Some time recently I came across some post some friend shared on Facebook about why you’re super depressed based on your zodiac sign or something. And apparently Pisces just always suck when they aren’t constantly trying to communicate their feelings through all the artsy stuff they create.
When I finally wiped away my salty tears after singing a ballad into the ocean waves, I actually thought about it. I realized I have been wandering a pretty barren landscape of business and chores through 2017 trying to work on building some concrete things in my life…apparently to the neglect of anything abstract. Anything kinda spiritual.
Anything having to with art.
Ugh I hate it when dumb shit on the internet actually leads to a spiritual revelation.
I read this blog post today from my professional sphere called “Content Marketing Is a Job, Not an Art Form” that helped me see some ways I’m trying to use the wrong tools for the wrong things. I can easily get pretty darling about my work and spend a lot of time waiting for the “right” moments to create, for inspiration to lead me. But my work really isn’t about art–it’s about formula–and trying to make my work also feel like art was leaving me dried out and feeling bad at both.
I miss doing stuff that isn’t tied to a bottom line somewhere. I haven’t had a mode of expression that’s worked for me in a long time.
I used to draw constantly when I was growing up. One of my very first confusing crushes was on a boy in my third grade class who could draw Tweety Bird perfectly. I couldn’t decide if I liked him or…if I just wanted to eat him like Kirby and absorb all of his magical powers…
What was awesome though is that didn’t stop me back then I wasn’t as good as Michael but it turns out I still really enjoyed drawing stuff so for the next like 9 years of my life, that’s pretty much all that I did.
But then, of course, as I was on the threshold of my burgeoning adulthood, I tried to do something different with it and I wasn’t awesome at it right away and so I burned it all to the ground and walked away.
The State of The Union
Drawing was my deepest darling, something that started off as accessible and fun when I was a kid but as I grew up I let it become serious and terrifying. I held it so close that the thought of opening up enough to show it again without it being perfect terrified me so much that I just shut it down all together. It’s still shoved in a dark corner of my mind somewhere but I hate this arrangement.
I wanted a way to start charting a course to get back to it and be strong enough to deal with bringing it back out of me, again. My husband has been wanting this for years and in 2015 even got me a Wacom tablet to try to coax together my loves of drawing and computers.
It took me over a year to even get it out of the box.
…Then another several months to set it up.
…Then another several months to get a battery pack to make it wireless and use it for a second time…
It seems that getting to the art still has some formulas that lead up to it, so today I sat down again with a simple mission: to figure out how to get back.
The Formula of Art
Getting started is always the hardest part of trying something and I often struggle with trying to over-dramatize it, wait for THE PERFECT MOMENT where inspiration strikes like lightning and everything falls into place.
Problem is, that’s like, not even a real thing that happens. Not that produces anything enduring, anyway. Inspiration may give you like 10% of the energy you need to really DO something. The other 90% is just going to be some work. Inspiration, perspiration, Thomas Edison, blah blah blah.
Ugh I hate it when jerks actually say some useful stuff.
Here’s another quote I love that I find really makes things actionable. I come back to it over and over and over again because it gives an excellent, repeatable template for getting started on anything, whether mundane or profound:
The only thing missing is just asking the first question “What do I want?”
1) So…Okay. What do I want?
I want to be happy drawing again. And at some point to break through the wall that stopped me after high school.
2) Cool, that’s a great destination. Where am I, now?
I’m scared because I know I’m pretty sensitive about it which is why I stopped in the first place so going STRAIGHT there to face my Goliath after about 12 years away would probably fry my brain and drive me further away from that goal. So I want to start smaller and build some confidence muscles.
3) Great, then what do I have?
☑︎ Wacom tablet
☑︎ Burning need to buy back-to-school supplies…
4) Excellent. So what can I do?
I wanted something a little bit concrete where I can drill into some specific, simple skills and build some muscles, figuratively and, literally, in my hand. Since I pretty much never use pens or pencils anymore my hand doesn’t even easily move that way anymore. This led me to…
It’s great, it’s something that will allow me to use my Wacom tablet OR a simple notebook and encourage repetition to hone some skills–and it’s also trendy enough right now that there are some fun resources available online to help me learn. I chose to focus myself and get started by creating a simple image to put here on this post that was 1) passable enough to share (which took me about half an hour to draft some dozens of times…) but also 2) still obviously displayed my beginner-ness and then continue my work by finally paying the measly $20 for Caroline Kelso Zook’s Better Lettering Course which I’ve had my eye on for a long time.
Something only begins when you try.
So. Here it is. A good [way, way post] college try.