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Jan 25, 2020
Hey there True Art Believers!!!
At the beginning of each new year, there is always (mostly) a new year's resolution. For some, it is to lose weight, quit smoking, or to spend more time with family. My new years' resolution is to become very acquainted and well versed in the digital art medium. I have tried doing this before to some varying degree of success. One new year's resolution was to draw one digital piece of art for a day. I think I got up to 5 months, maybe only 4. But I missed a day, then I missed another. I tried to make them back up, and the missed days kept compounding. Not before long I was a month behind, by that time I just decided to not even bother. I think back then I was not as rigid with my time blocks and I did not use a calendar or scheduled actions for the day.
It has taken a long time for me to plan things and to plan them well. Part of the problem is that I am habitually unorganized, it goes against how I operate. For me to achieve a high level of quality and quantity of artwork, I needed to be highly structured. There were other various things that really made it hard to keep an organized schedule. I had certain life events that hampered my ability to learn and educate myself in organization. There was a solo show that I was working on that was demanding all my attention, working for three different employers was another challenge, and recently becoming a Dad had really changed my how I could schedule my days. I still struggle with managing it every day.
Now that I am back on track, I am finally resolute (hopefully) in achieving my new year's resolution and doing one digital drawing a day. If I miss a day or two, I'm not going to sweat it. Before I was trying to keep up with it all, but I was too stubborn to realize that life happens, and you can't focus too intently on the micro. You need to look at the big picture. When I missed one day of practice, I would get so upset with myself and often I would just bail on doing my drawing for the next day. I felt like it had to be all or nothing. I knew deep down that I couldn't always make do with my drawing obligations, but I just didn't want to accept it.
This time the goal is to draw one digital illustration/sketch a day. I have already missed a few days; I have surmised that the weekend will be the hardest to accommodate my drawing sessions because of scheduling complications with my weekend job. If I can hit my drawing quota 80% of the time, then I am on the right track. It has been tough for me. I had to do a complete overhaul of my schedule, including having a more rigid bedtime. Now I have a hard bedtime of 9:30 PM, and an early wake-up time of 4-4:30 AM. This allows me to get some weightlifting in, plan the day, journal and draw in two different mediums, digital and traditional. I am not going to lie though, it can flipping suck.
Getting up at 4 AM is no picnic and there are days when I'm staring into the bathroom mirror just saying to myself, "Go on, just go back to bed", but another part of me is saying, "Dude you are already up, you have already done half the battle, don't go back to bed. I am trying to think of these choices as micro-wins for the day. Each time I refuse to do something that I know to be the easier route I am making my mental toughness stronger.
One of the first things I do in the morning is do something that I absolutely hate. I take a cold shower. It is the absolute worst!!! Every morning I wake up at 4 AM stare at the mirror (previous paragraph) then I hop into the shower and I tackle another psychological battle. The infamous COLD SHOWER!!! I stare at the bathtub knob, I count backwards from ten, then I do it again, I take a deep breath and turn the water on and quickly an explosion of cold water hits my body and I jump with a fury of movements that looks like weird bunny hopping. Followed by a most muscular chest pose as if I am taunting the water for more. I do not enjoy doing this.
It sets up the stage for the rest of the day. By purposely making a choice to do something that really makes me uncomfortable and causes me stress, I build character and mental toughness. It makes things that I don't want to do throughout the day less of a problem. Willingly taking a cold shower sucks vastly more than forcing yourself to draw even when you don't feel like it. I don't feel like taking a flipping cold shower either, but I recognize the mental benefits of it.
Now that I went way off course with regards to the topic of the blog post, I need to dial it back in. I have begun a new habit drawing digitally using a Wacom tablet and the drawing program Autodesk Sketchbook Pro with the goal of improving my skill in digital illustration. At first, I started by doing a random character of my own design, it was a Cyclops troll. But to save time in the morning with coming up with ideas I decided to have a prompt. The best prompt I could come up with is to draw Pokémon. My goal is to draw a different Pokémon each week, starting with the original 150. Currently, I am drawing "Ivysaur" and next week will be "Venusaur". Even in this short amount of time, I have seen a massive improvement, both in my actual drawing ability and my understanding of the digital medium. When I get more time, I would love to spend a moment watching videos on YouTube to learn more tricks of the trade. But right now, I am just content with being able to manage the volume of drawing that I am doing. I hope you enjoyed this blog post and enjoyed seeing some of the work I made this week. I wish everyone a wonderful day.
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