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What a year of art taught me

There has been a positive side to 2020 and that has been a focus on self. The world had to stay home and many people searched for a hobby in the absence of work. While some people rekindled a love in an old interest, others took up a new one to learn and improve on. For me that was drawing. I started in January with Bardot’s Make Art Everyday Challenge. There was a new prompt every day and it was up to the artist to create a piece. It was a struggle in the beginning. I had doodled in my youth but I had never done anything like this. So let me share with you what a year of art taught me.

Practice makes perfect
It sounds like a year of art would yield amazing results right? Well I say it depends on the artist. You can’t pick up a pencil and expect to be perfect. It takes time, practice and maybe at least a handful of years. A the beginning of my journey I found an amazing video that helped me put things into perspective. Brookes Eggleston at The Character Design Forge shared some strong advice that helped me pushed through to the end. His advice is, if you’re still in your first 1,000 hours of drawing, you should be drawing more. I can say that some pieces I spent 10 minutes on while others took a few hours. And I discovered that I took more time to draw as the year went on. And I saw improvement!

Don’t force it
I had a few weeks throughout the year where I wouldn’t touch my Ipad because I needed a break and I took it. Of course I had a lot to catch up on when I got back, but I wanted to continue and I wanted to finish. If 2020 had a theme for me, it was commitment. For the first time in my life I’ve been self motivated. I stuck with drawing and even created that Youtube gaming channel I had wanted to make for years. So I pushed aside all self doubt in myself and forced myself to work. If you never start, how can you finish? But know yourself and the process because forcing yourself to do something you enjoy, can end badly.

In my youth I used to give up because I didn’t feel happy with my work. Now I understand that the best talents can be learned if you put your mind to it.

Choose your weapon
My supplies at the beginning of the year were an Adonit Pixel Pro and a 2013 Ipad Mini 2. My supplies at the end of the year are an Apple Pencil 2nd Generation and an Ipad Pro 2020 11 inch. I can’t say that using professional supplies will give you professional results, but it’s nice to use the tools because using them fuels familiarity. And if an artist is familiar with their tools, they know how to get the most out of them.

In January, when I looked up tutorials for Procreate, I often hit a wall because I was on an older Ipad. My IOS wasn’t up to date and so my Procreate was an update behind. Now this is a first world problem for sure. I tried to work with paper and pencil but I had such low confidence in my skills that I wanted to work in digital. It was easy to erase my mistakes and even easier to draw with the symmetry tool. Find what works best for you and practice the shit out of it!

You might as well
The year went on around us even when we were stuck inside. So you know what? You might as well do it. A year of art was over in a flash. I was going to get up and live my life anyway. So why not add some art to it? I don’t want to regret it down the line. And if it takes 10 years to become a good artist, why not start today? I’m going to be 43 eventually anyway, I might as well learn to draw until then! But this doesn’t stop at just learning how to draw.

Think about something you’ve always wanted to do. What is stopping you from doing it today? If there’s anything I want to do in 2021, it’s to continue to throw away those feelings of self doubt. I can be capable of many amazing things, I just need to take that first step. And you can too.

Make 2021 a year of doing, instead of wishing. I believe in you! Happy end of 2020, and I’ll see all in the new year!

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