Monday, February 13, 2012

Do what it takes..

I teach classes. I teach private lessons. I teach workshops at art stores. I'm about to self-publish my own book on learning to draw. I've got one show hanging up, and another going up in April. I think it might be easy to look at any one of the things I am doing and think that it just happens, or that these things just put themselves together, or the just fall into place. Oftentimes, it's impossible for another person to see what goes on behind the scenes.

I've been working my ass off to get my book done before my demo at Daniel Smith (Bellevue) on the 25th of this month. I spent the better part of the last three days attempting to get a proper cover image. I wanted to do a self portrait for the cover and, as I was attempting them, they just weren't turning out as I wanted. I thought it might take me one afternoon to bust one out. Turns out, it took me almost three whole days of working, and twelve attempts to get something that was satisfactory.

Twelve self portraits. Eleven of them sucked.

Just because I've spent the better part of a decade drawing doesn't mean that it just comes out easy. It's a constant progression towards better, and it is still a lot of work. I think it might be easy to think about how excellence just is. Wrong. Excellence is a lifestyle, and most of the time we only see the end product. We never see the hours and hours that professional athletes have spent training. We never see the years of research, development, and failure that goes into each new product. We never see the months or years of prep work that goes into starting each new business, or each new venture. When people see my show hanging up at Bauhaus in April, they probably won't think that it will have taken me over a full month to put together the show that will hang for a month. As far as they can tell, the work just shows up, and then new work replaces it. 

The point is, it takes work, and failure happens. You just keep going and you keep growing. If you're not willing to put in the work, if you're not willing to learn, and if you're not willing to take a risk, then you'll never accomplish anything. If you don't do what it takes to get that result, you'll never get that result. 

After eleven failed attempts, this is what I came up with. But remember, it took me eleven failed attempts to end up here..

Are you willing to do what it takes?


  1. I am really so interested in your artwork.and i know you from conceptart forum.I hope to see more good stuffs from your site.

  2. Mike -

    Part of the reason I searched out your blog a few months ago and have been enjoying watching your progress is that I was impressed by your passion for the craft. It is no doubt that art is work - our goal is to make it *look* effortless, but anyone who has tried it knows that it is nothing *but* effort.

    I'm so proud that you've put in so much work and are still putting in the work. I remember your stuff on back in the days of their first workshops. I remember meeting you in Austin at the workshop there and how jazzed I was. You've come -so- far since then, and I'm nothing but impressed.

    It's not just talent, or passion, or some excellent understanding of artistic ideals, composition, etc. It's all that - plus the self-discipline to just keep coming back and doing the work. You and Jonathan Hardesty a great example to the rest of us slackers.

    Keep up the good work,


    1. David,

      I have a vague recollection of meeting you, but the heat of the Austin workshop has melted my memories..

      I appreciate you stopping by and leaving some kind feedback. Your encouragement is appreciated. Turns out, the thing that nobody ever tells us (since they're always so focused on results) is that it is all about the journey. Hope you are drawing and doing well, man. I appreciate your kind words!