Stick Figure Sketchblog & Webcomic Creator @ Stewped.com


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How I Learned to Not Give a Damn and Just Fuckin’ Draw

February 8th, 2013 by

oh godThe only people that think drawing is easy are either crazy or don’t do any drawing themselves. I suppose there are some that may find it incredibly easy, but that has not been my experience.

Now, I’ve been attempting this Webcomic Career for quite a while and failing to produce steady comics every step of the way. It’s ok. It’s very obvious. Clearly it is not easy. If it were, I’d have accomplished a lot more by now. After years of drawing I only have about 100 comics done. 150 if you count the Adventures in Retail stuff. 150 comics over nine years is approximately 16 comics a year. Ouch. Not a good average.

Why is this year going to be different? I finally figured out how to draw. No, not well, but how to draw on a regular basis and enjoy it. Nothing will be perfect, but enjoying the process and making lots of sketches is more important and after enough time, art will just be better.But I'm working!

First, I have two very distinct goals this year, albeit very similar:
1) draw 52 comics for Chronic Malpractice
2) draw 52 comics  for Illustrated Thesaurus.

The only way I’ll be able to complete them is because two key ideas I’ve been reading about for years have finally been burned into my brain and made real. It happened this past weekend when I achieved something like never before in my comic drawing career: I drew two comics in one day.

just-fuckin-draw-01I’ve read a TON of “how to be a better artst” and “how to get better at X” articles. It’s basically all I used to do when I should have been drawing. In every one, though, are these two ideas: 1) just do it and 2) don’t worry about it. The first part is basically an investment of time and effort, and it is hard. You just have to buckle the fuck down and do it.

just-fuckin-draw-02

I know from 9 years of making mistakes that this is the most difficult part of any skill you want to improve: working through the lousy output stage. Most everything produced is awful in its creator’s eyes, but it’s useful to do.

I used to sit down at the drawing table, trying to think of ideas, Giving a Damn about what I was about to create, and failing miserably. Most often, a tiny scribble would be produced and I’d be done for the day. Angry at myself for the lack of output and becoming more depressed each time. It was unproductive and unhealthy to sit down expecting great sketches when I cared too much about every mark I was making and whether it was “right” and “good.”

just-fuckin-draw-03

When you really care about getting great sketches it makes sitting down to draw immensely difficult. So don’t give a damn.

“Oh, don’t give a damn. That sounds simple enough.”

Oh goodness, no. The idea of not caring about my output took years to sink in!

From reading all the How To Draw articles, I “knew” that I should sit down and just draw, but I couldn’t do it because I cared too much. I wanted to make something fantastic every time I sat down at the art table. This was a bad plan, according to those improvement articles, and the key was to NOT try to make something great. Fantastic and funny ideas just happen from experimentation and screwing around. I had to learn to not care about the results from practicing a skill that I desperately wanted to improve.

So, this past Sunday I stood at my art table, looking down(partly with dread) at the lettered portion of a comic that I had begun several months before, and both of these stupidly simple ideas finally crystallized in my mind. Then I deliberately thought, I’m going to just fuckin’ draw this comic and I don’t give a damn how it turns out.

Without the help of those two ideas, my goals for this year wouldn’t even be in the Realm of Possibility(neighbor to the Kingdom of Someday). Shoot, if they hadn’t finally clicked in my brain, I probably wouldn’t have finished a single comic this week! I’ve even filled 5-and-a-half pages in my sketchbook since then–another task that I’ve never been able to enjoy, despite my desire to.

Of course, this becomes just another “how to get better at drawing” article couched in a story of my own experience, of which the internet has plenty. I’ve read and bookmarked many myself, but to no avail. The ideas contained in all of the well-meaning how-to’s out there won’t do you any good until you find a way to internalize and solidify them for yourself.

If any of this recounting seems uncommonly familiar to you, remind yourself before each and every drawing session not to give damn and just fuckin’ draw. The fun will happen on its own.

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