These Are Your Art Resolutions For the New Year
At the very least, they’ll be mine, but you may find value in them as well.
Don’t Put Your Sketchbook on a Pedestal
“You know what your problem is? You’re putting the pussy on a pedestal.”
— Dad at Health Clinic in The 40-Year-Old Virgin
It’ll keep you from getting laid and it’ll keep your sketchbook empty, so let’s talk about how you should approach it instead.
And I’m only talking about the sketchbook here, you’re on your own regarding dating and sex advice.
The goal of your sketchbook should not be to impress anyone. YouTube sketchbook sharing would have you believe otherwise. Disregard that. Your goal is to simply improve.
Besides, you’ll only see what people want you to see on social media. They probably have another place they do their dirty work. I’ve heard tell of people that keep multiple sketchbooks: one for practice, one for study, and one for showing off.
Your sketchbook is only for you, a place where you can be your authentic self.
You can use it to draw, paint, sketch, prototype, take notes, or narrow down ideas. There’s no limit. It’s your place of freedom, to explore.
The work in your sketchbook is not meant to be portfolio ready. If you think it should be you’re limiting how you’re willing to express yourself in it and you will therefore use it less often.
Them’s the breaks.
Ultimately, when you’ve filled up your whole sketchbook, you’re gonna be so proud that it won’t matter how shit it is.
Make Time For Your Art
“Instead of saying “I don’t have time” try saying “it’s not a priority,” and see how that feels.”
— Laura Vanderkam
Put the coffee on, people. It might be an early morning or a late night.
Either way, you’ve gotta set up a 1-2 hour window that’s completely your own, where you can focus on your art stuff. With no interruptions.
How many days a week you set aside depends entirely upon your art goals:
- If you’re starting an art business you should probably schedule as many days a week as you can to practice your skills that pay the bills.
- If it’s a hobby you could aim for once a week of pure creative bliss.
- And if you just want to get better at drawing dicks on things you might need all 7 days of the week. Yep, that sounds about right.
Additionally, Do What You Can When You Can
“If a window of opportunity appears, don’t pull down the shade.”
— Tom Peters
You artists are experts at coming up with 1000’s of excuses for why you can’t make art.
I should know, I’m one of you!
Why do you think I’m writing right now instead of drawing?
As I research this article at 4:30 am, my 11 month old son is sitting on my lap half asleep. I imagine it will be much later in the day by the time the final writing is actually complete.
That won’t stop me from getting it in throughout the day, in fragments, and nothing should be able to stop you.
If you really feel like you don’t have enough time, you might need to audit how you’re spending it every day to see if there’s something you can cut back on, like screen time.
Set Yourself Up For Success:
Bring a sketchbook with you everywhere you go, but do yourself a favor and don’t be ridiculous about it. Make it a manageable size, like 8.5" x 5" and only bring one pen or pencil along, not your whole kit.
Then, you can sketch whenever you have a free minute, which will make you feel tons better if something comes up that derails your scheduled art time.
Shamelessly Promote Your Art
“Yes! It’s about me! Okay, because it’s never about me and I’m finally making it about me.”
— Fiona Gallagher, Shameless
Look, you’re going to have to work if you want people to care.
In most cases you’re going to need to provide some sort of value. It’s up to you to figure out what that value is.
Sometimes artists think marketing is a dirty word,
but it’s not. These days, promotion is part of the art.
It’s definitely a complicated subject where nobody has all the answers, and trial and error is the best teacher.
You should make a habit of reading books on art and marketing. Plus you can take online courses and get training in areas you need help. Invest in yourself.
It’s also important to make this distinction:
Shamelessly promoting your art does not mean endlessly promoting your art.
Make sure to give value more often than you ask for something. For more on that you can read Gary Vaynerchuk’s “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook.”
Nothing is worse than the guy that constantly spams the links to his online store like he’s giving out free pizza.
One more point that might be overlooked:
Make yourself a business card of your own design, so you can hand it out when the opportunity presents itself. Be prepared to take advantage of any opportunities that arise.
Basically, what I’m trying to say is that you should strive to promote your art without shame when the time is right.
Now, You Need to Commit
“It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through.”
— Zig Ziglar
Okay, I know It’s Scary, So I Made It Easy For You
Repeat after me:
I, (your name), promise to never put my sketchbook on a pedestal. I will make time for my art, and do what I can when I can. When the time is right I will promote my art without shame.
______________ Sign ______ Date