Nike was right… Just do it.

8 10 2009

I met someone the other day who is an aspiring illustrator. He was excited to learn that I am a practicing illustrator in the field. Now, I don’t know this man’s background and I don’t claim to know him very well, but he had a plan for himself in the coming months. He wants to get all the perfect equipment to do what he needs. He has been saving his money and over the next 6 months or so, he will purchase the perfect drawing table, and the perfect light table and the perfect lamps, etc. I think it’s great that he has goals and wants to do this full time, but I also think he’s going about this all wrong. If he wants to be an illustrator, all he has to do is draw. A sketchbook and a pencil. Create characters and bring them to life. For some it’s easier said than done.

I have found that if I put off creating/drawing/painting to clean up/check my email/fix the chair/etc… I always find something more to procrastinate with. I have a drawing on my table right now. I’ve been working on it on-and-off for about two months. It’s coming along nicely, but sometimes it just sits there while I (unconsciously) try to find something else to do (like write a blog). It’s a nasty habit. On the other hand, I don’t procrastinate with projects that I’m hired for. There is a deadline and someone is relying on me to come through for them. There is more pressure on me to get it right and get it out on time. (Which I always do!) But when it’s my own project, with no one waiting for it, it gets pushed to the wayside. I think it’s okay when there is work to be done, but when it’s fluff (and you know when it’s fluff) then just do it.

Years ago I got a book signed by Maurice Sendak. I asked him as he was signing the book if he had any advice for an aspiring illustrator. He said, very simply, “Draw. Draw everyday. Don’t stop drawing.” He never said anything about getting the perfect equipment, the right sketchbook, the right ink, but to just draw. So this is the advice that I passed on to the aspiring artist. I didn’t discourage him from buying what he thinks he needs. I just told him that in the meantime – he should just draw, even if it’s for 15 minutes a day. He wants to create his own characters and animate them, I suggested starting a comic strip to explore that. I don’t know if he will take my advice, even I don’t take my advice sometimes… But as long as you are drawing, you are an artist. The equipment is secondary to the talent. The only way to ensure that you will grow as an artist is to keep drawing. Nike was right – Just do it.

Keep drawing.

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One response

10 10 2009
friendan

You could also say just do what you love, and just draw, like how I do what I love and I just cook. I am always cooking. And I love that you are always drawing

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