Wednesday, February 18, 2015


I'm not much of a draw-from-my-imagination kind of person. As an illustrator it's ironic and rather problematic. Because it means when I don't have a freelance project to work on for someone else, I tend not to draw very much for myself. Because...expectations

You see, my love and connection to drawing comes from an enjoyment of rendering what I see---not what I imagine. I need tangible images to inspire me, I need references to see what things look like before I can render them. I don't draw well from my mind, and even less so when I don't have a story to prompt me. And even when I do, I can get started with quick thumbnails and rough ideas but beyond that it's tough going until I conduct my research. If you asked me to draw a dog from my head, it would be...bad. So bad that you would know never to request a drawing on demand again. Because...embarrassing.

Drawing from my imagination has never been a satisfying endeavor, because my memory skills generally underserve whatever mental ambition I may attempt on paper. I can look at something and draw it, I can get an idea for something and collect references and then draw it, but I can't draw from nothing. 

So, that leads me to the point of today's post. 

Sometimes I just want to draw. Sometimes I just want to practice. Sometimes I'm certain I learn more about myself by studying other people's work. Interpreting existing illustrations/art allows me to practice and build muscle memory without the pressure of creating original content. It's free of expectations. 

I firmly believe that as long as I keep putting pencil to paper I will continue to learn. I'm not embarrassed to be seen trying. Practice doesn't make perfect---there is no such thing. But at least it makes something. 

Monday, February 9, 2015


I've made a decision that I think is for the best but may prove challenging to adhere to. From now on, I must relegate the doodle paintings to nights and weekends (as with any hobby), so that I can focus and structure my studio days around picture books, writing, and illustration. I love creating the doodles but I know that ultimately they distract me from doing the things I want to do most but that I am afraid to do. I must prioritize and truly give my career as a book maker the time and attention it needs. I need to treat it like a proper work day and be more disciplined than I have been, otherwise I'm never going to get where I want to go.

I love doodling, and I think it has many positive spin-offs into my art. I just don't want it to continue to be the crutch I lean on when I'm scared to conquer my real dreams. They are part of me, too, and they won't be going away. But right now I need them to be my hobby, not my career.

Yesterday (Sunday) I spent some time painting a few new doodles to have at the ready when I have some spare time. I don't usually have weekend days free for creative time, but the weather has been keeping us pretty snowed in. When I'm productive, I don't mind the cabin fever. But I do sort of miss leaving the house!

Saturday, February 7, 2015


I'm trying to establish a structure with regard to how I spend my studio time, and part of that regimen will include a dedicated sketchbook hour. I haven't drawn in far too long and it feels really good to put pencil to paper again. I'm really not much of a sketchbooker, but I've always wanted to be. Without a doubt I know the more you draw, the better you get. So my goal for this year is simply to draw more. Sketchbook hour will be a chance to scribble whatever I want without pressure or expectations of having it be something other than just establishing a positive, beneficial habit. 

Here are two character sketch portraits, in progress.