It started as a way to hold myself accountable.
For two months, I'd been so busy developing print ads for clients in the outdoor industry, art directing photo shoots, hitting deadlines and running my business that I wasn't creating anything. Nothing. I hadn't picked up a paintbrush or a pencil in two months.
As an artist, that's a bad place to be. I've always prided myself on improvement. Not on perfection — only on improvement. To develop any skill as a professional, or life in general, it takes time, discipline, dedication and patience. I bet Michael Jordan never went two months without touching a basketball (even his his baseball days). Peyton Manning probably never went two hours without touching a football. And even though their salaries have waaaaay more zeroes than mine, the principle is the same. If you're going to be great, you have to put in the time.
And I wasn't.
I remember a sermon years ago by Andy Stanley talking about time. The principle was this: the truly important arenas in life are worth devoting yourself to in small increments, every day. Want a good relationship with your family? Spend time with them every day. You can't skip out on family dinners for a month and then take them on a 6 hour buffet binge to make up for weeks of your absence. You can't neglect your health for a year, then show up at the gym for a 19 hour CrossFit marathon and walk out with abs. You can't avoid saving for retirement and then work 85 hours a week when you're 65 to catch up. Want to learn a diaphragm call? Pop that thing in your mouth every day for 10 minutes on your commute to work and eventually you'll get it. You can't learn it watching 46 YouTube videos the day before the spring opener.
The interesting thing is that this does not apply to things in life that don't really matter (You can get on Facebook and pretty much catch up any time - you didn't miss anything). However, in the arenas of life that are truly important to you, you're better off giving them a small amount of time every day rather than letting them go for months and playing catchup.
So I picked up a pencil, and I drew a deer.
I posted it on Instagram, and decided to do this regularly. That way, even if I was slammed with client work all day, at least I'd create something. Every day, I'd bring a wild animal to life on paper, even if I wasn't doing it on canvas. That was the beginning of my #SketchDaily.
Since then, I've come to enjoy it. Most of them are done at 9 pm after Rhett is in bed, I've hit the gym, Kim and I have caught up on the day and I have an ice cold Yeti Rambler at my side. I don't sell them. I don't do anything significant with them. I don't really even critique them. I just pull up a reference photo, enjoy the process of sketching it, snap a pic with my phone and post it on social media.
More important than anything though, I've improved. I've felt that my ability to analyze shape, line and form has become more intuitive. I've returned to the fundamentals, and in the process, rediscovered the joy of bringing an animal to life. I've learned to appreciate the simple beauty of their anatomy, their postures and their poses.
Wildlife present the most incredible subjects I could ever devote my career to, and I look forward to sharing more of them with you each day. Here's a collection of my most popular #SketchDaily works, as well as s few of my personal favorites. Hope you enjoy them. They truly are #WildlyOriginal.
Wanna see the full collection as it develops? Follow me on Instagram