too hard, didn’t finish

Drawings have been few and far between this year. Not that it’s been a bad year, the time at the Botanic Gardens getting my hands dirty with design again, an awesome family holiday to Japan, but wondering what it was all about. Being more of a manager than a designer. Being more inspired to code than draw. There are no comics where the hero settles down to being a dad and public servant in middle age!

Hence a drawing about my self-image and its changes over time. Which then seemed pointless and self-indulgent – ‘who will ever see it?’ – or more strongly – ‘who would care if they did?’

Ringing ears and dark ales

But then I went out for a boys night and saw some amazing heavy bands at the Crown and Anchor.* They were old dudes, my age, living the dream and smashing it. We ended up talking to some of them outside afterwards, I was confessing my lack of motivation and they were inspiring. Do it for the love of it, do it for yourself.

And I did. Got all motivated and made good progress to a point… then just stepped back to my coding project. Got really obsessed with it, staying up late and on weekends trying to get new things to work. And they did work, and the satisfaction was massive. But no drawing was done.

Intrinsic demotivation

I’ve been doing more management training at work, as well as a great questionnaire about personal strengths. Lots about how to motivate people, and much pondering on how to get it to work with my staff, or my two headstrong daughters! Turns out there’s a whole lot about challenges and learning something new.

So I started comparing coding and drawing. The first seems like a hard sell. After a day of being on a computer at work, sit at another screen at night, mostly in a bare bones code editor typing Javascript that I mostly didn’t understand. Spend weeks trying multiple things, searching forums, just to get a single thing to work. Being elated when it finally worked. Then seeing the next thing I could do to build on it. Loops.

Drawing should be a no-brainer. Something I’ve always loved and is quite meditational. Something that’s always been a strong part of my self identification. Now a thing where my skills are getting rusty, having to spend longer to produce drawings that aren’t as good as they were before. Oops.

This drawing really was the straw that broke the camels back, but also that finally made it clear. The thing I find hardest at the moment is drawing people. With a good reference pictures, and at a big enough scale I can can still get it together. I was really enjoying this when it was all about the perspective and the pen outlines of the canvases. Then it was going to be lots of detailed small drawings of people, often specific people like the family shot set in Japan… the only one that I actually finished.

Too long, didn’t read

At this point you’d be expecting some resolution, some truths, but they’re never that easy. I’m not ready to give up on drawing yet, but there may be a few more posts about writing a novel along the way!

*Thanks again for the birthday tickets cuz!

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