As you already know, I’m taking Sketchbook Skool, which is an awesome online art course on visual journaling. We’re already in our third week of klass and I must say I’m impressed by the course! As early as now, I think it’s safe to say that even if the founders Danny and Koosje are still learning themselves, the course can be very effective in teaching people to make art.
This is because the principle behind it is that drawing can be learned through everyday observation and practice. And this everyday practice can be through visual journaling. It makes a lot of sense but it’s also scientific. (Nerd that I am, I am also incidentally taking a free online course called Think101x, about the science of everyday thinking. The most recent lesson that I took was about how people learn. In a nutshell, people learn by a. spaced learning, or distributing studying over time; and b. learning by doing, or active learning, or engaging with the content and making it relevant to your everyday life. Sounds a lot like visual journaling to me.)
The trick now will be actually motivating people to draw everyday! I think they’re doing a pretty good job at it, at least on my end. Before klass, I never knew how much time I could find to draw in my busy everyday, even if it was only a quick doodle!
But, of course, there were challenges. I missed drawing on April 13 and 14 due to a bit of a deadline. By the 15th I had lost my artistic momentum and was feeling kind-of in a rut drawing-wise.
Sketchbook Skool had then just added this new feature where you can ask the teachers questions. Danny seemed like someone who is super motivated and passionate about drawing, so I asked him whether or not he ever forced himself to draw even when he didn’t feel like it. He had this to say:
I force the monkey that tells me I am bored, incompetent, hopeless, and I tell it to f*ck off because drawing makes me happy whether I remember it or not. So part of me forces another part of me to draw. Because it’s good for me and the more I do the more I like it. But sometimes I just DON’T because I can’t get up the energy, enthusiasm. Just like I skip the gym, skip brushing when I’m exhausted, stop blogging, skip lots of things that are good for me. and make me happy. Just like I used to smoke. And work for a boss I hated. And denied myself pleasure. And made myself sad.
Some times you want to sometimes you don’t but most of the time you just put your head down and do it.
If you want to know more about what I think on this subject, search for “monkey” on dannygregorysblog.com and see what you find Lots of stuff. Most of it pretty good.
It threw on a lightbulb in my head because I recognized that the thing that doesn’t want to draw isn’t me. I in myself love drawing, there’s just this pesky little thing that does not! I even printed out the page and taped it to my sketchbook for inspiration.
I read up about “the monkey” (which Koosje also calls “the inner critic”) in his blog. Apparently there’s this something in your head that points and laughs and tells you you’re no good. Personally, though, I have no problem with this monkey. I’ve made good friends with it, even. Usually, it just stands there making nitpicky comments which at most make me fuss with whatever I’m working on and/or not show it to other people. Granted, there are times when I feel super horrible about my art but that has never stopped me from drawing.
It’s my lazy monkey that causes mischief. It’s the monkey that goes we don’t feel like doing that and that is so much work and we’re already doing so much and we don’t have time for that. All of which is actually not true, because more often than not I end up enjoying drawing whenever I manage the energy to just pick up my sketchbook.
There was no doubt, though, that I was dead tired and cranky from staying up late for deadlines. So I went to my upstairs office, locked the door and took a little nap on the wooden floor (hey, it’s comfy!). After that, I felt a sudden rush of energy and picked up color pencils for Koosje’s homework.
I am really not a color pencil person.But Koosje’s videos were enlightening because I found out you could get really rich colors through layering! It just takes such a long time, mostly because the colored pencils I was using weren’t very color dense. I guess it’s a wonderful thing if you want to do long, meditative art. I think I will do it again, but my mainstay will still be splashing color all over the page!