How do you deepen your practice (skills)?

I have to tell ya, I’m a gal who loves the idea and results of a daily practice. The actual practice (of the daily practice) can be challenging. I’m a bit like Goldilocks and the 3 Bears… finding just the right combination of excitement, simplicity of engagement, and ease of achievement is critical for me.  

Lately, I’ve been delighted to gain skills in a new drawing style that has checked all three boxes—or to be a bit more imaginative, it’s the right recipe/combination of elements. I have been drawing Tiny People.

  • I’m excited to make more tiny people every day.
  • All I need is my sketchbook, marker, and subjects.
  • It’s fast!

I learned of  Nishant Jain’s very special style of drawing people from a colleague in the graphic memoir course I am taking through Sequential Artists Workshop. As soon as I saw them I was smitten!

Over the past year, I’ve learned Sashiko, (literally, “little stabs,” is a form of decorative reinforcement stitching/functional embroidery from Japan). It too has all the ingredients I desire:

  • Simple materials, “portable”
  • Easy to start and put aside when needed
  • Immediate results 

and, of course, each of these practices is practically daily. I’m creating conscious, consistent practices to fine-tune and burnish my skills. 

What about you?

How do you deepen in your practice—

whether it’s drawing, painting, meditation, a sport, a process or …?

Honestly, I’ve also had a few epic fails, well, that would be a bit of an overstatement, perhaps just learning opportunities. I have started projects that I thought were the right mix of elements to discover that I was incorrect. At the beginning of the year, I started doing a stitching journal, which I believed would require perhaps 15 or 20 minutes of my time daily—for a year. The designs I was choosing were fun yet  proved to be too time-consuming (there is more to do than stitch for over an hour every evening). While I finished the month and I like it, I don’t have the same sense of satisfaction or belief that it’s the best way to devote my precious time to skill building.

Last year I also started a watercolor course that is self-paced, and I thought that would be good for a daily practice. What I found is that it required more learning than I anticipated. While I enjoyed it, it was not what I was seeking at the end of my day for feelings of relaxation and achievement. I am continuing with it yet it is not a daily practice as it too takes too much time each time.

Happily, I am quite philosophical about all this. It’s all learning, and I feel great when I am able to recognize what isn’t working, and step away from it to look at something new.

             Have you ever made the active decision to let go of a daily practice? 

What did that feel like? What did you learn from the experience?

I’d love to know!