took lessons or anything – I draw in a very simple cartoon style- and I think I probably haven’t progressed much since I was in elementary school, when I drew all the time with my friends.
- I love to color. All of my drawings are done with a fine-tipped black pen – no pencil, no erasing, no crossing anything out – those are the rules. And often when I’m done I don’t like my pictures much. So I get out the colored pencils or gel pens and spend some time coloring them in (often while watching Project Runway with Nadine) and that usually makes them better.
- I can see my style emerging. Mostly I draw faces and flowers, and use lots of bright colors. I love the groovy super-colorful cartoon style from my childhood. I love vintage mod illustrations. So I’ve found some books with those types of illustrations and I’ve been copying them. Like Drummer Hoff by Barbara and Ed Emberley and The Fireside Book of Children’s Songs illustrated by John Alcorn. I love copying these illustrations and have realized that while they may look simple, they are not simple to draw.
- I am facing my fears and letting go of expectations. I know that may seem silly. It’s just a picture after all. But I definitely have a fear of creating a bad picture. Sometimes I won’t even put my pen on the paper until I have a solid idea and feel confident about what I’m about to draw. But lately I’m trying to let the pen take me where it will. I’m trying to be okay with bad pictures in my notebook. And looking back at some of the pictures I thought were terrible, a lot of them aren’t so bad. Usually after some time has passed I’ve totally forgotten about what I was trying to draw or copy, and can see the picture for what it is – my version of the thing.
- My kids draw with me. Since I’ve started doing this Miles has asked to draw in my book (and I’ve let him) and Nadine gets out her own notebook out and draws with me. So the other day when I was at the art store getting silk-screens, I decided to get notebooks and pens like mine for the rest of the family, so that we can all draw together. I looked at Todd’s pictures the other day, and he is such a good artist. He can draw anything, and doesn’t have to copy like I do.
- Drawing is like meditation. It’s relaxing. It calms my mind and opens me up to new ways of looking at things.
- I use my drawings. I’ve incorporated them into my blog and printed them on fabric. Yesterday I took some of the pictures I drew of men with mustaches and used them for a fabric design contest I entered on Spoonflower. Today I could see that several people voted for me, and a couple of them commented that they liked the pictures and the colors. It totally made my day!
Here’s some of what’s in my notebook…
First, the bad stuff. Here I tried to draw Darth Vader from Miles’s Star Wars Encyclopedia book. Wow, could he look any less evil? I guess it’s hard for me to not draw cute stuff.
I also tried to draw Oscar, our cat. This picture isn’t necessarily bad, it’s just that it looks like an angry brillo-pad cat, and not our cute and fluffy little guy.
And there’s some way more terrible stuff in my notebook. But I won’t bore you with that. On to the fun stuff! I adore the book Drummer Hoff and remember loving it when I was a kid, and now I love copying pictures out of that book, like these:
I also adore John Alcorn’s work, which is very hard for me to copy. But drawing and coloring these groovy girls was pretty fun:
Back when I was working full time, sitting in loads of boring meetings, my doodle of choice was flowers. Sometimes I’d have pages covered with little daisy-type flowers. So I guess it’s no surprise that some of the pages in my notebook look like this:
And finally, here is a page with some of the mustache men that I turned into a fabric design for the contest on Spoonflower: