A strange shift
I am a creature of habit. I get out of bed at 5:30 am every day, even the weekends. This might sound extreme, but if you listen to your body, your body will tell you. I get tired every day around 9:30 pm, and at 10:30 pm I can’t keep my eyes open. On days where I rest well, I even wake up a couple of minutes before the alarm. Sometimes I wonder if I need that alarm at all. I have no intention to join the 5am club (founded by Robin Sharma) as 5:30 is close enough, and has been for years.
I have explained a couple of times that my most creative hours happen after meditation, around 6 am in the morning. Strangely enough my focus is clear in the morning and I can go into full concentration mode easily. That is why I do my drawing in this golden hour where the family is still asleep. For the longest time that was OK, as my drawing has to be done at 7 am, I get rewarded with a nice boost of confidence and off I go to tackle the day’s responsibilities. There was simply no more time to dwell on it, as regular life demands attention.
This creative morning routine works because drawing on a laptop (with drawing tablet) or with pen or paper, is best done at a desk (for me at least). So that is confined at a certain spot in the house, and therefor those creative projects are more likely to have fixed times.
The shift in my habit and routine is caused by the new device in the creative set of tools. My (regular) tablet. And it is a device that does not require me to be confined to a desk, it allows to be used easier outside my fixed window or environment, it offers more mobility that paper plus pens or a laptop have not. It is just cumbersome to drag along gear to exploit the 15 minutes of drawing time I can have, where I can have it. Sure a drawing pad and pencil will work, but most of my drawings don’t end there.
When I grab my tablet, more often than not the same drawing I was working on earlier is still staring me in the face. Begging me to continue, it demands some “us” time as the perfectionist in me can always see minor improvements. As a result of this ease of access, I finished today’s prompt early (yesterday around 6 pm) and revisited it three times in the evening, to touch it up, fiddle with it. I was so involved that I would have continued drawing whilst driving if I had that ability. Luckily there are more strict laws that prohibit holding digital devices in traffic.
It is a new found creative freedom which makes it easier to continue with a piece of work, or an idea / joke or comic which is forming in my head, I can iterate on it until I am either satisfied or bored with it. Multiple concept drawings can live on this digital device at the same time, and small doodles can turn into greater drawings by revisiting them. Digital technology for the win!
But it felt a bit like cheating. It pushes my drawing hours away from my creative hours in the morning. This is not bad, as I draw more, utilize time in a waiting room by actually doing fun things. But I have to refocus this balance when it comes to other responsibilities. Some tasks need to be done on a day, and the easier availability to continue on creative work, calls upon maintaining a stronger discipline to put my tablet down when other work is way more boring but far more important. It also conflicts with ambitions. I wanted to use pen and ink, and watercolor more often and being “sucked” in this easy digital medium makes me fear I will do less of that, as available time on my day is scattered, and if I can start my daily sketch digitally at a coffee break at work, it will most likely end as a digital drawing.
I am looking into setting goals for 2019. One of my goals is to at least grow more using traditional media, like watercolor and pen and paper. I got new brushes to try out, and two books that will help me to grow. I just have to be mindful to arrange time to actually advance on those areas and not let the daily grind dominate which creative medium I choose to get my daily fix quicker.
For now, I will just utilize this new found freedom to master drawing on my tablet, so that at least I have this medium to work on if other media aren’t an option.