Every morning I almost jump out of bed with the anticipation of having a wonderful day full of playing my art game.
The rules of my art game, like most fun games, are simple and easy to understand. It only takes hard work and patience, but when you love the game it doesn’t even feel like work.
Here are the (suggested) “Rules” of my art game.
#1: Energy. There are not many art books I’ve read, or artists I’ve heard that have spoken about the importance of their energy when creating. Or doing anything for that matter. Making sure that I have more than enough sleep, daily exercise, daily meditation and a healthy diet allows me to show up at my easel with the most positive attitude possible. Then I take all that energy and focus it on my art.
#2: Focus. I’ve been made fun of several times when painting and drawing at life drawing classes with other artists because my materials are neat, clean and always in the same place. Without order I can’t bring the focus and intensity into my work.
I don’t have to search for the right pencil, brush or paint color and break the concentration on what I’m doing. I’ve eliminated all that distraction because painting and drawing is hard. I don’t need to make it harder by dividing my focus.
A mind distracted by clutter and disorganization in an unfocused mind.
#3: Schedule it. Carving out time in our day for what is important to us is essential. If you schedule your art time, not only are you more likely to do it daily but you will do it longer and with greater focus.
Don’t wait until the end of the day to decide that you might as well do some art because there is nothing left on the TV to watch. Turn off the TV, get off of social media and make the time, the earlier in the day the better.
#3: Make it fun. Making our creative time enjoyable is one of the most important things we can do to keep us working for years on end. If it was pure drudgery we couldn’t bring the excitement and energy to our artwork that allows us to make something great. Longevity practicing the craft is the most consistent predictor of great artists.
Currently my art day is broken up into several practices and every single one is enjoyable to me. About half of my art day is devoted to practice and learning with lessons from Nicolaides, Steve Huston and Drawabox.com. The other half of my day is dedicated to performance with the Fandom Fitness drawing or my daily compositions.
Always adding some type of work that has a larger goal, something beyond just practice, regardless of skill level is paramount in keeping art motivating and fun. Don’t wait until you have the skills to begin creating your own idiosyncratic vision, because it’s through these emotional performances that will lead you to the techniques you need to require to communicate your ideas.
#4: Research. This is a great source of motivation for me. Because I don’t mean research like spending hours in a dusty old library reading, although my collection of art books is getting larger. I’m collecting books for their wisdom and I enjoy devouring their information and drilling it deep into my long term memory though practice.
But also my bookmarks of great websites is getting longer. My history on YouTube is full of interesting videos by artists and creators. Most importantly, my list of connections to other artists and creators is growing and I try to stay in contact with other creators over Zoom calls and email.
This is my art game. To me I’m having so much fun that I can’t really call it anything different. Because the secret to working hard is making what you do so much fun that it’s not like work at all.
So how can you make your art practice a game today?
Warm-up and DrawABox exercises
This is my 15 minute warm-up and dexterity practice.
I’ve started the 250 box challenge from drawabox.com and I’m excited to work on it daily!
Steve Huston Long Axis Exercise
This is all about seeing the long axis gesture line on all the major body parts.
One Minute Gestures
I had a tough time with these gestures today. I couldn’t seem to get the figures down quickly and easily.
Daily Composition and Daily Sketch
A sketch of weights sitting on my floor in the office. Then I drew a young person looking pretty sad sitting on their lawn.
What went well?
Awesome morning of practice in my art game.
What needs work?
Focus during my art posts.
What did I learn?
Learning to estimate perspective well with lots of box drawings.