Saturday, April 11, 2009
Drawing is a lot like athletic ability; it's very much "use it or lose it". If you don't practice, you may experience a decline in your abilities. Regularity in practice is also important--practicing one hour a day, every day is superior to cramming in seven hours one day out of the week.
In order to maintain a certain level of proficiency, I recently started a new ritual for myself: my "morning sketch". Every morning when I wake up, before getting out of bed to brush my teeth or anything else, I draw in a little sketchbook I keep next to my bed. I choose to do it this way because if I just pledge to do drawings in the sketchbook at any other time during the day, it would be too easy to be deterred by the inevitable distractions of life, and not get it done. I do not put any restrictions on myself as to the quantity and quality of the drawings. That way, if I fall short of my own expectations, I won't beat myself up about it, because that can eventually lead to me just giving up.
The only restriction I put on myself is that I have to draw something. So if the drawings suck, thats okay. If I only come up with one tiny little doodle, that's okay too. This doesn't mean that I don't challenge myself, I just don't turn it into a pressure situation; you can see that over time, the number of drawings increases, that I experiment with the complexity of the poses and in the later drawings I write down the beginning and end time of my sessions to try to gauge progress on improving my speed. Click on the strips below to see the first month's worth of sketches. As you scroll across to more recent pages, you can see a gradual improvement in the drawings as time goes by.
Sketchbooks are a great way to get the rust out. But you gotta be regular about it.