Blame It On My Unstraight Line

I realized a few weeks ago that one of the most satisfying things that I can do is to create. I drew up a design and wrote out a new 15-foot menu board for my boyfriend’s sandwich shop and even though I wanted to cry when I finished at 2 in the morning, the next time I walked into The Shop I felt satisfied. I felt proud and accomplished and realized I need to work on bringing that feeling into my life more.

I started drawing a couple days after that. Let me tell you, it ain’t easy. It’s easy to look at a picture and see the lines and know you have the ability to do that, it gets hard when you put your pencil to paper and realize you can’t even draw a straight line never mind try and draw someone’s face. Here are a few things I’ve learned over the last couple weeks:

  1. You need to practice everyday.

When I look back at my sketchbook to things I did three days ago I sometimes think that some things are best left unfinished, and then I realized that I need to stop doing that out of feat it won’t come out good enough. Over the last couple of weeks I don’t feel like I’ve gotten any better, but I know that not doing anything won’t make me any better, so I’m hoping in a couple months from now I can look back through my sketchbook and think wow I sucked instead of wow I still suck.

  1. Art supplies are expensive.

Before doing the menu I wanted to practice some typography so that I at least had an idea of what I could manage for a whole menu board and not plan an elaborate board that I had no business doing in the first place. I bought a packet of Micron pens with no idea what the numbers meant. It worked out until I tried branching out this week.

A palette of watercolors are in the $20 range at Michael’s if you don’t want the kind of stuff that you give 5 year olds that is definitely not pigmented enough. When starting a hobby, it’s really hard to justify spending that kind of money on something you may be awful at, or even not like at all. I haven’t built up the justification yet, maybe next week.

  1. Drawing is god damn frustrating.

If you’re not naturally gifted, drawing is a pain in the ass. I have absolutely no training. I have no idea what the rules of drawing are, but I kind of like it that way. I don’t want someone to tell me I can’t draw toes before I put a foot to it. I also don’t want people to tell me that I can’t put this font over a this image because it’s just not how it’s done. I don’t know if anyone would even say that to me, but I’m assuming and I kind of like feeling like a rebel with a cause. The cause is to be able to draw a picture that I either want to hang on my wall, or would like other people to hang on theirs.

I’ll update my other thoughts are I come across them. Here goes nothing.


One Reply to “Blame It On My Unstraight Line”

  1. Art supplies used to be expensive for my kid self. Then, a few years later, they were looking to expensive for my teenage and, later, adult self. It makes me wonder how things were in the days of Van Gogh and Da Vinci. Did they struggle to pay; or were supplies as cheap and abundant as water?

    I guess you could say drawing is like riding a bike or typing. You can’t memorize the keyboard without regular/frequent practice. For me, typing was like what some say of infants learning to swim. I was thrown into a chat room pool and forced to keep up or get out. Biking becomes like breathing once you practice working those pedals and your balance. Yet, even an inexperienced artist can draw something that surprises them. Call it beginners luck or whatever. Not every great piece of artwork comes from practice. Some, I like to think, are purely divine intervention. A hand from above helping to put a smile on someone’s face.

    I started at the age of 5, drawing mostly dinosaurs and spaceships. I was often told how good I was without much explanation. I was too young to separate polite “Yea, yea, I see it; now go play with yourself” praise from the genuine variety. I grew up believing I was a great artist and destined to be famous.

    It wasn’t until my late teens when people started tearing me down and casting me aside. I realized there were plenty of others more talented than myself; I still do. I see them everywhere. And, I see plenty still struggling, somewhat like myself. I struggle to convey what’s in my mind’s eye to paper. And, what’s often more frustrating, people still will praise my abilities and encourage me to make more when I neither feel I have the capacity nor know what good purpose the work will serve.

    That’s my new “thing.” Creating with purpose. I’m not likely to jump on this online crappy printed product wagon. I don’t know if I’ll start an etsy or zazzle shop just to pitch my creations to some cheap swag company that probably has slave labor pumping out these trinkets. The world is crumbling from impulsive behavior, including shopping. I don’t want to contribute to the landfills. So, I am conserving my time, talent and supplies and seeking work with purpose. Instead of being one of the “draw something great and post it every day” people, I like to think of myself as the archer holding onto his arrow just a little longer to make sure he hits the mark. When my creation springs from these fingers, it will be worth the awe.

    And, HERE, HERE! I, too, am not the best at sticking to preset rules of drawing or anything else, for that matter. I mean, there should be some rules to guide your work or to fit it into a certain “publicly acceptable framework.” If there are no rules to writing a great novel, where does spelling and logical sentence structure go? What happens if words bleed off the page? What if meaning gets lost when the book gets translated into a different language? Rules maintain some ease of translation/understanding. Rules give you targets to hit with arrows. But, if you are like me, drawing from your heart first and a teacher’s instruction second, you keep at it. You draw with your heart and let talent find you. It’s in there. I am not sure how much is in there. But, you and I hone it til it shines and flies straight.


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