Or Releasing The Fears And Rules Of Others To Get Back To Your True Self
I’ve recently realized I need to draw/doodle for my own sanity. Back in high school, I was a pretty good visual artist and actually had to choose art or music as a career path.
I chose music, but I’ve felt something amiss in not drawing anymore. I didn’t feel like I had permission to waste time doodling or drawing – there was work to be done! [Note: You could insert any activity here really: drawing or painting or writing songs or anything you passionately love.] But yet, it was like a part of me kept bugging me, like a piece of grit in my gut that was forming itself into a pearl.
I’ve always envied the life of the independent cartoonist. I was never really into comic books like Spiderman or Marvel stuff. Instead, I was attracted to people like Bill Watterson (of Calvin and Hobbes fame) and Gary Larson (The Far Side) who could command their own worlds and enjoyed international fame and fortune. But problem is, I couldn’t really see myself writing and drawing my own comics.
A Seed Is Planted
Years ago, I read Hugh Mcleod‘s amazing book Ignore Everybody. I was so envious, jealous even! How did he escape the big ad agency and claim his own life! At the time I was still involved with interactive advertising world. And to think that Hugh was not even an Art Director, but a Copywriter who drew these crude cartoons! Though I didn’t do anything about it, it planted a seed deep within me.
About a year and a half ago, I came across a book about this process called Zentangle which had this entire process of making simple abstract art from rules. It was like a drawing meditation and I started to play around with it and found I really liked it. I also got to buy myself some really cool pens and pencils!
This was fun, but it still felt a little bit like I was wasting time and needed to go and do real work. It’s amazing what your previous programming does to you. I was hearing the voices of authority in my head from parents, teachers, society, etc. But, it felt so fun! And, I was only doing a little bit each day. It’s like my version of sitting on the couch watching television, which I don’t really do.
Then I came across this great book, the Sketchnote Handbook about note-taking using drawings! This was so cool! It’s kind of like giving myself permission to draw because I was doing some thinking work at the same time. (Or I was note-taking at a meeting or I was learning a new subject.) This also re-awakened in me an awareness of hand lettering and calligraphy, something I used to know about back when I was a teenager.
Starting to feel a little inspired, I bought this great book called Creative Lettering, Techniques and Tips from Top Artists by Jenny Doh. It was actually hard for me to justify doing this, so I think I used some points to purchase this book. And what a breath of fresh air! It is a review of beautiful lettering by many different artists. I loved it so much, I started to add little lettering features to my daily list of lesson plans for my music students.
Here’s some examples.
Then about a week ago, I was in a coffee shop and came across an artist sketching some beautiful abstract designs in his notebook. It turns out, he does this just for fun too. He has a real job in technology, but you could tell this really turned him on. We spoke a long time about ideas, letting go, pens, paper and giving yourself permission.
It seems that we often don’t honor our true nature. Instead of doing what feels good and right, I was trying to do the “right thing,” which paradoxically is not so. The other thing I haven’t been doing enough of is writing fiction. But that’s another long post!
I Give In
So I’m going to start a series of hand lettered designs. I live in Brooklyn and it’s apparently the center of the Universe, according to those who live here. 🙂 So stay tuned for my series of hand drawn Brooklyn. I’m feeling better already. It’s like going through life with one arm tied behind your back. Now to get the kinks out and get the blood flowing again!