This post began as an abstract comic and developed into several paragraphs about blogs-n-sketchbooks plus an abstract comic. I’ve been posting a mishmash of stuff lately, much to the disappointment of my fellow water tower aficionados, and that got me thinking about writing about making.
I once attended a conference where a fellow talked about open source software development. He described a release cycle that including the work (designing, writing and debugging code) and releasing the code (for peer review/testing/acceptance). Don’t work in a vacuum – be a part of a community. Share your work incrementally. Don’t wait until the epic masterpiece is finished and perfect because, odds are, it will be neither. Put your stuff out there. Release, release, release. It’s how one grows.
This idea applies to a lot of things besides software. It applies to things like music, cooking, writing, teaching…art. It’s how we improve in our endeavors.
Last year, I started (and ended) a sketch blog. Its purpose was to support the mission of drawing every day. I thought it made sense to relegate the daily sketches to another site. I learned that not everything that ends up in a sketchbook needs to be (or should be) published. Not at all. And, that THIS blog is the place to release sketches. It doesn’t matter that a lot of what I post here is quick and slack and unrefined. What matters is that work is being done (like in a sketchbook) and shared (the potential for peer review, chronicling of progress).
Sketchbooks are about thinking and ideas. They are diaries, laboratories, journals – they are messy, private, clumsy, joyous, random and sometimes enlightened places. They are worthless empty and priceless when filled. They are, in my mind, absolutely essential.
All people are creative. We design our lives. We make choices based on ideas, feelings, superstitions, various rationale – aesthetics.
Yet, is it essential to post one’s thoughts/sketches/art on the Web? Maybe. Many artists are discovered only after they pass on to the Land of the Dead, and I’m betting that some were happy in their obscurity. Everyone makes things for different reasons, but I suspect all humans receive the same rewards for their efforts.
Yet, I bet a lot of those unknown artists would have LOVED to have been part of a scene/movement in their times. Because what is a scene/movement, really? A community. A very special one. Not everyone is a visionary or catalyst for something “new,” but there are others who need to participate. A cook needs to feed people. And there was a lot more the the beatniks than bongos, man.
This blog supports the other half of my sketchbook process – release, release, release. I think that’s important – what do you think?