INKtober 8 – Managing Expectations

Have you ever talked yourself out of an idea because you felt it couldn’t possibly turn out how you see it in your head?

Here’s what happens. I’ll go to work at a show, telling myself that I can do some drawing during down times. It’s cool having a record of my experience at shows. There’s usually interesting people to see, and at least one interaction would make a good story.

One of the challenges I face when drawing from life, or even designing new illustrations, is facing the fact that I might fail. Or really, just working past my comfort zone and distilling what I see down to what’s necessary. Right now though, I’m talking about drawing from life. Specifically, drawing people from life, out in the world, doing normal people things. While I like people paying attention to me, I hate being noticed, and the world is full of people who might notice me. This makes it difficult to observe and draw people in public.

It’s so easy to form this picture in my head of doing a loose, comfortable drawing in my sketchbook. I see other professionals do it all the time. It’s so easy to imagine, even though it’s totally NOT how I work. So I get to the show, all set up, my little busy work chores are done, I’ve made a sale or two, and there’s a lull. My sketchbook is there, ready for me to do something amazing, funny or insightful. That’s when the anxiety kicks in.

It’s so important to manage expectations, and remind myself what my sketchbook is for. It’s so important to remind myself that I LOVE what I do. Managing my expectations is something that I can have control of.

  • It’s okay if I don’t finish the drawing.
  • It’s okay if I get *gasp* caught.
  • It’s okay if it’s a mess.
  • It’s okay if it’s terrible.
  • It’s okay if the idea is stupid.

Sketchbooks are about the process. A process that I know and love, and in which mistakes should be welcome if they show up to the party. It’s definitely easier to talk myself out of doing things that are difficult. It’s more rewarding to do them anyway, though. In spite of the knot in my stomach.

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