I played rugby a lifetime ago, and a senior team was short one player. They asked me to join.
I noticed an interesting thing happening as we played.
The team captain directs the team; in this case, he gave feedback to fellow players, pointing out things they were doing wrong.
And then he proceeded to make the same mistakes!
I don’t know if he was aware of it, but that’s not the point. He was making the same mistakes he saw others making, while he could not prevent himself from making the same mistakes.
This week, I threw the social media apps off my phone and iPad as I was distracted by them.
You see, my whole Practice Drawing This project is about tips—for myself and for you—on how to make the most of your free time and be creative as much as possible.
And yet, here I am, wasting time on social media.
Social media is incredibly useful. Of course, you find the occasional gold nugget in there, which is why we keep returning.
I have discovered artists, learned about their art creation processes and learned invaluable lessons. If it weren’t for social media, I wouldn’t have known about Kim Jung Gi, Tom Fox, Peter Han, Marshall Vandruff, Alexander Steenhorst, and Gabriel Rodriguez. I have learned a lot from them, things I don’t think I could have learned anywhere else. These are things I haven’t found in books.
I wouldn’t have been the artist I am now without that. My current art creation process is mainly informed by what I learned from them!
To internalize these lessons and improve in the direction I want to go, I have to shut down the endless feed of information from social media. These platforms were designed to be addictive, and it is keeping me away from drawing.
Here I am, giving tips on building great habits on how artists should be careful about the information they consume , telling you all that while making the mistake of not eating my own dog food.
So during my Weekly Reset this weekend , I decided to remove all social media apps from my phone and iPad. I also made a private web page with photos I took myself, which I want to use for practicing drawing from memory. That way, each time I feel the urge to grab my phone, that is fine; there is an icon there on the home screen I can tap that brings me to the photo reference I want to memorize. Let me study those instead of mindlessly perusing social media.
As I suggested in my Input Is Output article , I curate what I watch. YouTube is the only thing I left on there because I enjoy listening to videos while drawing, but I unsubscribed from any channel that doesn’t show an artist drawing. I want to see artists drawing. I notice things they do, I learn from them, and it inspires me to start drawing.
I wrote elsewhere about designing your workspace ; it is incredibly powerful and a great way to improve your productivity.
I will still be writing articles like this one, and I will still be filming myself drawing because these are enjoyable activities. I get dopamine rushes from completing these, and I can see I get better at these over time.
Note to self: look at the advice you give others, and see if it perhaps also applies to you!
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!