The Pink Lady

I did this a little while back and it’s always strange and oddly embarrassing at times to watch a recording of the progression of a piece. This was my first try at recording a drawing and I really didn’t have much in mind when I started it other than to get something down and hope that it doesn’t crash while doing it. What’s pretty interesting while watching it is that I can recall what was going through my head at certain points and then see myself act it all out. It also lays bare the numerous mistakes I made that I wouldn’t have remembered just by looking at the final result. One thing that I’m trying to do is to produce at a faster rate and try to reduce my perfectionist instincts that slows everything down. From Bobby Chiu’s The Perfect Bait:

Kris Pearn: Mentally, you’re always trying to make good judgements… You’re always trying to design good shapes. You’re always trying to create good art.

Lets’s suppose when you do this, you’re drawing at 100% capacity. At 100% of your ability, it takes you maybe 10 minutes to do a good drawing.

Now, let’s just say you do 50% of your ability—by knocking back a drawing at 50% of your ability, you’ll speed up by 50%. Initially, you’ll draw worse for a little while. But the more you draw, the quicker your design sense will adapt and begin to catch up to that demand, the demand of drawing faster.

With practice, your ability will catch up so that you’re back at 100% again but now you’re drawing twice as fast as before. And then repeat—squeeze your 5-minute ability by 50% to double your speed. Next thing you know, you’re doing a drawing in two minutes, then one minute.

You draw out your quantity, and then you work, work, work, and eventually your quality catches back up to the demand that you’re making, and the time.

I’ve never quite thought of becoming more efficient in this way before. I generally thought about the accumulation of skill as the result of putting in hours upon hours of work, and I never fully considered to put myself on a time constraint as a way of spurring growth. The only times which I put myself under this instant pressure to produce were during figure drawing sessions. One minute poses. Five minute ones. Tens. Each variation came with its own limitations and approaches.

Usually I’m a details guy. I’m a stickler for line work, getting the angles just right. And I’ll admit that it can feel freeing not to think about all that when I only have a short amount of time to fill in the page and getting things all perfect just isn’t going to happen. Sure, I put myself on deadlines when I’m working on my own, but those are usually measured in hours and days rather than a handful of minutes. So with this in mind I’ve started recording more of my timed process so that I can see those moments where I got stuck on something, where I can see myself trying to piece things together and make it work. It’s all the little details about the process that you don’t see by looking at the final result. Just being aware of my tendencies will hopefully subtly change my habits and design sense. So this is just another challenge, and if in the end I am able to work faster while keeping up the quality it’ll be worth all the effort.

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