April 19, 2013
One year ago, I posted about this little book I picked up on my birthday during a trip to San Francisco. This week, we’re both one year older, which means I’ve made it to the end of the book. 365 sketches in 365 days (sort of…but I’ll get to that).
So, how did it go? Most of all, quickly. Flipping through the pages, I can’t believe it’s already been a year. When I was standing at the cash register of that store in San Francisco holding the book, the idea of doing one sketch every single day for a year seemed very daunting. Looking back, it’s embarrassing to think I felt that way. Filling this book, silly as it may seem, is one of the best things I’ve done for myself as an artist in a long time.
In part, that’s because it reminded me of how I used to draw when I was a kid; how I saw a masterpiece in every blank piece of paper, how I’d attack the page with anything I could get my hands on, and how I did it without stressing about the outcome. Knowing there was another empty space to fill each day forced me to be less precious about it all, and reminded me to simply enjoy creating something, instead of worrying about creating something perfect.
But my biggest takeaway is something I already knew, yet never actually put into practice, and it goes a little something like this: there ain’t nothin’ to it but to do it. I churned out 30 new drawings a month, for 12 months. I don’t know about anyone else, but that’s pretty great for me. There are periods of my life where I didn’t get out 30 drawings in one year (sadly). By just sitting down each day and doing, I have almost four hundred more drawings under my belt now than I did at this time last year. Just move the pencil, and stuff gets created. It can’t get more simple than that.
Here are a few parameters I gave myself at the onset of this project:
- No work-related stuff. I create artwork every day, but most of it is for work. This had to be just for me.
- Finish one sketch every day. When I walked away from it, it would be done - no noodling it afterwards.
- No make-ups. Each sketch had to be done on its own day, or the spot would remain blank.
- No stress. Whatever happened on the page, good or bad, would be ok.
- No digital sketches. I wanted to get back to working with some real stuff like I did when I was younger.
- Have fun.
After the first few months, I eventually broke, adjusted, or discarded virtually every one of these rules. I stressed over bad sketches, I walked away from half-finished drawings and came back to them later, I pasted up a few digital drawings, and I used a handful of pages for a work-related project. Ultimately, I decided it didn’t matter – I was drawing every day, so the purpose was fulfilled regardless.
And, yes, I did one make-up drawing. When all was said and done, I missed two days: my wedding anniversary, and Christmas Eve. My anniversary came only a week into the book, so I cut myself some slack and drew two drawings the next day. For the December 24th slot, well, I spent the evening assembling a kitchen set for my little girl to play with on Christmas morning, and the day got away from me. Totally worth it.
I’ve rambled a lot here, so let’s get to the final sketch dump from this book. Thanks for following!