Like singing, people wish they can draw. To be able to capture what you see around you or what’s going on in your mind, and put that onto a canvas or a sketch book is something else. It’s almost as if you are creating your own world, a world with the kind of curves, perspective, angles and colours you choose.
Personally, I am a big fan of sketches, doodles and cartooning.chuttersnap
In the beginning, my exposure to art was through comic books. To read up on village folktales, ancient scriptures and super hero fantasies, all squeezed into multiple square boxes, with oversized speech & thought bubbles, was a world I didn’t want to leave. It was my mediation. Just like how some of the stories in those comics ended – “to be continued”, I didn’t want my journey through comic strips to end either. By the time I reached Year 6, I had a massive collection of comics. If a new release hit the store, it was in my home too.
Influenced by such creativity, I began to draw as well. Trying to sketch out exactly what I saw in the comics, I would spend hours with my pencil and eraser. Believe it or not, they turned out quiet good. Friends of my parents and their kids, school children and teachers too, would screen through my work and admire them. I wasn’t drawing anything from my mind but just recreating existing cartoon characters. But it all came to a stop when I had to pay more attention to my studies, sports and other extra curricular activities over time. Then came university life and work life, and everything else that goes with it. Drawing wasn’t a part of my life anymore although I would glance at another’s work if I happened to cross one.
The itch to draw returned perhaps in the last 5-6 years ago. Some of my friends were accomplished cartoonists too and I began to marvel their work, deeply wishing I could do the same. That’s when I got my sketch pens and paper out and began to draw out stuff from my head. The entry of the iPad into my life along with the Apple Pencil, made the experience a whole lot interesting. With numerous brush types, colours and canvas types coupled with easy share on social media leading to Likes and Comments, it looked as if all the effort was purposeful.
However, there was a need to learn some of the basics. So, over the last few months or so, I began to buy books that would teach me how to draw. I signed up for a short doodling course, “How to draw faces – Cartooning for people who can’t draw” on Udemy as well. It didn’t cost me much as I was a fresh signup on the platform. I began to practice as much as I could in the time available. I noticed that my body wasn’t as fluid as it was when I was a child drawing. Then, I wasn’t restricted to anything, I was patient and wasn’t worried about making mistakes. As an adult, I wanted it perfect and a mistake meant I was beginning to lose patience. Then there were the distractions – SMS, Facebook, check through tweets, lunch. I just wasn’t committed enough.
If you want to succeed in anything, you need to put in the hard work. There are 3 things you need to employ if you want to be good at something:
I call it, “Put your CAP on!”.
Acquiring a skill, especially one that we weren’t born with requires hard work and enthusiasm. Starting something in an excitement and then dropping it because of boredom, won’t get you anywhere. Anything creative related requires the brain to function differently i suppose and our mind well managed. The mind is like a monkey, jumping from tree to tree. It is always accepting and rejecting. Wisdom from the past says that you maybe able to control the wind but it’s hard to control the mind.
The only way we can win over mind it is to occupy it in something higher. When you do that, it gives up the lower quality it was in possession of.
Hence, we must always challenge the mind and not let it have ownership of you. Those who are truly successful will tell you that they had strong discipline which they honed over time. To be dedicated to a discipline, you need to be thoroughly determined as well. This means that when you slip, you get back up and try again. When you consistently do this, the hold of mind on you weakens over time. Once a spiritual practioner I had the chance to meet, gave a tip that I try to practice as much as I can. She said that if you have a daily habit of reading a book and the mind says “enough”, then don’t put it down. Rad another chapter instead. If your goal in swimming is 5 laps, do another 3. If you are in the gym and OK with 10 squats, then do another 5. This way, you push your mind to a corner and build your determination.
So, I am not a good artist at the moment. I may never end up being one. But I do know I won’t give up. Every week, I shall put in my little bit and draw out those comics that I have always wanted to draw. WISH ME THE BEST!
Featured image from UnsplashKamila Maciejewska