arrow-right cart chevron-down chevron-left chevron-right chevron-up close menu minus play plus search share user email pinterest facebook instagram snapchat tumblr twitter vimeo youtube subscribe dogecoin dwolla forbrugsforeningen litecoin amazon_payments american_express bitcoin cirrus discover fancy interac jcb master paypal stripe visa diners_club dankort maestro trash

Studio Updates

Studio Update: It Doesn't Matter If It's Good Just Keep Doing It

Studio Update: It Doesn't Matter If It's Good Just Keep Doing It

by Callie Garp

December 14, 2023

Well, shit, I just realized as I sat down this morning to start writing this studio update that I broke my streak of monthly writing. Oh dear. I meant to write a studio update for November, I really did. It's funny how as a the drastically dwindling light each day makes me acutely aware of the passing of time, my own busy schedule simultaneously keeps me going and going, bits and pieces perhaps artificially unaware until here it is, December and I am finally writing this blog post.

How do you mark the passing of time, especially in the winter months? It just occurred to me this morning that the holidays and life events my therapist keeps encouraging me to find ways to celebrate is how we build safety and stability in our lives. This isn't a new idea, so maybe it just struck me in a different way. Markers of time. Markers of family and community. Rituals. A Swedish candelabra sits in my living room window. The warm glow and deep red of the wood identical to the candelabras of my childhood. A scandi tradition that reminds me that in the darkest time of the year, we celebrate light.

In some ways, I think that is what I have been trying to do in my sketchbook this past month; celebrating the lighter hearted moments of life, trauma recovery, therapy. I love these silly emotional birds. This project is about the warm glow of a silly joke around an actually heavy topic [mental health].

I get to play around with as many different materials as I want, explore how they layer on top of each other and with a wink and a nod craft something funny and also true to my own life. I'm really loving how quickly most of these bird drawings come together! I find it so funny how sometimes a drawing reminds me that I am actually pretty good at this art making thing, and sometimes it reminds me that it doesn't matter one bit if the drawing is good or not because, either way, I am making some kind of art in my sketchbook. Tomorrow I will be making another one. The simple act of doing a thing over and over again, in this case drawing birds, tends to result in some kind of improvement. While I do see progression in the technical execution in some of my drawing skills, there are different kinds of improvements in my sketchbook as well. More room for play. More room for wonky and therefore more expressive marks. More figuring things out, taking risks, not worrying nearly so much if something I make will be "good" or "worth while" or if anyone else in the  entire world will like it. After all, it's just a drawing in my sketchbook, and I find that reassuring and so much safer for exploration than the formality of my iPad where my digital illustrations take form. 

This unassuming sketchbook, which isn't actually a sketchbook at all but a writing journal I picked up at a clearance sale over a year ago, might just be the gateway drug to loving art again. Well, loving all art again. Even the ugly art or the "not good" art. Loving the making of art. No matter what. 

So, this daily practice of working in my sketchbook feels like a really important marker of the passage of time. Maybe that it why I feel so compelled to try to finish the sketchbook before the end of the year. It's deeply satisfying to flip through the crinkly pages, to look through all the things I have created since I started this sketchbook in early autumn. It feels like a physical manifestation of this time. Time spent drawing, time spent living, time spent healing. Here is a record, and it's different from my journals, with their scrawled words of emotion and dreams. These are images and I am still evolving in my relationships with them. I love the experience of that, and I think it's an aspect of art making I have been mourning ever since I started making digital art to the exclusion of traditional media. I'm so grateful to have it back in my life.

I don't know if I will finish this sketchbook by the end of the month. It's alright if I don't. But, what a beautiful tool I have made for myself. I hope you are finding those markers of time, those celebrations of life, and you too, keep doing them even if they don't make sense to anyone else.


What I've been reading: This Is Your Mind On Plants, Michael Pollan and Dune Messiah, Frank Herbert

What I've been listening to: Winterlude

What I've been watching: DIY Danie


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

Shopping Cart