One of the things I did when making my resolutions for 2019 was lower the bar. In some cases I didn’t just lower the bar, I gently set it down on the ground. I wanted as little friction as possible to make progress, hoping the ease in doing so would provide sufficient psychological boost to push me beyond my terribly modest goals and reach for the sky, or at least something that requires me to stand on my toes.
One might make the argument that since I obviously know I’m trying to “trick myself” into improvement, it will never work. And that’s possible. But I like to think I’m at least willing to meet my brain halfway on this.
And so I am adding another resolution for the remaining 11 months of 2019: A drawing per month. Not one per week or day, just one every month–a modest goal that can be built on.
I have 20 days to keep pace going forward. Will I draw a blank (lol)? Find out on February 28! Or hopefully sooner. You never know.
Yesterday was the first day of my “write something or draw something or photograph something every day” thing.
I did none of these things.
Actually, that’s not accurate. I did get out the iPad and pencil and did some sketches in Linea, none of which I liked enough to post. But then I didn’t promise quality and you have to start somewhere, so here are all of the sketches in a gallery, with commentary. Enjoy?
What will I do? Parade through downtown in the nude? Don a wingsuit and glide down to English Bay from Grouse Mountain? Attempt to lift five times my own body weight? Pull a fire truck with my teeth?
In a word, no. I will do none of these things, for the following reasons:
likely arrest and fine
probably not physically possible, likely to result in devastating injury or death or both before possibility can be verified
would result in arms popping out of sockets or other less entertaining permanent injury
teeth would be really sore, fire truck would remain unmoved
But what I am going to try to do is at least one of the following on a daily basis:
take a photo of something
The “write something” I’ve been pretty good with for the last few years on this blog, though the daily part slips occasionally and the quality varies wildly. I am in no danger of writing a Pulitzer-nominated essay is what I’m saying. But This one I’ve mostly got down. (We won’t mention my fiction writing. That is a separate and semi-tragic discussion.)
Since my kidney infection–which is admittedly a curious trigger–I’ve been more interested in taking photos of flowers and things and often catch myself observing angles and shots, even when I’m not actually taking pictures. I find it relaxing, engaging and possibly a tiny bit therapeutic, though I’m a ways from writing the book How Taking Photos of Simple Things Changed My Life and Made Me A Better Person. Since I don’t always have a ready subject, I can’t rely on a photo a day, but this will encourage me to look for more opportunities. I now also want a phone with some kind of optical zoom. That costs less than a thousand dollars. Make my dream come true, Apple (ho ho, as if).
For the drawing, I’ve wanted to do this for awhile but never seem to find the inclination to just sit down and draw. Part of it is fear of mediocrity–I was never especially great at drawing, though not awful, either. But to improve would take the kind of dedicated practice I’m unlikely to engage in, so I may have to content myself with artfully arranged stick men or something. Still, I do not lack for media–I have pens, pencils, paint (sort of–some dried-up watercolors tucked away in a drawer), sketchpads, plus technology like a Surface Pro 3 with pen, an iPad Pro with pencil and also my own uncoordinated fingers and smartphone (which I used to produce an apple).
In the end I’ll mostly keep writing, but I’ll try to mix in some photos and drawings, something every day. And maybe I’ll post these things to some social media, though I generally think all social media is awful and truly one of current society’s ills. Facebook is terrible. Instagram is owned by Facebook. Twitter is largely a dumpster fire of hate and misinformation. Maybe I could lead a revival of Myspace. Or local BBSes. A man can dream.
The first result will come tomorrow. What will it be? I have no idea!
After toiling away on my Surface Pro 3, first using the included Sketchpad app (which is pretty bare bones) before switching to Photoshop (which has 5,000 pounds of blubber on its bones), I have drawn a potato.
An amazing potato. It sits on an abstract landscape that invokes memories of the family farm. If you didn’t have a family farm it may instead invoke memories of bad drawings you did when you were a kid, which this essentially is, minus the kid part. I’m a little out of practice.
Secretly I wanted to draw Super Spud but balked because trying to do a simple shape and then adding arms, legs and a face to it was too intimidating after years of not-drawing and even more years of not-drawing-in-computer-programs-I’m-barely-familiar-with.
For December I am going to use my Surface Pro 3 and Surface Pro 3 Pen to make a Surface Pro Drawing of something or other once per week for the duration of the month. It may be a tree or a potato or perhaps the moons of Uranus (hehehe) but it will be something and each of the four drawings will be amazing*.
* amazing subject to availability and may be shipped at a later time
Behold my masterwork, Angry Carrot as drawn using the stylus that comes with my Surface Pro 3 and using Corel Painter Essentials 5 software. I did no editing, as is rather obvious. Some day soon™ I may try a better drawing than this quick proof of something or other.