Today’s artwork: kind of a clunky doodle on gessoed cardboard. I’m trying to remember how to draw with a pencil. I used to spend all day for days on end doing pencil drawings for costume illustrations, but I stopped when I quit designing costumes. I’m sure it will come back to me eventually…

A few weeks back, Jill left a post on The Classroom board:

I admit it. I’m afraid. I loved hunting for faces…but now I’m afraid to start drawing/coloring/painting, etc. I just know I’ll ruin them! his is what I always run into — the fear it won’t be good enough, or won’t satisfy me, I guess. I know it’s irrational and unreasonable, but can you help me get over this hump? You’ll probably say “just DO it!!”

Sound familiar? If you’re creative and human, you’ve experienced this fear.

Here’s my reply:

The basic truth about any creative pursuit is that you have to suck at it before you’re any good. In my mind, doing bad art is a good thing—it’s like picking up a violin for the first time, and scratching out a version of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” that would make the dog howl and dive under the bed.

Just like playing the violin, making good art takes practice. I whip stuff out like a machine because I’ve been doing it every day of my life for the last 25 years. Wouldn’t you like to be able to do that? Just shut your brain off, and churn out mountains of art? Yes?

Then you have to ruin a few pages. It’s a small price to pay, really. You just have to make a few things that totally suck. Then you’ll make things that maybe sorta don’t suck. And before long, you’re making things that are brilliant.

Go. Ruin some pages. Doodle on them like a crazy woman. Maybe you’ll like them. Yay! Maybe they’ll be horrible things that should never see the light of day. Yay! That’s why I keep a giant trash can at the end of my work table.

Don’t let fear keep you from turning into the artist you want to be. That would REALLY be horrible.

So there. I’m relearning how to draw with a pencil. One clunky doodle at a time…