100 days of monsters
Some friends might know, I started a self-challenging project on Instagram — I will draw one little monster every day for 100 days.
The reason why I wanted to start this project is that I saw a lot of designers on the internet started their own 100-day project, and felt I should be able to do that, too. Despite I had no idea what I can learn from this experience, I decided I’d like to start my own 100-day project.
At the beginning, I naively thought this is just a way of training my determination. However, as the project progresses, I started to notice that there are things I gradually learned; not only those , used to know but also those I didn’t. This article is about the things I’ve learned from this 100-day project.
At the start, I felt like there were ideas full of my brain, like a fully fueled car ready to dash. At that moment, I thought maybe one monster for one day is too less, I could draw those, monsters per day. However, if I decided to change the rule from the very first day, the thing is I would never be able to finish the project. This makes me think of all the moments when I started as a passionate planner but still turned out to fail the plan, which could be the result of being inpatient. In a lot of times in life, when you feel like you full of energy and passion at a start of a plan, the most important thing to remember is to slow down. If you let your energy push you forward slowly, steadily, you will find out you can go a very long distance.
Curiosity is the fuel of Inspiration
While drawing these 100 monsters, I have noticed the time that I’ve spent on each of the monsters. At the beginning, I can finish one in 5 minutes. When the progress went to around 40 monsters, I felt my ideas started to dry out. I need to search for some collections from the past. When it came to the 60th, I found I was running out of my collections. All of the ideas I have to create these works were came from all the cartoons, comics, animations, and novels. Although all of these nerdy habits seems useless, they are like fossil fuels of creativity. I realize the real inspiration is not those collections, but in your deep brain; these collections just speed up the process of finding your inspiration. This process reminds me of being curious about everything. When you started to refuse new things, you are getting old.
“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.” — Douglas MacArthur
When you stop being curious, inspiration would just fade away.
Good works come from a bunch of garbage
In this process of continuous creating stuff, I realize I can’t make all my work a masterpiece; there should be a lot of meh works and very few will make you satisfy. After all, no one can make sure all of the works perfect. Pablo Picasso created around 1800 artworks, but what we can remember might not over 10 pieces. This means success is abnormal; failure is the norm. So when you can keep this statistic in mind, you can easily find out the way to increase the possibility of masterpieces, you need to come up with a bunch of garbage first. When I have this thought in mind, I started to conquer the fear of creating bad works. Although pursuing perfection is what makes a great artist, this can still be an obstacle to making the masterpiece. When you are afraid of failure, you will lose the ticket to success.
Do it for yourself
Creators will often encounter a kind of situation when they start doing their project — if nobody likes my works, I get no motivation to create; No creation, no audiences. It is unless to say that people love their performance to be appreciated. However, you can’t let other people define your work. If your motivation only accounts on others, you won’t have the power to create your work with enough confidence; You won’t be able to control what you want to create in the end and let other people decide your creations. I used to feel really depressed when nobody liked my works on social media and immediately gave up the project just because no one likes them. Then I realize I was wrong about the causality of the whole process. So now, whenever I want to start a project, I’d ask myself: “Are you working for yourself?” Because only when you are doing it for yourself, you can have the reason to keep doing it.
As this project ends, I will start a new 100-day project! Nevertheless I have no idea what would that be, either, I think I have well prepared for the next challenge!