Yesterday the theme for Artstorm Daily Drawing Contest where I participate on Steemit was “Bad Art” to be interpreted in any way I wanted. Usually the themes are quite specific. For example, the day before was “Cowboys and Cowgirls” but this time we had a lot of interpretation freedom.
I don’t do well (at least at first) when there is no clear assignment what to create. I mean, yes, I do, but my fear tells me I won’t be able to.
So before I started to draw Bad Art, I had no idea what to do with this theme. I actually wrote this as a comment to a fellow Steemian.
But then the time came for me to sit down and draw something. And you know what? A vague idea came to me - I want to draw Cornelius the purple cardinal and Dietrich the mouse drawing each other. Usually they fight so it was a new activity for them.
At first I didn’t know exactly what would they draw or even what would they say to each other. But I started drawing anyway.
I drew the drawing boards first so that the contents would be visible at an angle. Then on the left side I drew Cornelius holding a brush.
“Oh, that’s easy”, I thought. Why don’t I draw Dietrich on the right also holding a brush.
And a palette! They both need a palette with some colors, right?
At this moment the idea came to me of what would they draw - Cornelius would draw a lot of small mice and Dietrich - a lot of small birds. And so I did. And left some white space to show that their drawings aren’t finished yet.
Now there was some empty space in the center of my drawing which asked to be filled in. At that moment I thought I don’t want to draw Pinky and Spiky today and Ausra has just finished drawing Victor the spider doing bad art.
So Betsy the butterfly seemed quite appropriate. She often tries to stop Cornelius and Dietrich when they fight.
As I drew her with her wings spread out she started talking! In my mind I heard how she asked, “What’s this? A crowd of mice and purple cardinals?” So I added this comment in the white space next to her.
Obviously now Cornelius on the left started answering this question: “We’re competing for the largest number of Dietrichs and Corneliuses”.
Now Dietrich on the right had to give a punchline. He said: “I feel the flow.”
Is it funny? I don’t know. Is it surprising? Maybe. Is it perfect? Not at all… But it’s not the point.
My point is that I didn’t have to wait for an exact dialog and set of characters and their actions to appear in front of me before I started drawing. Sometimes it does happen though.
But more often than not, I grab my notebook, a pen, sit down and start drawing the frame. As I do this, gradually I get the idea what to draw next. I start to draw those characters and when I do, they naturally start talking.
Before I know it, I have to stop them because they won’t shut up!
The same free flow strategy works for me when I write, compose or improvise music too.
In one way it resonates with the idea that William Somerset Maugham was talking about when he wrote: “I write only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o'clock sharp.”
I’m not as organized as he was, obviously. But this I know:
Most often inspiration strikes when I sit down to do the work. It’s also what Steven Pressfield talks about in his book “Do the Work”.
Will this idea work for you?