It’s easy to forget, I think, when drawing is your job, that you love it. Even when the book you’ve spent the last 4 years working on is your own pet project, and the only client you really have to answer to is yourself, you still work at it with such militant discipline that it can feel like a daily grind. You might forget to enjoy yourself. You might forget you are doing what you love.
Don’t get me wrong, drawing for a living is serious business. It demands much more than a 9-5, five-days-a-week job and that militant discipline is useful, even essential. Every minute you spend with a pen in your hand has value, and you’re constantly wondering, “Can I blog this? Can I make a zine out of this? Can I sell this as a print? Who will buy it and how much for?” You have to think like that to survive.
And so it’s hard, when drawing is your job, to just draw for drawing’s sake.
This past week I let go. I rested. I took three days where I didn’t draw at all. And then it was all I could do. I spent four hour stretches in the woods, nothing but me, my sketchbook and the birds singing. Time stopped. And for a while, the constant whirring of my mind stopped, too.
They are not my best drawings and, ordinarily, I wouldn’t show them to anyone. I won’t turn them into a zine, or sell them, or even finish them. I think doing so would undermine their importance.
This week I was reminded that it’s OK, no, important, no vital to make time to draw for drawing’s sake. To remember why I draw at all.