Practice Makes Perfect?

{ filed under Freelance, Design }

 You can’t draw (or letter or design or whatever…) you say? Bullshit. You DON’T do these things is most likely the problem.

I see it on Instagram and Dribbble (amongst others) all the time. I know for a fact I have done this many times myself. We see that great piece of work from one of our peers. Let’s not say heroes or gods or whatever “placing upon a pedestal” word we use. I’ve met many of the people I admire and I can assure you they are the same as every one of us. They are peers who are traveling the same roads and face the same challenges we do every day. But one thing separates them from us.


I know, duh. This isn’t anything revelatory. Just a quick post on what I have noticed about myself and from talking to some other creatives over the last few weeks. Everyone keeps asking everyone else what pen, pencil, brush, eraser, paper? What books, what websites? Which is great information to have as good tools can make your day even easier. But you don’t need any of that to do good work. Additionally, I know one thing I have most definitely been guilty of is saying to myself or even to the artists I admire “Wow, I could never do that.” or “I’ll never be [that good], [as good as you].” But that is not really the goal. If it is your goal to be as good as someone else than you need a new goal. You can only be as good as yourself. And what I mean by that is you will always be chasing the carrot if you want to be as good as someone else. You will always be comparing your work to theirs. I have been there and it held me back for too many years.


Make sure you don’t let the quest for the best tool or latest toy replace the fact that all you need to do is take even 15 min a day (or less, or more!) and just draw, just letter, just practice! Pick up a cheap-ass #2 pencil or a Crayola marker and go! Look at your peers work and strive to bring that quality to what you do but sit down and just practice for the goal of improving yourself. Not becoming as good as someone else or perfecting your craft (impossible), but for your own gratification and creative betterment.

If it is your goal to be as good as someone else than you need a new goal. You can only be as good as yourself.

I have spent the last 6 months drawing and lettering almost everyday. Some days just 5 min and some days 4 to 6 to even 8 hours! And the effect has been amazing. I am noticing that I can crack open a sketch book and get down on paper what I am seeing in my head faster and faster all the time. I am starting to see a line style and quality that seems to flow from my hand naturally. I am realizing what my strengths are and adapting to those and practicing to work out my weaknesses.

I have noticed I am more creatively charged, enjoying my days more and sleeping better. When I do work on a client project I find that can get the good ideas down on paper (be it digital or real) and push the bad ideas to the side faster. It has made more productive which makes me happier, gives me more free time (to draw!) and allows me to make even more money (which is nice though not a top-level goal for me anymore).

I have already gone through more brush pens, markers and lead in the last 6 months than the last 20 years of doing this for a living. I find that I used to not be able to work with a cluttered desk. Now papers and pens and markers and paint and ink are strewn about ready for me to grab at a minutes notice and get that idea out right away.

You are not too busy, you can find the time. Close Facebook, Shut down Twitter. Keep a sketchbook and a pencil/pen with you at all times. In a waiting room for an appointment? Draw. Getting the car fixed? Draw. On vacation? Draw! Draw during commercials, draw with your kids! The memories that will create will be priceless and you are showing your kids the value of practice and hard work masked as fun-time with mom or dad. Win-win.

I have noticed I am more creatively charged, enjoying my days more and sleeping better.

Once you set the goal for yourself of just making what you do better, not perfect, but better, then look out because you will be seeing results within minutes. That right there is pure motivation.



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