Since last March, I’ve been drawing like crazy – my instagram is proof enough of how active I’ve been lately. I’ve been posting more digital work than ever. My artistic output in total during 2020 probably beats any other year that I’ve spent doing art.
I realised that just drawing a lot is a huge sign of change for me, and also realised how strained my relationship with art was before. The damage was not a recent thing, and my current productivity is the result of a lot of unlearning, and years of healing.
I started drawing as a kid, with elemental wizards and princesses, then Naruto fan art and OCs (original characters) and so on. I didn’t really understand HOW to approach doing art as a career until very recently, though.
At least until after GCSES, the art room was a welcome break from… everything else. Even then, you probably don’t need me to tell you that my teachers were not huge fans of it since they were teaching us Fine Art. One definitely called it manga-ganga and I can’t forget it.
I think in my head I also felt that Art should be whatever I liked, and that freedom, while contributing to that feeling of ‘escape’ in the art rooms, actually limited the sorts of things I brought out when it came to putting out a structured project. These days, I’ve also realised that trying to improve in art while enjoying it means keeping at least to a 50/50 balance of ‘improvement’ work and ‘whatever-you-like’ works which students just don’t always have time for, but I digress.
After I stopped studying Art, I just stopped drawing too. I’d do a few things here and there but it was not the same, and I struggled a lot with it. I did a new self portrait for each period I’d ‘pick up’ drawing again, which I’ll share next time.
I wish someone had told me that drawing practice in any form at all could have helped me with the stuff I WANTED to draw. That the apples and dead birds and so on could have helped me build the practical, fundamental skills I needed to keep going with the styles that I actually liked. That observing and drawing from real people in real life could help me understand how they stand and move if I ever wanted to animate or draw action.
I can’t tell you if I would have listened, though (nor can I remember it if they did).
Partly due to a house move and room swap, I have almost none of my childhood and early teen sketches. Then later I don’t think I bothered picking up my A-Level sketchbooks from school, so that work is lost to me, too.
Now, Korea. I don’t want to be cliche and say I came back a different person, but one thing that changed majorly was my mindset towards my art. I didn’t bring any of my artsy materials with me across the world but pens and a pencil. I didn’t draw for at least three months before eventually caving in and getting a small sketchbook. Then I missed my digital art and made my boyfriend bring my tablet over when he visited.
But for some reason, I actually wanted to practice. I used to get so disheartened and jealous from looking at art by other people and honestly, I still DO get jealous, but not in a bad way. I acknowledge it and I use that energy to draw more. I don’t know how else to describe it, but that’s what happens.
There are definitely stories that I want to express one day, and that’s one of the goals that keeps me drawing, too. Art isn’t a race. I won’t ever catch up the way I want to, but I’m very content with just pumping out art that I am proud of, and that’s what matters to me right now.