When Concretemoomin mentioned #DrawingAugust a few weeks ago, I thought it would be a good opportunity to a) restart my drawing practise, b) thoroughly test my new occupational varifocals and c) have another go at that “little and often” thing I’m so bad at.
To keep it simple, I counted out 31 of the old business cards that Alison very kindly gave me a couple of years ago, put them in a box and resolved to draw something on one of them each day throughout August. Having done the day’s drawing I put the card at the bottom of the pile and didn’t look at any of them again until I’d finished the last one. On the 30th, I realised I’d have to add another card to keep day 1 hidden until after I’d done day 31!
Given that the calm holiday-ish August I had planned turned out to be a bit of a one-thing-after-another stress-fest, I’m very pleased that I did do a drawing of some sort every single day throughout the month. None of them took very long – I always drew in the evening, so was often very tired by the time I started. Trying to observe rather than judge what I was doing, some days I found myself relaxed and engaged in the exercise, other times I was more like a reluctant schoolchild half-heartedly going through the motions of doing homework.
As the end of the month approached I started to feel a thrill of anticipation at the prospect of reviewing what I’d done and pleasure at having persisted despite all the stresses thrown in my path. I resisted the temptation to sneak-peek, which added to my small feeling of triumph yesterday when I slipped drawing 31 onto the bottom of the pile.
I pretty much hated all the drawings at the time of execution, whether or not I’d enjoyed making them. Looking at them again now, I still think they are crap, but, y’know, I was utterly whacked most of the time and hadn’t done any drawing for months. Many days it was just an exercise in sheer bloody-mindedness to pick up a pen and scribble. But it was fun doing the reveal yesterday, surprising myself with the subjects I’d forgotten, smiling wryly at how hard I’d tried to nail that blasted toy car and how spectacularly I’d failed at it.
Doing my mini version of #DrawingAugust has successfully renewed my enthusiasm for drawing, though I’ll be continuing on a “what I can, when I can” basis as I really don’t like the pressure of long-term daily commitments. I’m thinking of doing this portrait-drawing course next, because I’d like to be able to draw a face that looks like a face. As for my occupational varifocals, I’m still not particularly happy with them, but I can’t face the thought of another visit to the optician at the moment…
Perhaps the the best outcome of the challenge was the unexpected effect of deciding not to look at what I’d done until the end of the month. Each day I just did that day’s drawing, starting fresh without any feeling that I had to improve on the previous day or fear that I would do worse. And that was surprisingly liberating.
Note: The image shows the drawings in random order, because I didn’t stick to one orientation so laying them out in date order looked messy.