I never claimed to be an artist, some people have said I am, but I’ve never felt particularly arty. Maybe some of that is because I see other people who can whoosh down to a canvas and create an amazing painting or careen over to a piece of paper and write a story that captivates. But I enjoy doing art, and I enjoy the feeling of being involved in something arty. Problem is, there’s this life thing that interferes, like constantly. So, what’s a person to do when they want to art, don’t have time to art, have a family, a job, a cat who wants you to know they really ought to be fed on a constant basis, and need to do sundry self-care things like eating food, bathing, etc? Well, I don’t know what YOU should do, but I know what I tried.
I got my first idea back in September 2017. Some of my friends are comic artists and other artists. They were gearing up for Inktober. For those who don’t know, Inktober (inktober.com) was started in 2009 by Jake Parker. It is a challenge where you make an ink drawing for each day in October using a prompt list. Prompts for 2017 included words like divided, ship, squeak, and crooked. I decided to give Inktober a try, but I would do a 2-3 minute sketch rather than trying to do some big art thing. And I would try to do whatever came to mind and most importantly, try to have fun with it. My drawings ranged from super quick sketches to more complicated drawings (days when I actually had 10 or so minutes to spare).
And I did it! I got behind a couple times, but was able to catch up. I did a little art almost every single day of October and it felt really good!
As October was coming to an end, I realized I didn’t want to stop, but I also didn’t want to keep doing the same thing. November is NaNoWriMo (nanowrimo.org) which stands for National Novel Writing Month. It’s a challenge every November where you can sign up and try to write a 50,000 word novel in that month. I did do it one year, but knew there was no way I would be able to this year (see above explanation about the busyness of my life!). So, I decided to start a different thing using the art of writing this time. I created a list of prompts for each day in November and started #TinyWriter.
For every day in November, I wrote a 2-3 sentence fiction story. Some were better than others, but I was still arting! Every day! It felt amazing. Here are a few examples:
#TinyWriter Nov 1 “Pants”
It turns out it was the pants. I never thought pants could do something like that, but they could. So, I put them on, felt super happy in them, and walked out the door into a new life.
#TinyWriter Nov 15 “Moon”
“It’s my favorite, the moon” they said dreamily, “so beautiful and round and powerful. The moon gives me power.”
“It does? I just kind of look at it sometimes, but I never cared much about it.”
“Well, no one’s perfect, my friend,” they said gazily at the moony, “no one’s perfect.”
#TinyWriter Nov 24 “Dragon”
“You look like you’re draggin’ ha! Am I right?”
“Really? You know I could actually eat you, don’t you?”
“Pfff, you won’t eat me, you’re totally a vegetarian dragon.”
*Sigh* “I know”
You get the idea. It was a lot of fun! I didn’t do anything formal for the months after that, but I have continued with a monthly art theme. In December, I decided to learn how to do woodburning and woodburned ornaments for family and friends for the holidays. I decided to focus on coloring in my coloring books in January. For February, I have been working through a therapeutic coloring book I have that has exercises to help with survival (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/582580124/seven-strengths-a-coloring-book-for-resiliency).
I have been really proud of being so arty, for a person who never felt like much of an artist. And doing something simple has made it easy to stick with it. So, how about it? Want to join me?