Progress Report: Still Drawing, Work Schedule Be Damned

Recently I posted a list of ideas for keeping up a sketch habit while working full time.  It's been over a month and I'm doing ok, but there are still lessons to be learned and improvements to be made. What's working:

  • Abandoning large project commitments. I need to be opportunistic & flexible about what I'm drawing and where.  It's hard enough to find time for a quick sketch, but anything more than that would be an unmanageable burden.
  • Waking up early for morning sketch time. By evening, my ability to focus is absolutely shot.  Morning works better, though there are some challenges there as well. Not the least of which is that I always want an extra hour of sleep almost as much as I want to draw.
  • Making an ongoing commitment that requires drawing. I'm enjoying NaNoDrawMo and it's getting me to draw weird things at any spare moment.  I'm also working on images for use in reviews at the Pen Addict.
  • Keeping a small sketchpad & good pen on the desk at work. Yes I could draw in my steno notebook, but having a sketchbook and a decent pen at hand is more of an active reminder and inspiration.  If I'm sitting there waiting for something to print, sometimes I'll pick up the pen.
  • Scheduling weekend social sketching. The weekend is busy, but it feels like a great relief to head out and spend much of the day drawing with the SketchCrawl gang.  That time is unassailable, the only time when I can get really into drawing without being aware that I should be doing dishes or hurrying out the door to work.  Being with other artists also does a lot to keep me motivated. When there is no sketchcrawl scheduled, I sometimes go to a figure drawing session at Hipbone Studio for the same reasons.

What Isn't Working:

  • Too many structures. For this month alone, I am working on NaNoDrawMo in addition to writing pen reviews.  Unfortunately, there's only one time slot to work on these things each day.  There's a fine line between keeping busy and getting stressed out.  I'm glad my normal routine includes only the pen reviews, leaving additional time to play.
  • Holding to Themes. I really need to draw whatever is in front of me or inspiring me, at that moment I have, for as long as I have.  I tried to focus on the Soft Scientist and immediately got bogged down, because my ideas for the illustrations are too time-consuming and I can't really work on these while I'm waiting for a bus.  I thought holding to themes would free me up from a lot of time spent trying to decide what to draw, but it ended up feeling like a hassle.  Themes would work better around a more flexible work schedule.

Overall, I'm doing well, though still feeling that I'm burning too many hours at night watching streaming TV, too brain fried to commence a drawing.  Relaxation is good and necessary, but... do I really need that much of it?  How could I get my focus back after work?  During The Month In Comics project, I made some comics happen after work, but that was after a shorter work day.

This will require further experimentation.