For most people, the big question isn’t “when did you start drawing?” but “when did you stop drawing?”
— from “The Cognitive Benefits of Doodling”
I haven’t posted many words here lately. In fact, it’s mostly just been images for the #drawlloween challenge. I have been participating fairly steadily, only delayed a few times posting here, since I’ve mainly been posting them in the shared album on Facebook.
The challenge has definitely gotten me thinking. Particularly about my current blank page phobia.
The first drawing I made small on a whim. A tiny ghost. Because I didn’t want to spend a lot of time making an elaborate ghost, and the typical “ghost” shape is a little boring. And tiny is cute! So I got out the smallest tipped pen at my work desk (Micron 005) and easily doodled a tiny little ghost on a pad of scrap paper, snapped a picture with my iPhone using a penny for scale and uploaded it as-is. Quick. Simple. Done.
The next day, the prompt was devil. Thinking the same method, I doodled a tiny devil in just a few seconds, snapped the picture, uploaded it, and was done. Easy.
(For reference, each sheet is only 4.25″ x 7″)
Sometimes, the doodle would end up wonky; attempting to put too much detail in a small space, lines overlapping in confusing ways, etc. But since the drawings were so small a quick to do, scribbling them out (or just moving to a different part of the same sheet of paper), and giving it another go was not an issue. Hardly a thought passed, apart from, “Ah, let me try that again.”
Unlike when I am trying to draw “for real”… I get too serious, agonizing over everything, holding it as precious. Worrying about if/when I mess up. All of this to the point where I become paralyzed with the anticipation of ruining it before I even lay pen to paper. I don’t know what I think will happen… the worst case really is that I scrap the drawing and start again fresh.
But in my mind, there is the fear.
Fear that turns every small worry into something huge. That if I fail at something, then I am a failure. Fear that turns each penstroke into a symbol of my worthiness. Fear of the judgement of others, even if no one else actually sees the work. Fear of being discovered a fraud (see imposter syndrome). How can I call myself an artist, if I am no good?
Well, sillyhead, how can you call yourself an artist, if you don’t make any art, altogether?
Which brings up another writing I read recently, “You Can’t Run From Yourself Forever”…
“In that moment, I also felt the disengenousness of being an artist that didn’t make art.”
I know the solution is to just do it. Just start. Somewhere, anywhere. It doesn’t matter where. Just take the first step.
These tiny doodles are like the tiniest of baby steps. But at least it’s in the right direction.