I'd like to say that I'm posting this late on purpose, but the truth is that time got away from me this week. However, there's always a silver lining, so let's take this opportunity to talk about time itself and how it plays a part in the process.
Often I feel like I'm constantly battling time when I sit down to draw or work on a project. I've learned that I prefer to take my time and avoid rushing through an idea, which is at odds with my motivation. Whenever I have an idea in my head, I just want to bang it out and solidify the concept on paper before it escapes. Inevitably, the result is always a pale representation of what a fully realised piece could be; kind of like a (bad) storyboard compared with the final product.
It becomes a battle of balance between the amount of time I am willing to put into an idea, and how long it would actually take to realise the thought completely. Most of the time, a quick doodle doesn't do the idea justice and it leaves me with a pang of disappointment and slightly lowered esteem.
This isn't a breakthrough for creative people - ask any creative how they often feel about their work and one of the common themes is the thought that they could always improve. Even when you're confident in your ability and skill, there's always an open door for doubt and a push to improve on 'good enough'.
I'm constantly fighting time to create something with minimal doubt and waste. The greatest example of this is whenever I've done life drawing classes with a live model. Typically the model will pose for a short time (about 20 minutes perhaps) then change position for their own comfort and to provide a new pose to draw. It's fabulous practice and I would always recommend life drawing to anyone hoping to improve their skills, but I always find it stressful as it's literally a race against time. On each pose the clock is ticking and if you don't get something completed before time runs out, you lose that composition forever.
In a perfect world, I would love to have as much time as I needed for each and every piece. When I've had this luxury, I've always managed to create something better than I could under pressure. Just have a look at some of the better images in my portfolio to see the difference.
For the most part, I feel as though the pressure of time is surely decreases as your skill level rises, and practice is the only cure. It's why I wanted to give myself the deadline of this weekly blog post that needs some drawings to go along with the words.
You may have noticed that the drawings I've included in this week's post have a year next to my initials. They're all a few years old and I found them while flipping through a sketch book I filled up around that time. I've included them in here as it felt reasonable to do so for a belated post musing about time vs creativity.
Once upon a time I might have beat myself up about not fulfilling this deadline and having to show at the end of the week, but I've learned not to be so hard on myself. After all, there are life and work reasons as to why I wasn't able to focus on random drawings, and at the end of the day, those are more important.
It's easy to feel guilty when you're not creating something or your focus is elsewhere. Sometimes all I want to do is zone out with a game or watch reality television because I've had a long day of work and simple escapism is super appealing. This isn't a new thing for most people, but sometimes the creative folks I know (including myself) will feel guilty for not working on their craft every free moment they have.
There's no doubt that the more you work on something, the more you will improve. It would be nice to be able to focus on drawing all day and night, but we all need to live a life as well. Balancing time can be difficult for everyone and is often precarious for many, so it's only adding insult to injury if you cut yourself down for not firing on all cylinders every minute of the day.
The important thing is to be persistent and consistent with whatever it is you wish to improve. It's partly why I'm writing this blog at all, because I like the process of writing and forming ideas into sentences. In the same way, I like converting images in my head to images on paper, or canvas, or whatever medium takes my fancy. Hopefully someday I will have consistently practiced both of these things to have improved on where I'm at today.
Any time spent on creative pursuits right now, is time saved in the future when you have developed the skills to perform more efficiently and effectively.
So here's to a belated post for this week's sketchbook, and a round of applause for anyone attempting to balance time to a productive ratio. Sometimes we all need to be reminded that time is precious, but life can be a demanding distraction from creative endeavours. At the end of the day, any time spent on creative development is definitely time spent well.