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084: The Art of Starting Over
Wherein we talk about starting over again... and again...
It’s week 84 of the Draw or Die Newsletter. Today’s topic is about the art of starting over again… and again.
But first, some housekeeping…
It’s the final few days of PROMPTOBER! Join our special Livestream today for giveaways, and a very special guest… Today we’re giving away Blackwings and some other surprises!
There’s still time to get involved! Every drawing this month, even just ONE drawing, can count toward a prize from our awesome sponsors.
Today, I’m diving straight into something that hits home for a lot of us: the raw, unfiltered truth about starting again, and the patience, and bravery it demands from us.
You’ve probably been around the block a few times, had your highs, faced the lows, and you know better than anyone that this creative journey isn't a straight line. Maybe you kicked off your art journey with a clear goal in mind, but life... well, life happened.
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, things just don't work out the way we planned. Projects fall apart, motivation fizzles out, partnerships collapse, and what once was a clear path now feels like a maze.
It’s frustrating, and it’s damn hard. Depressing at times.
But here’s the deal. Just because things didn’t pan out then, doesn’t mean they won’t ever.
A brutal landscape
The landscape out there for artists is brutal, and it's okay to acknowledge that. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again and again, but we live in a world that’s not really valuing the craft of making art as a real job. People, companies, think it’s “cute and easy”. (I know, not everyone, but it’s the majority out there in my experience.)
It’s okay if you feel burnt out and lost. What’s important is what you do next.
Maybe the time wasn’t right. Maybe there were skills you needed to hone or life experiences you needed to collect. The setbacks, the diversions—they weren’t for nothing.
They’ve been building you up, getting you ready for whatever’s next.
Now, I’m not here to sell you a fairy tale.
Starting again isn’t easy, and it sure as hell requires patience. A lot of it. But if there’s one thing I know about artists, it’s that we’re resilient. We’re fighters. And we’ve got this uncanny ability to rise from our own ashes.
The hardest choice I ever made was starting over again.
About a decade ago this week, my marriage of 16 years abruptly fell apart.
I decided to leave a really emotionally abusive situation. It was hard. It was painful. But it was the best and hardest choice I ever made in my life.
For nearly 20 years working as an artist, even though I had some good “successes”, I never felt supported by those around me, my family or friends. I always felt stress & disrespect. I was told my work as just a “pipe dream”. I was told I just got “lucky”.
I put away so many of my dreams and desires, for people who didn’t deserve the energy. I gave up.
But the thoughts, the dreams, they never really go away. They were and are always there, just waiting for their time.
I’m 47 years old. In so many ways I feel like I’m just getting started.
It was just a really long path to get me to where I needed to be.
I hope I can say more on that soon.
So, if you’re out there feeling stuck or just downright defeated, remember this: Your journey is yours alone, and it’s never too late to pick up that pen or brush again.
Don’t rush it. Don’t force it.
Let it come when it’s ready, and in the meantime, keep your skills sharp and your mind open.
You’ve got a lifetime of experiences and a unique perspective that will only make you a better storyteller and artist. When you’re ready to start again, you’ll be bringing all of that to the table.
🔥Today’s Drawing CHALLENGE!
BAD BOB ROSS!
Speaking of starting again… did you know that Bob Ross was 41 when his simple format painting show took off?
Before that he was a master sergeant in the Air Force. He was the mean guy who had to bark orders. Deep down, he hated it. He taught himself to paint on his lunch breaks at work. And swore when he left the military, he’d never raise his voice again.
It wasn’t until he was working part-time as a bartender he discovered a show on TV called “the Magic of Oil Painting” which changed the trajectory of his life.
I highly recommend the Netflix documentary Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed. They did Bob kinda dirty at the end, but he made art until the very end of his own story.
I hope you draw today’s prompt (part of Promptober!!!) and be sure to watch us live today at noon EST.
✏️☠️♣️DRAW. EVERY. DAY.
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Stay lucky. Stay Encouraged. Stay drawing, every damn day.