I did that because, to be honest, each approach has its advantages and disadvantages. Which approach is best for you depends on what you want to achieve. And since I don’t know what you want, you should not trust my opinion.
All I can do that could be of value to you is lay out the advantages and disadvantages of each.
I want to split a topic into three for the next three weeks. I want you to think about it first, and then I will argue both sides like there is no tomorrow.
The issue at hand is: should you make things with an audience in mind, or should you make what pleases you?
Because I ran into this just now!
Here’s the dilemma. You might have seen that I am trying to illustrate theater plays. I have even given it a name: I call them toonscripts. The idea is that I add these little avatars of the characters before their lines of dialogue. The idea is to lower the cognitive load of reading these plays. It’s, frankly, a new way of storytelling, decidedly different from novels, graphic novels, film, and theater. And you can tell a lot of story in a short time! And it’s fun!
The problem is, when I put stuff out, crickets.
And that’s fine! Because I thoroughly enjoy it as I am telling the stories!
Ten years from now, I will have this huge body of work I can feel proud of.
And no one else is doing it, so there is no competition! I can tell you that is a load off my shoulders. I don’t have to keep up with the publishing schedules of others, and you don’t have to out-perform the art of others.
I can sincerely say that I am the best toonscripter in the world! Because I am the only one! Ha!
But. You know. Crickets.
Which is fine!
Or is it?
Because we all want an audience, right? We want people to see our work, to enjoy it.
Enter PracticeDrawingThis, which gets much, much more attention. You want to learn to draw, and occasionally, you (hopefully) see some useful bit of information fly by.
Two interesting things happened. First, Google started telling me a few months ago that the most popular pages on my website had to do with three-dimensional things. I have a perspective grid tool that is fun to play with, and I have a 3d rotating box you can use for reference while drawing boxes.
Those are the most popular pages on my website, and they are both about easily constructing things in three dimensions.
The second thing is that I started sharing the slides you see in this letter (I always share everything in this letter!) on Pinterest. And my stuff is gaining traction there.
What is gaining traction there are the older slides where you see things constructed from three-dimensional forms.
Again, about easily constructing things in three dimensions!
So, do I continue making toonscripts no one reads but which are a lot of fun? Or do I focus more on easy construction in three dimensions, which is also fun to do and has a much larger audience?
Making toonscripts gives me the satisfaction of knowing I am trying something no one else is trying. If it does become big, I will have a huge catalog people can dive into. Constructing things from simplified three-dimensional forms is something you can see lots of other people do.
Which would you choose? Would you be willing to live in obscurity if it gave you the best life? Or is life about connecting with other kindred spirits?
Next week, I shall passionately argue that you should, of course, make work for an audience!
And the week after that, I shall passionately argue that you should, of course, do work that makes you happy!
If you feel like drawing, then check out my favorite drawing exercises!
to warm up, slow down, get into the right meditative state, and improve your draftsmanship skills.
to help you improve creating underdrawings, place things in space, practice doing perspective by sight.
Practice drawing from memory to fill your visual bank, ability to memorize, ability to visualize, ability to draw what you see in your imagination and your ability to see what is wrong with your drawings.
If you find it hard to create or maintain a creative habit, you can find some habit-related tips here. Lastly, also make sure you have fun in your sketchbook after the hard practice!