The Everyday Artistry Drawing Project
What is it?
I’m committing to spending a year drawing as much as possible, trying new techniques, learning to improve my skills, and most importantly, learning to calm the critical voices in my head that make drawing so challenging. I want to find a way back to childhood, back to when drawing was FUN. And I want you to join me.
Why spend a year drawing?
People who love drawing really love it. It’s an activity that relaxes and strengthens them and they couldn’t quit if they tried. Artist Danny Gregory talks about how drawing basically saved his life. It helped him to slow down and recognize the detail and beauty of his life. It brought him out of depression and showed him how to really live.
On the other hand, people who hate drawing really hate it. It can inspire so much anxiety, resistance, fear, and self-loathing that it’s no wonder that most people don’t even bother trying it. “I can’t draw,” is what many people will tell you when you bring it up.
We all drew at one point. As children we all felt the joy of making our mark. But once it became clear that childish lines were no longer acceptable, we stopped. Some of us keep trying, and keep coming up against fearsome mental and emotional obstacles. I have a love-hate relationship with drawing: I love the way it feels when it’s going well and I lose track of time. I hate the frustration and negative self-talk that attacks me when it’s not.
Drawing is currently my biggest creative obstacle. It’s the one that brings up the most negative feelings and thoughts. But I don’t think it has to be that way. I would like to enjoy drawing, to draw regularly, and to incorporate it into my regular creative practice. I know that in order to properly conquer this enemy, I need to spend a lot of time on it. I’ve done one-month challenges before and I felt like I only barely scraped the surface. I decided to devote an entire year to making friends with my inner critic and learning to love drawing. And you can too. Use the signup form below to join.
For more of the story on why I’m doing this, see this blog post.
What will it look like?
This is going to be an experiment. I have some ideas about how I will organize it and put it out, but these might change at any time. For the moment, this is how the project will be structured:
– It starts September 1st, 2015 and runs until August 31st, 2016.
– Every month there will be a theme. Some of the themes are: Animals, People, Food, Buildings… etc.
– Every week there will be assignments. Sometimes just one, sometimes a few. Some will be to practice drawing from real life, some to just play. I will try to incorporate as many different techniques and subjects and materials as possible. There is no requirement to do ‘a drawing’ every day. But some kind of drawing should happen most days.
– There will be some larger scale ‘project’ ideas to work on. Maybe one every month, maybe one every 2 or 3 months.
– There is a private Facebook group available to everyone who signs up so that we can all support and inspire each other.
– The only way to join is to sign up via email. Once you’ve signed up, you’ll receive the theme and goal for every month, the assignments every week, and any inspiration and information that I’m collecting as I go.
– It will be completely free. All you need to do is sign up.
– You can sign up at any time throughout the year. You won’t receive emails that were sent out before you joined, but the assignments will be available in the Facebook group throughout the project.
– You will have the option of doing as much or as little as you want. Only do the themes and assignments that interest you, or do them all. It’s entirely up to you. I know that a year is a loooooong time to work on something. I’m committing to a year because I think I need that long to break through the walls I’ve built up over the years. But you don’t have to do that much. Dip your toes in and out as you please.
– There will be a contest each month for people who sign up and participate by sharing their work.
What’s it like?
This is what one participant had to say about the project:
A few years ago I thought that I might try drawing again (after leaving it behind in childhood). By chance, a friend that knew me well gave me a sketchbook for my birthday for drawing. For two years that sketchbook sat there, seemingly watching me in silence, knowing that I knew that it knew that in any moment I might work up the nerve to use it.
Every now and then I opened it up and tried to faithfully copy an image from my head. And, obviously, it never turned out “good”. The drawings never measured up to my ideas. Clearly it was because I “didn’t know how” to draw.
(When Stephanie asked people to sign up for her drawing project) I said yes, I want to join up. And I said yes to myself as well.
I picked up my old sketchbook and wrote, “Drawing Project” on it.
And I started drawing.
Before long, the weekly assignments became a mere excuse. Drawings of all kinds came out in spurts, I don’t know where from. One line on a blank page and then the rest.
As the days went on I lost my fear, I lost the criteria of knowing or not knowing, I lost the prejudice that my drawings were ugly, or stupid, or simple or corny. I drew, a lot, for a long time, without even noticing the time pass.
Four months after the start of the Drawing Project, I’m on my fourth book and the pictures I see fill me with happiness. Because something woke in me that had been sleeping, because my images came to life, because I learned about new illustrators, professional and amateur, because I finished a drawing and was left with a beautiful feeling of joy.
Luz Lassizuk (translated from Spanish)