015: Let's Draw EVERY DAMN DAY.
Today I want to focus on maybe one of the most important things any artist, or maybe even non-artists, should be doing…
Before we get into it, I finally finished the “Draw or Die Co.” store, and these shirts are live now available up to 4XL. Get some here.
AND, I’m introducing a daily version of this newsletter for paid members called:
For those of you looking for some daily motivation and community, every Monday-Saturday at around 5am EST you will receive a new daily drawing prompt. I also want to reward artists who go on “drawing streaks” of so many days in a row. It’s only $5 a month, and I’m offering a 7 day trial to get you going. Daily emails start Monday, July 4th! The welcome e-mail has a couple more surprises too, check it out.
Now onto this week’s topic…
My big mistake.
I used to feel like I was so busy that every line I drew needed to count for something. If it wasn’t drawing on a project or job, I felt like I was wasting time.
On the other hand, I had tons of blank sketchbooks, and I had the urge to draw in them, but I also felt stuck, thanks to the previous thought. I would see other artist’s full sketchbooks, some filled with remarkable things that nobody would ever see. I’d be in awe of those, but I still had the thinking of “boy, they really wasted that time!”
I was dead wrong.
I didn’t understand the true magic of drawing every day until I had nothing left to draw. All of my paid side work had dried up. For two years I just worked my day job where I could be creative, and kinda put my personal drawing aside. But deep down, I felt some sort of struggle. I’d look at the blank sketchbooks on the shelf and only hear that negative voice… “why even bother?”
And then it all changed.
I don’t remember when this happened exactly, but one day I just kind of mindlessly started filling up one of my Field Notes with random quick sketches. I didn’t care if it was perfect. Much of it made zero sense. And some of what I was drawing seemed to just appear like magic on the paper, as if moved by an invisible hand. I felt something that day that changed me…. JOY.
I hadn’t felt that joy in drawing for a very long time. And I tried to do a little of that every day. Even if I was busy at the day job, or stuck on endless zoom calls, I was filling post-it notes with scribbles. I was doing quick study sketches of objects around me.
When there would be a big group zoom call with tons of tiny blocks of people’s faces, I would practice sketching their tiny likenesses and try to capture their expression of that moment. You won’t be surprised if many people looked bored, sad, or defeated. I rarely saw any joy. It almost felt like their jobs were sucking their souls out of their body. But I think I was smiling. But I digress…
Drawing every day saved my life.
That sounds pretty dramatic. But it’s how I feel. Not that I was suicidal or anything, but deep down inside, I totally felt dead when I wasn’t drawing. Even the simple act of scribbling or quick gestures every day really did make me feel better. I noticed, suddenly, I also felt more motivated and encouraged.
Fast forward to when I started the DEFEAT THE FUNK! free course, the first exercise was simply the SCRIBBLE CHALLENGE. Many of you here have done this, so you know the power of it. I heard the feedback about how this has helped them, the same way it had helped me.
I have talked to a few art friends who fell off again. The little scribble challenge helped them feel “unstuck” for a few days, but life dragged them back down into the funk again.
More than one of those artists told me they wish they could feel that way every day. And that’s why I’ve designed the “Draw Every Damn Day” daily e-mails. I hope you try it. Think of it like our own virtual drawing club.
Don’t make the same mistakes I made
Don’t overthink what “drawing every day” means. It doesn’t have to be a finished masterpiece, and it’s okay even if it’s just a 5 minute sketch. Try it. It will work wonders.
✏️ REMEMBER: YOU CAN’T FAIL HERE.
While I encourage you all to draw every day, typical “art challenges” can make you feel like you failed if you miss a day. Try to make it an enjoyable part of building a more sustainable creative life for yourself. Let’s do it together.
Drawing every day is not a competition. It’s a personal journey to the zone.
Key Benefits of drawing every damn day:
Drawing is good medicine. A drawing a day, keeps creative depression away.
Keeps you sharp. A pencil in motion tends to stay in motion.
Build routine. Helps you stay sharp.
Get better. You will become an even better artist than you were yesterday.
Drawing is magic. Revisit the joy and power of using your imagination.
This week’s prompt is
A MIGHTY BUFFALO.
Buffaloes are one of my favorite animals. Not just because they look bad-ass, but all of the story and myths wrapped around them. Here’s one of my favorites.
Don’t feel like you have enough time to draw every damn day? Time management is a big hassle for artists. I tackled this in my most recent Youtube video. I show you my own daily routine, and a whole new way to think about how you “spend” your time. Watch it here! (and sub to the channel!)
ALMOST FORGOT! DISCORD COMMUNITY IS NOW LIVE!
If you’ve never used Discord before, just think of it like a super fancy chat with old school forum vibes. Here’s your invite link. (You’ll need to setup a free account)
I plan on doing some live chats and live drawing hangs intermittently. See you there?
Back to the drawing board for me!