I’ve just finished another sketchbook — the 11th one since I began drawing at the end of 2019. It took me longer than the usual three months to fill this one, mostly because I was experimenting with a new medium.
I have wanted to play with black ink for ages but I felt intimidated by its permenancy: what if I make a mistake?!
Well — I made a bunch of mistakes and it turns out what you do is turn the page and do another drawing.
This week’s letter features a few of the sketches I’m most proud of, interlaced with some of my favourite quotes about being creative, inspired and productive.
I hope — either in word or picture — you’ll find something that speaks to you.
“It is impossible to get better and look good at the same time. Give yourself permission to be a beginner. By being willing to be a bad artist, you have a chance to be an artist, and perhaps, over time, a very good one.”
“One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now.”
“Our right to define ourselves - as we are, in our infinite variety - as opposed to how others see us, is the fight of our lives.”
“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open.”
“Artists are like cats - they are not interested in direct communication. The cat places a third thing in between you and relates to you through this third thing. They communicate abstractly, at a remove.”
“What would art look like if artists didn’t sign their names, if art became anonymous, if there were no media reporting trends? There is no doubt in my mind that art would look entirely different from the way it does today.”
“We often think productivity means to work. It doesn’t. Productivity means to make intentional choices towards a goal. The choice could be to pause. The goal could be to replenish. Productivity could mean to rest.”
“Birds sing, wolves howl, crickets chirp. But why? Money? Fame? Record contracts? Endorsements? What’s it all for? They do it because they are alive. They do it because life is about making things.”
Until another Sunday soon,