Doodle Days

Alternate Titles:

  1. The Importance of Doodling
  2. Keep Your Pimp Art Hand Strong
  3. Mama Got A Brand New Set of Pens
  4. Remember Why You Started Doing What You Love
  5. Back to Basics

When you start working on making your dreams a reality, it’s quite thrilling. There’s a rush of excitement when you acknowledge, “Hey, I think I can do this!” Your heart dances, your optimism is untouchable. Your friends will ask you why you’re so happy.

Then, the reality sets in. Time for the hard work. This is what separates the girls from the women, boys from the men, cool cats from the other cats. Because anyone can say, “I want to be a designer/comedian/firefighter/Steve Jobs” when I grow up — but not everyone puts in the work.

from "Steal Like An Artist" by Austin Cleon

from “Steal Like An Artist” by Austin Kleon

This post is not about the need to work hard. You know that, I know that. The idea of today’s post is about what happens when the going gets rough. When you’re climbing the massive mountain that stands between a n00b and a skilled expert.

As I’m studying graphic design right now, I definitely feel like that. Like Ira Glass says, “For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not.” There’s the software learning curve, developing the eye for quality typography, learning to think critically about visual communication. Sometimes, you make stuff that sucks and you question whether on the right path.

My coffee shop doodle. Inspired by the art of Johanna Basford.

My coffee shop doodle. Inspired by the art of Johanna Basford.

When that happens, get back to basics. Remind yourself why you got into it in the first place. It was for the love of it.

  1. Go to a coffee shop.
  2. Pick up your pen.
  3. Doodle. Doodle hard, my friend.
  4. Listen to Jack Johnson, because his music’s real good for these moments of pure self-love. (Side Note: He’s awesome. Haters gon’ hate).

Whatever the equivalent to doodling is in your life — do it. Write for yourself because you love it, play soccer with your friends because you love it, play guitar on your roof because you love it, volunteer just to be around animals because you love it.

When you get to that point where stress is overtaking the connection you have with yourself, get back to basics. Value what you were born with to appreciate what’s ahead.

Take time to find the joy in it again. Then the mountain won’t seem so daunting, because you’ll have fun again, and that’s the point of life, really.

When you need some more confirmation of whether you’re following the right path, take solace in the fact that Glass wasn’t born a killer NPR stunna. In the closing remarks of the wisdom he drops: “It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

Stay fighting the good fight, friends.


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