For many artists, it seems that when they were a kid they were encouraged to draw and use their imagination, but as we grow older and weary, the world around us tears that down. “Get a real job!” - “Oh, that’s a nice hobby…” It becomes a perpetual vicious cycle.
I observed the two sides of this spectrum live at the comicon yesterday.
One the light side: My “Scribble Challenge” sheets would draw kids and their parents over. So many great parents encouraging their children to draw and have fun. It felt really great…
On the darker side: My “Draw Every Damn Day” banner is a siren call, sparking a reminder that somewhere along the way they forgot, or they got distracted building someone else’s dream. I hear the same stories that most are dealing with. And it can be a real struggle for them. Like an internal battle that they know that they should, but they’re afraid of the consequences. Failure? I’ve heard some real heartbreaking tales. But THAT is why I’m here. To listen. And to remind us all to STAY ENCOURAGED.
This brand is weird at a live show.
On one side, from a distance, it’s an ominous skull and bones…. abandon all hope, ye who enter here!!! But they find just the opposite of that at the table…. a whole bunch of hope.
While I usually communicate via emails or DMs these days, and I do hear all the awesome feedback from the community, it’s quite something to watch it happen live in front of me. To watch their energy change.
I observe someone slowly meandering down the aisle, and then I see them glance at the “DRAW EVERY DAMN DAY” and I know that instant if they draw or want to draw. We share some stories, I ask some questions, maybe they’ll try a scribble challenge live.
Here’s a template of a common story I hear yesterday at least a dozen times:
“I went to school for art or design and always wanted to do ______, but then I got a job doing _____, which is a great job it pays the bills, but I feel like it doesn’t fulfill me, or I’m missing something. I’m constantly working for others and there’s not time left for me. “
The end result after talking that out is usually a sense of hope. It CAN be done. It will. Because you must.
And I hope some of you have officially landed HERE on this list, in this community.
I keep seeing the same dichotomy. Parents with kids encouraging, then adults who feel beat down for doing it, or even thinking about doing it. Sometimes even the parents who encouraged it when they were young, are now discouraging it as a career choice.
We need to break that cycle. And it will take all of us.
Share what you know or what you’ve been through with other local artists. Conversations are good medicine.
Break the stigma of talking about the bad feelings, like creative depression, stress, anxiety. When people know they are not alone, they’re empowered to grow.
Encourage the youth. Tell them never to stop using their imagination. They need this energy for when the world turns on them.
Artists, you need to remember THIS IS MAGIC.
You can pull something out of nothing, and even deeper than that, you can create emotional responses with your work. You look at the world differently. People might catch you in the “thousand yard stare”. You know what I mean.
You’re observing things. Shapes, forms. You’re storing it up like mana. And when you can’t unleash that? It’s tearing you up inside.
If you’re out there reading this and you’re afraid to start, or afraid you’re not good enough, or saying “someday maybe…”, just remember, tomorrow is not promised. Start right now. Today. Even if only for 30 minutes.
This is the first OPEN weekly drawing prompt. I want you to draw whatever makes you smile. Maybe it’s a happy memory, or just something you’re a fan of. Hashtag it #drawordiechallenge online so I can find you.
Some people told me they “feel bad” for not doing the weekly prompts. Remember these are here for you IF you need them. I would love to discover more, but nobody is failing here. And you don’t need to feel bad. Heck, I don’t do them all either. Its here if you need it. If you feel blank or just need a kickoff or good energy. Try it out. It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece, and don’t overthink it. JUST DRAW IT.
Until next time, stay encouraged...
Connect with me elsewhere 👁 @djcoffman on Instagram / TikTok / Twitter
🛠 My Comic Page Templates for Procreate
✏️ My Custom Digital Brushes & Comic Page
▶️ DJ on Youtube (Tutorials & more)
As always, a great insight into the continuing turmoil of being a creative being. Thank you and keep this going!