Making Art

Bringing Art Making Into Your Life

A Drawing a Day for a Year: Done!

On May 11 2015 I cooked up a crazy idea to do tiny drawing every day for a year. I was in Brisbane at the end of April last year and I saw the David Lynch exhibition at the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art.

I love David Lynch’s raw style. It’s really energetic and beautifully imperfect. For some reason I always think of it as red, black and white.


“Paris Industry” by David Lynch 1980

The exhibition included various media, including his films, music, printmaking, painting, construction and drawings. But the  images I liked the best were his tiny drawings done on scraps of paper. Matchbooks, ticket stubs etc.


I discovered how much I enjoyed repetitive patterns.


On my way home to Sydney, waiting at the airport, I came up with the idea that I would do a tiny drawing every day for a year. I guess what I was trying to do, although I only figured this out recently, was to capture some of Lynch’s raw magic. But of course that’s not what happened. I am indeed still myself at the end of the year.


I drew loose and sketchy



And a few nutty abstracts


I am not a bad drawer, but I am always fighting my natural over neatness and control. Every now and then during the year I broke out and went wild, but I found that if anything, drawing so small encouraged my neatness. Maybe what I should do next is one huge messy drawing a week?


I got a bit hooked on this type of pattern.


My daughter said she’d kill me if I started another year long project anytime soon, as she said  I complained too much about this one. And I think in the middle it was true.


The dogs were drawn endlessly.


But by the end of the year it pretty much was ingrained as a habit. I finished it 2 weeks ago and have spent the last 2 weeks  feeling guilty every night that I’m not doing a drawing.


I drew anything at hand: accidental still life scenes, myself, fruit.


I don’t feel like any of the drawings I did were any type of complete piece. They feel more like idea starters and drawing practice and that’s ok. I am someone who makes art every week and jots down ideas including quick sketches very frequently anyway but something about the commitment made it quite different to my regular art practice.

I actually did about 500 tiny drawings so I do feel like it’s had some impact on me.

So what did I actually learn?

  1. a year is along time and every day is very often
  2. don’t bother to avoid the hard bits of any art work [ or presumably anything else] as it will still be there waiting for you
  3. getting out of bed especially to do a drawing because you forgot to do it earlier really sucks: especially if you have had too many drinks
  4. my favourite type of pencil is an Faber Castell, Albrecht Durer, water soluble   pencil in black; smooth, sharpens well, blends well, doesn’t break easily, and is a lovely velvety black
  5. doing detail on tiny drawings  is really good training for fine motor control
  6. sometimes neatness is beautiful, sometimes its a curse.
  7. pattern: there’s a beautiful world of them to invent and explore, which I will be doing on very large paper.
  8. working small encourages neatness

The most important thing I learnt is that doing some art every day, any art, I don’t think it matters what type, keeps your creativity fired up and working quickly. So for me who is working a couple of days a week in a no-art environment and staying home trying to make art on the other days it’s kept me connected to my art.


Forms or lines.


Have you ever had that thing where you have a strong idea of what you really want to do, to achieve, make, bring to life but you have to go and do other things too;? Make money, look after your kids or a sick family member [ obviously these things are incredibly important and you can’t drop them], clean the house. And every time you take your eyes off what it is you are trying to achieve, you get more involved in the other things and it waters down your vision?  Making one tiny thing every day kept me connected to my vision, my goal. It reminded me, every day, of where I am trying to get to.


Just drawing what was right in front of me.


I think it could be achieved in other ways too. Spending  five minutes  every day jotting down an idea for your art/ project. Or  reading about or researching your topic for a little every day. My house is littered with art books, so one thing I have been doing almost everyday since finishing the leap366 is starting to read all these books. Or in fact trying to finish the 5 or 6 books I already had started. I don’t want to give up the little bit of time I was using every night to think about art, to do something pointless.


Quick little outlines.


Your art practice.

The commitment of this project was a way for me to say to myself, ok you are putting time and energy into this now. It’s time. My family is my number 1 priority, but do I have to do everything perfectly? No. Do I have to say yes to everything else asked of me? No. You might have a plan and if you don’t keep your self moving towards it, it can float off into a dream instead of becoming a reality.

Is there something you could do everyday to remind you of your own artistic goals?

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This entry was posted on May 30, 2016 by in Artquest suggestions, Drawing, Inspiration and tagged , , , , , , .
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