Wednesday, January 27, 2016

'Draw-hacks' (?) A message from personal experience...

I was thinking during the wee hours of this morning, finalising the last details on a current very sweet commission...what are some of the most important life hacks I could dispense from my own personal experience about Illustration? What in my experience can I give to you about that niggling little 'drawing habit'?

Well for one, it isn't every day I am up so late but when the fever to keep drawing or painting takes hold, you really don't stop. You can't and it's often detrimental to the entire process if you do. The drive to keep working comes from a need to see things through and to work to the very best standard you can muster, to push yourself until you're confident that the piece of work you just created isn't going to keep you up all night wondering if you'd chosen the right palette or if you needn't have added that extra hair.

The urge to draw grips me sometimes at the most inconvenient times - when I'm out at the shops, when I'm just drifting off to sleep or when I'm working on something entirely different that needs to be done like battling away at my Diploma during assessment time...I can really only describe this feeling as when you suddenly need to poop. It's a surge of 'oh my god' followed by momentary panic that if you don't get this shit down now...(yes, pun intended) you may lose it. You may literally lose it...and when you have access to your drawing pad? your allegorical toilet? You. Wreck. That. Shit.

Here's the my experience, after said poop: as soon as - the very moment you start to think 'I'm exhausted', 'I'm getting tired, bit hungry, could eat' or 'hey look my neighbour's in his underpants again.' you stop. Stop drawing, peel yourself away from the paints and come back another time. The piece that ends with you looking at it questioning your life choices, mauling a pack of Mint Slices because you're definitely a piece of shit who's made a huge mistake (what are you even doing with your life?) - that piece, is going in the bin, that's the piece you kept flogging away at even though your eyeballs were falling out of your head from boredom or exhaustion or both, but you felt the pressure to keep with it.

Alternatively, unfortunately if it literally cannot go in the bin because a client is pressing on you for it - it's going to haunt you like an adorable little Casper in your nightmares. It could have been much closer to perfect had you gone outside for a walk or watched another Bobs Burgers for a much needed intermission. The moments I've 'just pushed through!' to finish a painting or to finalise a sketch - I've always restarted - often in fits of rage - the very next day or, better yet, an hour later when my mood will only let it spiral down further into the pits of hot-press hell.

If I had to narrow it down, to really break it down for you from my experience it would be to take it easy, give yourself a breather when you start to feel the need to wander off, to not be too hard on yourself if you do, and when the urge to draw grips you like a giant poo, let it rip. Release it into the wild and watch it soar. Draw where you can - on a beer coaster, on a napkin or at your desk. Don't stop the music but know when to turn it down.


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