Discover more from Draw or Die
071: We Are Drawn Together
Wherein I discuss the IRL meetups and how you can start your own
Before we set sail on week 71 of the newsletter for artists and visual storytellers, just a reminder that if you JOIN THE DAILY CLUB before the end of MONDAY the 31st you’ll be in the running to win this handmade leather sketchbook cover, with a ThirdMan Records Blackwing pencil and 6-sided dice pencil cap!
We’re up to 79 members in the daily club now, it’s a great way to support the mission! And your odds of snagging some cool stuff are high right now. Join here!
This past Tuesday I held the 2nd Monthly artist meetup in Pittsburgh. To my surprise, a little over 40 artists showed up. WOW! The first month we had about 13.
"Artists are introverts that never leave their homes…"
That’s what a couple strangers said to me when I was setting up the table. They thought out loud, “how nice of a thing to do, to drag them out of their caves”
Sure, I guess that stereotype might be true to some extent, but I still hate it none the less.
The thing is, yes, maybe we artists don't really want to go engage with the outside world as much because for the most part, we're outsiders.
But when it comes to meeting or talking to other artists?
I believe we are drawn together by some deeper connection as artists.
That's because artists look at the world a little differently than the others.
Our “inner child” is still secretly in charge. (or not so secretly)
And it's not the non-artists fault they can't see it the same way we do.
I think all humans are born creative & curious. The outside world kinda twists and tears your imagination down. Sometimes it happens even when you're a kid. It becomes generational.
Artists carry this "self-baggage" around.
The common things, the self-doubt, the imposter syndrome. We doubt our own skills. Some of us even hide our talents away as "neat hobbies" because that's what feels acceptable in whatever social or work situation in life that you've gotten yourself into.
But deep down you may feel like really giving it a go. Putting out a print series, getting in a gallery… starting a webcomic, opening a tattoo shop.
ALL OF THOSE THINGS ARE POSSIBLE FOR YOU.
There's a good energy when artists come together and communicate. Strangers instantly become friends through art. No matter our backgrounds or our individual skill levels.
The artists who were at both meetups sense it too. More than one person said "this is special" and thanked me for putting it on.
Online when people saw the photos or posts from the event I got a barrage of messages and comments…
“Please come to _Insert City here___ and do this!”
“I wish I was closer!”
“Will there be more?!”
I really wish I could. I wish I could afford to just travel around doing meetups and hanging out with artists and creative people all day. But it’s not realistic.
Here’s what IS realistic…
YOU ARE THE ONE YOU’VE BEEN WAITING FOR.
Start YOUR OWN LOCAL MEETUP!
You could do this too in your area. Why not form your own little chapter of “Draw or Die Club” in your town or city. While I own the name, I give you the permission to be an official chapter. If you want to make it official, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can send you some graphics or things to use.
It’s pretty easy and chill to setup. Here are some easy steps to make it happen:
#1 Find a chill spot to hold the event
Try to avoid straight up bars, because many don’t drink, and many out there need to avoid alcohol. Ideal spots might include:
Local Libraries (not idea for snacking)
Local Museums or Non-Profits have halls they may donate or lend.
Restaurants ( I chose Federal Galley in Pittsburgh because the outdoor courtyard could house a lot of people!)
Foodcourt at the mall. (we almost did this! hahah) Great people watching.
You may want to make reservations or talk to the manager ahead of time to let them know what you’re up to.
You may choose a not-so busy evening night to avoid crowds. Some businesses like restaurants will welcome the extra business too. We chose Tuesday evening 6-8pm
#2 Set an Agenda
Setup a simple agenda and ground rules so artists can know what to expect when they arrive. Here’s an example:
BYO: Bring your own art supplies to draw with!
An Optional Drawing Prompt of the night to get people drawing.
Do the dice prompt, make up a list of 6 prompts and have them roll a fuzzy dice or 6-sided to see what they draw.
Scribble Challenge, have one artists make a scribble and the other finish it.
Likeness Challenge - if you’re in a public spot, challenge them to draw a version of anyone they can see.
#3 Setup A Facebook Event
The majority of artists that showed up for my meetups saw it on Facebook Events. Some people even drove 45 minutes or more to attend.
See my August Drawing Club Facebook Event page to see how I lay it out. https://fb.me/e/16njJOCie
BONUS-TIP: If you have a couple bucks and want to boost your event on Facebook, you can do this easily. Target it within 50 miles of your location. And keep the targeting “broad” - don’t target just “artists”. Facebook learns to show it to more people like people who are engaging with your event.
#4 BONUSES & GIVEAWAYS?
I don’t really think bonuses and giveaways are necessary. BUT I like to offer something as a thanks for showing up.
In my case I was giving away some of my custom notebooks and Blackwing pencils to the first to arrive. The way I figure the costs in my own mind is, instead of donating to some random charity, I’m investing the money into surprising and delighting fellow artists.
Some artists said I should have a tip jar available, and I might do that in a subtle way next time. I just personally don’t like pressuring anyone into donating anyting…. but then again, it would be fun to get a couple more bucks to buy more pencils to give away.
Or you may ask the event group if they want to donate in advance to a paypal etc for a perks pool of money. Just don’t abuse that! Make sure you’re giving it all back in some way!
#5 STAY ENCOURAGED
If you try something like this and not many people show up, or only a handful, don’t be discouraged! My true first local meetup was 4 people at a bar for a drink and draw after a comicon.
In fact, there may be something even more special about starting small. Really getting to know each other better. And it feels good to watch something grow.
WHY DO I DO THIS???
I have no hidden agenda. I’m clearly not getting rich off slinging notebooks and hats sales. 😂 I do it because I must. I don’t really gave any other way of describing it. I saw and felt the need for this to happen, and I knew I was the only one who’d step up and do it.
And now… I feel energized by it.
I always loved the idea of “creating” culture. Kind of like painting on the fabric of reality. The idea that we as artists can break stereotypes, bend culture, and tell a NEW story.
For me, that’s a story where:
Artists are highly respected again in society.
Artists are paid first, not last.
Artists are thought leaders who are tapped to help solve big problems.
Artists live a more sustainable, creative life.
Artists are not afraid to show the world what they can do.
Who’s up for that challenge?
🔥This Week’s Drawing CHALLENGE!
This week’s drawing prompt is…
Something from nothing.
Be sure to tag #drawordieclub on the platform of your choice so we can all find each other (we’re mostly on instagram) Maybe we’ll feature your art in future livestreams and content!
Join the DAILY DRAWING CLUB!!!
Help support the club with five bucks a month and get some nice perks including a quarterly sticker, daily prompts and more. CHECK IT OUT HERE!
Thanks for reading. Go draw something awesome today!