Summer Art Challenge Day 42 — making art every day
Yesterday I posted Tabby in ink; today she has dressed up in colour. She’s one of those rare female orange tabbies, which makes her even more alluring, I think, and she’s chosen a green dress to match her eyes. She favours rosé wine, and is fond of caviar and sashimi. I think she may be a glamourous spy for a shadowy underground organization of scientist-mages. I think I’ve got enough characters now to start writing this comic!
Karen, you and your Tabby are delightful. She’s a diva if ever there is one. And this is only today’s glimpse. (Simon is turning pink and green in the other room…I know he’d want me to say ‘Hello’).
Thanks, Karen — I love your pen-name, by the way! Hello back to Simon! Miss Tabby seems to be a very popular kitty, and she will definitely be making more appearances.
Don’t feel pressured to create art like this daily. I couldn’t imagine that pressure… But, she’s a very nice flapper kitty. I don’t particularly like the bottom half of the dress. But, other than that, she’s very nice. Now, I throw in some bunches of grapes around a frame and a curvy brand name for the beverage.
Hi Writingbolt, nice to meet you! Any pressure comes only from myself; the challenge is to get myself to show up at the drawing table daily. Sometimes I take two or three days to complete something; the rule is that I have to do something artistic every day, even just a doodle, (or since I’m a musician, make some music — also not as easy to show up at every day as you’d think). This particular challenge is only ’til the end of summer; after that I have some more long-term projects I need to work on and although I’ll probably be drawing every day, won’t have post-able results as often. Tabby’s dress is from a period pattern; I chose it because I’m trying to figure out outfits that will allow my animal characters’ tails to show gracefully! And I’ll keep that in mind if I ever start making my own wine — you’re right, she’d make a lovely label.
I am seeing so many people pressuring themselves this way. And, if that’s normal or healthy, then I feel like a lazy bum. I just can’t imagine creating something every day…at least, not doing so and not knowing where to go with what I made. I don’t want to doodle and throw my doodle away just cuz it’s on scrap paper and worth less than something I might have given a few days…or because I am not sure where to store it. I can only store so much art and worry about nature or some other force taking it from me. And, I see artists at art shows who don’t often or always sell every piece they make. What becomes of the poor sellers? I am sure I am losing in practice, but I am hopefully saving a few trees, eye strain or something by making less:P I should be content when I DO come up with something wonderful and not feel pressured or disappointed when my brain goes, “TooT! Nothing left to give, pal. Try again, tomorrow.” As it is, I have some pictures I want to get to print/s and am wondering if I won’t get carried away with amassing and diversifying those with variations (as I do), too.
Ah, I see it. Yes, the dress has layers to accommodate the cat’s tail. NIce. I’m still not crazy about the side bow or ruffles…but I get the practical necessity.
The nice thing about making music versus artwork is that you can fill the air–and make any number of people happy–without worrying about it getting ruined by nature or disagreeable people. And, making music you made before might improve/restore your memory at the same time. Whereas, if I draw a turtle every day, I might get good at drawing turtles, but I’m probably only pleasing myself or one other turtle fan in the world…unless I go out and find more turtle fans. But, even then…
Well, if it makes you happy:) Drink up.
Hi Writingbolt — sorry to take so long to get back to you, my vacation turned into immediate busy-busy when I got back and I haven’t been keeping up with the blog as frequently as I would like to.
As for pressure, there is good pressure and bad pressure. If it made me stressed, I wouldn’t do this. It’s more of a permission to myself to spend a certain amount of time doing what I love to do best. When it seems that all the world is conspiring to keep me from my drawing table, I can say to it, “I’ve got to go make my drawing for the day now”, and leave the never-ending chores, invitations to do things I would rather not, and irrelevant but compelling distractions and go spend some time in my personal paradise.
I don’t recommend that anyone do an art challenge unless it makes them feel better about their art and themselves. Also, not everyone does it on a daily basis, and not everyone is as open-ended as I am about it. Some people do weekly, some people confine themselves to a certain amount of time spent doing their activity, as a form of practice. Some people specify the type of thing they are going to do, like “draw a different animal in five minutes every day”.
Also, it’s not for other people, it’s something I do for myself. I could do these drawings and put them in a binder and it wouldn’t matter, because I would have gone through the process of doing them. As a musician, I could play where no-one would hear me (and often have) and I would have still been creative. I’m kind of a show-off, and I like the connection with an audience, so I show my art and I perform. But it’s not mandatory in order to be creative.
On selling, or the work being of value to other people: I don’t show everything I do, and I don’t know any artist who does. I also have lots and lots of work that I have shown and not sold. That’s OK. Nothing stifles creativity faster than thinking that everything you make has to be for the market. I have fallen into that trap in my younger days, and now I walk around it — I make things to please myself, and if other people like them, and buy them, that’s great. Interestingly, I’ve found that when I work for my own pleasure, the results please lots more other people than if I were trying to second-guess some nebulous market. I make a lot more art, too. And yes, storage can get to be a problem — I tend to recycle old stuff into collages or crafts and give then away for presents.
As for saving trees, the amount of paper an artist uses is so tiny compared to the tons of paper used for, say, advertising, that pales in significance. If you are concerned, save scrap paper for doodles and sketches, or buy tree-free paper for things you want to be more finished (most good drawing and painting paper is not made from trees, anyway, but from cotton rags).
What you say about music and it being of value to other people is true, and is one of the things I like most about playing. But all people don’t like my music; in fact, it is a fairly narrow niche, like your hypothetical turtle fans. Be good at what you like, and connect with others who like the same thing. There are billions of people in this world, and you can’t please them all. Make things that make you happy, whether it’s music or drawings or writing, and share the ones you’re proud of, or not; it’s always your own choice.
And thanks for inspiring me think about more clearly about all of this! I may do a blog post on the experience of doing challenges.
A blog is a social and literary/visual outlet not unlike a cafe or club. It’s not an everyday event or lifestyle. So, there’s no need to fret or fuss if we miss some time here. Anyone we wish to speak with more regularly, we should be able to direct somewhere more comfortably accessible.
I understand the need to have your peace of mind, and rightly so. If we have to go to bed feeling distressed, that’s awful (in the fewest words I will ever use). That’s why I tend to get in trouble for doodling when I do. Sometimes, I take that doodle moment to blow off the stress I foolishly let mount. I’ve also recently started demanding breathing time when days become tense. I go somewhere fairly quiet, sit down with a crossword puzzle and try to shake off what’s eating me.
I suppose there could be such a thing as good pressure…like in field training or swordsmanship practice/fencing…but I don’t know if I want to place pressure (more pressure) on my creativity. If there’s a deadline to meet, it would be nice to know I am not in the boat alone and have a great team to help complete the project for the good of more than just me.
I also see how challenging oneself to draw things in a set amount of time might work like increasing typing speed. But, many a day, I have tried telling myself to draw something (including some of those stressful work moments), and I waste more time trying to find something that pleases me enough to draw than I would taking that time to breathe and exercise. I feel this is a sign my creativity is a gift designated for special times like dreams. I don’t dream every day. I can’t make myself dream. But, dreams do come now and then.
But, once you’ve put something up for sale, and it doesn’t sell, doesn’t that eat at you? It’s hard for me to put a price on my work. I can’t go by some standard and always judge each piece the same. Some took more time or effort. Some take a piece of my heart with them like children. But, if I accept the price I give and put the work up for sale, I don’t know what to do when I have to bring it back…especially if something happened to it on the sales floor.
Right, trying to make something that pleases a group of people you haven’t met for the purpose is chancy. Better to do a commission job for a client. I also am learning the value of making prints and selling those so I don’t have to “kiss my babies goodbye.” But, eventually, my creativity could fill more space than I can secure, and I would hate to see anything I worked long and hard on be at risk of…well, anything negative.
Art I’ve given as presents is almost as chancy as selling to strangers. I’ve had mixed reactions and many who didn’t fully appreciate because I didn’t get the request from them. I also have experienced a disturbing trend of making art for people I like and then not seeing them, again. It has made me reluctant to give art to people I like.
Yea, I knew that the moment I mentioned the trees:) Yes, businesses consume far more for far less too often. I’ve seen the waste first hand. That’s one thing that fuels my artist rage to protest against these business practices. I found a funny comic panel about the matter that I still have pegged on my cork board.
Pleasure to meet and speak with you;) Let’s do this again, sometime. ‘Maybe stop by the chat cafe.
Awesome! Hi Karen. I had asked before how to purchase your graphic novels, but then dropped the ball. Sorry. Got busy with projects. I am still interested in purchasing a graphic novel can you email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know how to do that. Thanks!
Hi Vlatka! I’m about to take off on a trip, after which I’ll be working out the logistics of shipping and payment and stuff. I’ll get back to you in a couple of weeks! Thank you!
Still working that out — I got back from the trip and landed running, and have had to put all art stuff (including mail sales) on hold until the current project is done, in early October. I haven’t forgotten you, though — just wanted to let you know!