The Cheeky Monkey Media Blog
A few words from the apes, monkeys, and various primates that make up the Cheeky Monkey Super Squad.
I must admit, I am not very good with new year’s resolutions. The first problem is actually deciding on one that doesn’t involve a fitness-related goal. The second problem is actually sticking to it for more than 3 weeks. This is probably true for you as well. Am I right?
I Chose Drawing
Well, it’s 2016, and this year I had to consider very carefully what I wanted to commit to. After considerable deliberation, I decided I would focus on drawing. I mean, really focus. This must sound a bit strange, seeing as I am a graphic designer… you would think that I would be drawing constantly in my job. Well truthfully, it really depends a lot on the type of design you do most often. For the past five years at least – most of what I have been involved in is web or UI design. So aside from initial wireframe sketches on graph paper that are barely legible even to me, and the occasional brand and logo design, I don’t get to really sit down and draw a lot.
Actually, I never sit down and draw for fun anymore.
For me, drawing is like any muscle, drawing skill improves with practice and work. Improving a skill is hard work. Frustration and resistance are fierce enemies, but in my opinion, to continue trying is the way to fight that. So pick up the pencil, do more reps, and more weight (try more complex things)… and you will improve.
Even in art and design school, I struggled as an illustrator, but I always improved when I applied myself. I had even really started to enjoy it. I miss that.
As a graphic designer, I know that drawing is the great underpinning skill that you must have to be truly good at your job (and not just being able to copy a photograph, but to truly understand drawing and rendering with or without reference). If you can’t draw, your designs and logos are probably going to look like every other ‘shape combined’ design out there… machine-made, and lacking any true soul or character.
The Drawing Cascade
The more skillful you are at drawing the better you will be at everything, painting, lettering, and designing. It’s a cascading effect for the better.
Simply put I need to draw more, so I can do my job better, deliver more value, and ultimately be happier with everything I produce.
So how am I going to improve?
I am far from happy with my current level of skill, and I know that I can improve. What am I going to do about it? Read books? Watch Tutorials? Been there, and done that. The truth is, that writers write, and illustrators draw. Practice trumps theory, in my opinion.
You can read the books and watch the tutorials as there is a lot of good advice out there, but YOU MUST DRAW.
Solution: Draw Every Day
This is by no means an original solution, you see bloggers posting ‘daily drawings’ or artworks all the time, which even I have done in the past. This year though my plan is simple, I am going to try to draw every day for 1 year, even if it’s doodling, and for just 15 minutes (hopefully, most sessions will be longer…). The only other condition is that the drawing is outside my work, and I draw whatever I want.
The goal? Well to get better of course. By how much? I won’t know until the end of the year when I can compare.
I am hoping that by doing this I will fall back in love with it, and then I won’t need a resolution or promise. I won’t need to force myself to draw, I will just have to draw because I love to.
Are you confident in your drawing skills? Have you ever taken a challenge like this? I would really like to hear any stories or comments you may have. Please feel free to comment!