Why do we want to become good at drawing? Why do we want so bad to be incredible at painting even though we know there is a chance that will never happen? Why are we spending so much time trying to grasp what made ancient masters so great at what they did?
Those are questions that haunt me on a daily basis. It has been for a long time and I am consistently trying to find better answers. That is just my obsession, I guess.
But whenever I ask someone why he practices so much, I find it weird that the only answer I get is : “Because I like it” or “I don’t know, I just do it.” It doesn’t feel right enough to me. I can’t help myself to believe things are left unsaid, consciously or not. “Liking it” is ok to describe something you do for fun. But Art is ruthless. Getting to any feeling of satisfaction every day is hard and requires a lot of discipline. You may also love what you feel about great artists and thus would like people to feel the same about you. I do too. But I don’t think this is a strong enough reason to spend so much time doing it. I like cooking a lot and often people congratulate me about it but I don’t want to become a cook. It wouldn’t fulfill me as a career.
When I decided that illustration would be my job, I didn’t do it just because I like drawing or because I like the image of myself it gives to me. I did it because I like what drawing enables me to do.
Drawing gives me a voice. It enables me to speak louder. I can reach people and share ideas, concepts, feelings I’m not able to share through talking to someone. Drawing allows me to make people understand and feel things they didn’t before. Things I did feel and needed to share. I can talk about subjects and themes I couldn’t even imagine having a conversation about IRL. It enables me to take a chance at changing their view of the world. Drawing can help change the world. And THAT is what I really want.
I could very well have become a lobbyist or started a career in politics to do that, but my debating skills are quite poor when facing real people. What I was good at when I was a kid was drawing. And if I am perfectly aware that the direction my life is taking depends a lot of what happened in my childhood and early adulthood, but it can’t be enough to explain it completely.
I believe finding out the deeper reason why you want to become an artist is essential. It is the point of everything. It is your energy source, your drive. The place you’ll come back to whenever something is trying to stop you. The core element that nobody can dismiss. You will give up if you don’t know why you’re doing it. You won’t throw away the majority of your waking hours into drawing if you’re merely “liking it”. It’s gonna get boring fast.
But it is also normal to feel lost when talking about the “why”. Understanding the “why” is not a given. It requires a conscious effort to apprehend something that is naturally blurry and lost among the rest of our feelings and overall perception of the world around us. Getting to the core of why we draw can take years and ends up being a never ending path to an absolute answer that we will never really get to grasp.
My answer to that is to set bigger goals.
You will know a goal is made for you if you can organize your life around reaching things that are further away than usual. You will apprehend faster that endurance is the key. Setting bigger goals and actually making progress towards them is the best way to know if you have what it takes to make it. If you only like drawing for the sake of it, you will be contempt with what you do. You will have a hard time to do what is required to succeed and you will lack the determination to get better fast.
You need to find that determination. Set big goals. Assume the consequences. And start walking towards your goals without any doubt in your mind. And as I just shared my goals, let’s talk about it together. There is no better way to progress than confronting your idea with others. Try and tell me about what you’re trying to achieve through art. I promise our determination will get stronger as we share them with the world.