Hello friends! I hope you’re doing well.
By the time this blog post comes out, I will have told everyone I know that I’m quitting my day job at the end of July!!! It’s super scary and exciting. I’m taking a break from having a regular job so I can devote more time and energy into pushing my art/illustration career forward for a while. I will write more about my exciting life change later in another blog post! Stay tuned! It’s a HUGE change, believe me!
Now back to our regular programming 🙂
Today I’m reflecting on the concept of “practice makes perfect.” I mentioned on my Why I Want to Write Regularly post that I set a goal to write regularly because I’ve never felt writing was my thing. It takes me a long time to put my thoughts on a paper in a coherent and compelling way. In order for me to feel comfortable putting something in the world, I need to be able to formulate my thoughts, analyze it and organize it. Over and over.
One of the many benefits of doing the 365 Day Happiness Project was I forced myself to draw something every day. Before that, I drew occasionally. I would draw when I had specific projects to work on and then get busy with other things in my life. I knew that wasn’t a good practice if I wanted to be a working artist/illustrator. How would I know if I like having a career in art if I didn’t know what it’s like to draw every day all the time?
I also mentioned in my Your Imperfections are OK post that you may never feel your work is “100% perfect” no matter how much you practice. You will get better, though, and you will find your voice or your “style” through consistent practice. In fact, it may be the only way to get better and develop your own style.
In the beginning of my 365 Day Happiness Project, I would sketch in pencil first and then trace it with pen because I was afraid to make a mistake. I was also trying different styles of hand-lettering and writing too. I would create the lettering separately, scan in both the drawing and lettering, digitally color them in, and make one picture to post. Sometimes I would use a drawing pad to write my words.
I made these drawings using this method:
I quickly became tired of how very time-consuming it was, and so I began experimenting with just drawing with pen without first sketching with pencil. It was scary at first. My drawings were already kinda wonky, so it didn’t make a big difference in the quality. But I grew to like how relaxed and organic everything looked. Not to mention time-saving! Well, except for when I couldn’t get something right and had to draw over and over… :p
These are examples of pen drawings from the early days:
You might notice that I was much more experimental with my hand lettering in my early days. I wanted fancy hand-lettering to be my “thing.” I took a hand-lettering e-course by Seanwes and drooled over many fancy hand-lettered pieces on the internet. Although I still love beautiful hand-lettered pieces and try a few different styles now and then, I settled on these very casual hand-writing/lettering styles. I think it works well with my overall style.
I still just draw with a pen or a paint brush for many of my works. I love that that’s my style. It’s not “perfect” but it is “me”. Simple, relaxed, and friendly. Just the way I want you to feel when you see my art!
I’m going to say this again. Don’t worry about becoming “perfect“: It is a dangerous trap for many of us. What you want to see is improvement in your work over a period of time. It’s easier to see your improvements if you compare your work from a year ago vs. a week ago (unless you put in many many hours of practice in one week!) Are you happier with what you made? Are you consistently producing high (or higher) quality work? Are you putting in your best effort into your work? What about your work says it’s yours?
Close out of your Instagram or Pinterest feeds now, and get making your own thing 🙂
You can do it!