Practice, practice, practice

I’m one day late posting here, I’ve been having more creative activities recently and so I wasn’t too inspired to write I guess. What other creative endeavors have I been involved lately?

I’m currently joining this art challenge called The Art of Imperfection from writersdiaries.com – where we’re supposed to create any kind of art everyday. I’m keeping it simple and just do sketches with ink (pen/ballpoint) – the rationale behind it is that no erasing, so if I draw a wrong line I’ll have to live with it and gave up trying to be perfect.

I’ve been quite artsy since I was young, and I went for Art & Design faculty in University. After I graduated I very rarely do manual artwork, I did a bit of graphic design but it’s different, I’m much more at ease with non-digital medium. Thus it’s been years since I doodled, draw, or paint.

So I just started to draw & sketch again at the beginning of this month for this art challenge. And it felt like riding a bike again after a long time not riding it – slightly awkward at first but after a little while we get the hang of it again. Below are my drawings so far, in chronological order.

Day 1 - my own legs. Ink on paper

Day 1 – my own legs. Ink on paper

Day 2: Sharing. Ink on paper

Day 2: Sharing. Ink on paper

Day 3: Cat. Ink on paper

Day 3: Cat. Ink on paper

Day 4: Black Label. Ink on paper

Day 4: Black Label. Ink on paper

Day 5: Hilly the bear. Ink on paper

Day 5: Hilly the bear. Ink on paper

Day 6: May all beings be happy. Ballpoint on paper

Day 6: May all beings be happy. Ballpoint on paper

Day 8: Coffee is always a good idea. Ballpoint on paper

Day 8: Coffee is always a good idea. Ballpoint on paper

Day 10: Human face. Ballpoint on paper

Day 10: Human face. Ballpoint on paper

Day 11: Mother. Ballpoint on paper

Day 11: Mother. Ballpoint on paper

From this exercise, I realized that the more I do and practice something, the smoother the pathway between the brain and the particular body part in use (in this case, my right hand). The more flawless coordination between the eye, the brain, and the hand. Over time I can observe my drawings becoming more detailed, more nicely composed, more firm and strong.

The lessons I learned from joining this challenge:

  1. To learn and improve on something, we have to act on it. Implement it. Practice it. Only then we can get better. Remember the 10,000 hours of practice rule? After we did it for thousands of hours then we can be good at it. Be it playing a musical instrument, dancing, painting, writing, anything.
  2. Perfectionism reduces creativity. If we want everything to be perfect, we wouldn’t start. We may be too afraid to draw the first line on the pristine clean paper – “What if I drew it wrong? What if I fail?”
  3. Just do it and make the best out of it. Like a little green creature famously said once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away…

Do or do not. There is no try.
~Yoda

I mentioned at the beginning about creative activities – more than one. What are the other(s)? I’m saving it for next post 😉

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16 thoughts on “Practice, practice, practice

  1. I have heard competing voices suggest drawing other ways to improve the connection between mind and hand, including drawing with the non-dominant hand and drawing from an upside-down image.

    For being rusty, you sure could compete at my level with these drawings. I have never really taken a break from drawing since I was 5. But, I certainly cannot draw every day without the inclination of addiction. In its own way, my art is like both a drug and therapy.

    Perfection is like a disease that lurks in our cells. It stalks us like death from the big, bad C. Can it really ever be extinguished? If so, why does a swordsman hone his blade? Or, why can a dance instructor always find room for improvement in his/her student’s performance?

    Nice travel/meditation photo, Silvia.

    • Thanks for your comment Writingbolt.
      Yes I do have that book ‘Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain’ and I did some of the suggested exercise, a long time ago. Will find that book again, thanks for bringing it up. I believe R/L brain integration & connection also improves overall performance of the brain. I used to practice writing with my left hand and I hold my mouse on my left hand.

      What’s the big bad C? (Creativity? Completion?)

      We strive for perfection, continuous improvement, sharpening the saw, and it’s a positive driver. But too much of it can hinder the creative process, even brought it into a halt. The key here is balance.

  2. Maybe I need to use my left hand more, then…now I am a bit scared of losing half of my mind (if I haven’t already). It’s a shame I had to go and injure my left arm the way I did. Now, it’s alien to me.

    No, the big bad C is the disease that’s gone rampant around the world in so many forms. I think humans experimented with technology so much, they poisoned the very air we breathe. And, now, so many are going to pay for the crimes of mankind…mostly humans themselves. The big C might very well be the asteroid that does us in the way that old rock took out the dinosaurs.

    I think what helps cope with perfectionism/imperfection is a good relationship:P Either good friends or lovers who put up with tiffs and imperfections (which seems a struggle for me). That connection/interaction alone creates a general acceptance/tolerance. Working always alone just lets the mind create too many negatives. I think that’s why so many join yoga and tai chi-type classes, to get away from solitary practice (or lack thereof).

  3. Pingback: Beyond carrot & stick | perpetual work in progress

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