One of the accomplishments I am proudest of this year is starting and maintaining the habit of drawing every day.
Drawing is not a skill anyone is born with. Some people seem to have more of a knack for it, however, fostering the false belief that you’re either born with the ability, or you’re not. Untrue!
Drawing is a motor skill that involves coordinating the eyes and the hand. Like juggling. Or driving. And, like any motor skill, it must be learned, and maintained. With practice, ability will improve; without it, the skill will decline.
I’ve watched my drawing skills slide, over years of neglect. I’ve felt the struggle to get the shadows, or a line down correctly, when I wanted to capture an image. What once was easy for me, became difficult for lack of practice. Over the years, I gathered quite a collection of nearly-empty sketchbooks, and a good stack of ambitious but unfinished drawings.
This year, I decided that was going to change. I added drawing to my list of early morning self-improvement activities, along with meditation, gratitude practice, journal-writing, yoga and studying. Because I have a long list, and morning time is limited, nothing gets more than a half-hour.
I find the sketchbook page is much less intimidating if there are borders. Often, I break a page up into small rectangles, but even pages reserved for one larger drawing are framed in. I use a fine-point, sepia-tone marker. That eliminates the possibility of erasing, and forces me to make – and stick with – decisions regarding placement and subject matter.
I capture mundane objects…
…and sleeping dogs.
When my sisters and I went to Florida in February, I packed my sketchbook right along with my journal, camera, and bathing suit.
When I was in Hawaii this spring, there was always something delightful and challenging to focus on, from unusual plants to coral and rock samples, and it was one more way to document a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
When I got home, it was a great way to pass time in quarantine.
Now, finally, daily drawing has become a regular and valued part of my day.