I realize it’s happening to all of us. And maybe that’s why I feel like it’s important to write about it. Just in case you’re tired of hearing about the corona virus though, I’ve put it in a quote box so you can just skip it.
This isn’t the end of the world. This isn’t a vacation either. This sucks, but we’re not alone. I’m hearing a variation of this story from so many of my friends, from the community, and from the world. “I went to bed on Thursday making jokes about Tommy Lee Jones and monkeys at the airport. By Saturday I was seriously questioning letting my daughter go to a birthday party. By Monday, the kids and I had been in the house a full twenty-four hours, watched the entire series of Voltron, recieved emails about shows, events and museums closing. Tuesday I had my first design job cancelled because the event wasn’t happening anymore. People are good naturedly asking what we’re all doing to take care of ourselves, and offering ways to stay connected. Wednesday, I left the house with the girls to walk in the park. The world hadn’t ended. People were still doing people things. We went to the store to get a couple of things, and it was weird…somber. Thursday, another job cancelled so I call my biggest client and chat with them for a bit. Things are going to be slow and tight for at least a month. The baseball and soccer leagues will reassess their tournament schedule in mid-April. Are my allergies acting up? Was that cough, just a regular cough? Am I going to be a zombie by morning?” Remember that it’s not a movie. Facebook is an echo chamber. Get some fresh air and exercise. Things will get back to normal. You are loved and important and worth taking care of.
My friend Sally shared this link with me this morning containing resources for artists during this time. I’m thankful to be a part of a community that bands together and helps each other out like this.
Is this an opportunity?
I started writing this post last Thursday, and it was going to just be about the 100 Days Project. Two things happened between then and now. The first, we already talked about, and I’m wondering if this isn’t an opportunity to pivot, in the same way as a lay-off would be. Neither situation is something that I would wish on anyone, but there’s something to be said for having a moment of space that you neither expected, nor had a choice in. We have space to try new things. We have space to introduce new people to new ideas…or just to us.
The second thing is a realization I had when I was working on a drawing for work…well actually one of a series of several drawings. I realized that I don’t like the way I draw. I guess I should qualify that, and luckily I’ve had a few days to suss out where my head’s at, there. When I’m drawing for work, I do a rough drawing. Then I draw over it to firm up the lines and commit to decisions. Then I ink it with a thin pen, followed by a fat pen, followed by a combination of medium and thin pens…When it’s all done, I’ve done a drawing that I may or may not be happy with five…six times? And I do it because drawing this was feels safe. The problem is that it also looks safe. Not bad, but safe. And when I compare it to what I’m doing in my sketchbook, or in my personal projects both the journey and destination end up feeling uninspiring.
One of the things that I’m using the end of the world to do is is rebuild my portfolio, doing work that I want to do and the way that I want to do it. Let’s hope that that plan doesn’t work out like this guy…
The 100 Day Project
The 100 Day project is a free art project that takes place online. The idea is simple: choose a project, do it every day for 100 days, and share your process on Instagram with the hashtag #The100DayProject. It starts April 07, and is something that I’ve tried before with varying levels of success.
Thinking about how I wanted to approach it this year, I came up with several different options.
- a drawing a day for 100 days, spending between ten and twenty minutes per drawing. (I did this the year before last and made it further than I ever had before, and learned a lot about myself in the process}
- One single huge project, documented daily for 100 days
- fourteen weekly projects
- three monthly projects or three sets of thirty or so drawings that all go together
- some combination of the three
It was really fun thinking of the possibilities each of these options presented me with. I love planning projects, it’s where my star shines. And the 100 day project is a great place to do that, and then also to flex and strengthen my maintenance muscle which sorely needs the workout.
My project is inspired partly by this kitchen, and partly by my friend’s Maris Wicks and Lucy Bellwood who continually inspire and delight me with their love of the everyday. It was inspired partly by my last post, as I looked through the artists that have been with me for the better part of my life and how I’m similar and totally different from them. And it was inspired partly by the book Unseen City by Nathaniel Johnson about a dad becoming an urban naturalist as he tried to answer questions his daughter had about the world around her. The project is called Good Stewards, and would be a story about a family asking questions, finding answers, and making changes in their lives to impact the world. I’ll break it up by starting the week with three, twenty minute drawing sessions exploring the style of each character, their look and posture. then spend the next four days doing a larger illustration of them in the world. So I should have ten illustrations and thirty character drawings at the end of the 100 days to pitch the final project and say “this is the kind of work I really wish I was doing”
I hope you’re safe, and keeping in touch with your loved ones and especially with yourselves. Until next time, take care and be good.