My resolution for 2015 was to become a better artsist. My goal was to post a new drawing on my Instagram account every single day for a year with the hashtag #draw365. *Spoiler alert: I failed miserably.* For the first few weeks I would post a pic each night with a caption like “quick sketch in my #Moleskine.” This of course was a complete lie. Each of those “quick sketches” took several hours to complete (usually two or three.)
I’m ashamed to say that my ego is so fragile that I had to lie about the amount of effort I was putting into my work to impress strangers on the internet. But at the time, I figured if someone liked what they saw, they’d think “wow, that’s a quick sketch? This guy is great!” On the other hand, if they didn’t like what they saw, maybe they’d think “oh well, it was just a quick sketch anyhow.” Either way it was win-win for me. EXCEPT. IT. WASN’T.
The biggest problem with my little white lie of the “quick sketch” was that it put so much pressure on me to do more “quick sketches” of the same quality. This quickly became difficult for me, since I work full time and have an active home life with my wife and son. I started finding it more and more difficult to find the time for my “quick sketches.” But nonetheless I prevailed and made it through January 2015 with 31 drawings posted to instagram with the tag #draw365.
In February I got a Galaxy Note 4. It is a pretty amazing phone and I really do love drawing on it. The only problem was that it gave me yet another reason to create more little white lies. I would spend hours messing around with a drawing and then post a pic with a caption like “doodling on my #Note4.” Again, making it sound like I was able to effortlessly crap out artwork was somehow easier on my ego than saying “this straight up took four hours.”
It didn’t take long for drawing on my phone to get old though. Somewhere in mid March I realized that I wasn’t growing as an artist at all. Because I had a limited window of draw time each day (I work full time and have a family) and I wanted it to look like I was effortlessly doing cool stuff, I found myself doing the same sort of thing over and over again. Busts and headshots drawn on my phone. Yawn.
By April or May I started drawing more in my Moleskine. I was a drawing machine. I was doing tons of anatomy practice and scribbling ideas as much as I could. The problem was that my practice stuff wasn’t “cool enough” to post online so I started missing days on my #draw365 challenge and felt like a failure. Then in June I got a new Moleskine notebook and drew some of the best art I had ever drawn. (Please note: now in December I think it sucks.) I was doing really detailed cool characters that showcased my new found skills in drawing anatomy. These drawings were all painstaking done over the course of two or three nights and again, I’d still say it was a “quick sketch” when I posted it online.
On June 15th I was working on a sketch and got stuck. The pose just wasn’t right and I kept messing up the hands. Once I got the hands right, I realized the arms were wrong. Then the abs. Then the face. Then everything. I must have reworked that drawing for a week straight. I drove myself crazy trying to make that drawing look perfect. But it never did. It defeated me. It was proof right there in my Moleskine that I sucked as an artist. I couldn’t even draw a shirtless dude just standing around, holding a weapon: how would I ever draw a comic book?
At that point I hit rock bottom. I felt like a loser pretty bad and I let fear cripple me for a long time. Then Inktober came along and I got back on the horse. It felt great to participate in Inktober this year. If you haven’t ever done it, you really should. But again, because my drawing time is limited, I found myself doing the same old headshots and busts that I always do, which again made me doubt my skills. Once Inktober ended I gave up again.
Now it’s December 7th and I’m getting back to it. Today I celebrated a rather large personal victory by finishing the very same drawing that shook my confidence so badly back in June. It’s not my best work. The character is boring, the anatomy is a little wonky and the pose is blah, but it’s done and behind me now. I’m looking forward to 2016. My resolution will be create more art and to own it. I don’t want to be fake about what I do anymore.
All that said, I look forward to all that the next year holds and here’s a drawing that was six months in the making, flaws and all.