The Gift of Time

The Gift of Time

Summary: Sharing my thoughts on the importance of making time for creative pursuits, by way of a relaxing sketchbook drawing. Highlighting the joy of exploring art without pressure. Let’s celebrate The Gift of Time together!

Time—it’s one of those things we never seem to have enough of. And as creative individuals, it can be really challenging to find and make the time to do our own work.

So today, I’d like to share with you some of my thoughts on that. We’ll do a sketchbook drawing, and at the end, I’ll share a book reference for you.

In order to talk about time, let’s take a step backwards in time. Recently, I found myself up early in the morning while the family was still asleep. I had a little bit of time on my hands, so I decided to pop open the sketchbook and do a little bit of drawing.

Now, I usually do these drawings in the evening before bed or something along those lines, when the world is quiet and I can sit there, listen to a little bit of music, and just draw and explore at the end of a pen.

I was reminded of this gift that we can give ourselves—time. We live in a world that makes demands of our time all the time. One of the things that seems to get lost in that shuffle is this idea of drawing for fun or drawing just for your own entertainment, you know, to do something that is pleasurable.

Myself, like perhaps many artists out there, started drawing when I was a little kid because it was enjoyable. That enjoyment needs to be cultivated and grown, especially as we mature and there are a lot of demands on our time to go and do and be in places and have our attention spread across many things.

In this case, I happened to be drawing a lot of different spaces in this book. I’ve come to think of these spaces as almost like a visual sanctuary—a place where I can put on some relaxing music, go and explore, and allow my imagination to fill in whatever I might discover on the page.

Bonus Spotify Playlist!

Mellow out with this playlist of relaxing jams. These are all tunes I love to listen to in my studio. Leave a comment if you enjoy them!

Partial Sketchbook Walkthrough

Next, I’d like to share with you some sketches. I thought I’d share with you a few pages of drawings from this book. Perhaps when the book is finished, I’ll do a full walkthrough of the sketchbook, but for now, we can enjoy just a few pages of drawings.

In the case of these drawings, there really is no plan, no preconception when I sit down to draw. It’s simply just some initial marks, a reaction to those marks, and a development of the drawing. The ideas and themes that start to recur throughout here are just things that are interesting or fun, and I like to put in there. Hopefully, when other people see it, they will think it’s fun too. But ultimately, it’s not about other people. It’s really about the time and the place and the space that we give ourselves to make these drawings in our books.

It’s such a vital and important part, given the nature of the world that we live in. It’s super important for us to have a place for our imagination to run wild. It’s like having breathing room for our minds.

Regarding these drawings, there is no rush for me to finish them. In fact, any one of these drawings might stay in a mid-state for days, months, weeks, whatever it might be. That’s part of the gift—I’m not putting pressure on myself, and I would encourage you to also release yourself from the pressure to have to finish something by a certain time. All of a sudden, this calm space that you have is now under pressure to do something. The point is that there is no pressure to do something, and that release can be so liberating.

This is where I am now with this drawing book. You can see here that this is all still yet to be discovered on the page. There are still places for my mind to rest and for me to explore the world of imagination. I would highly encourage you to either start a practice, develop a book, or find something that will be an opportunity for you to relax and just let your imagination dance.

Book Time: Shaun Tan “The Bird King”

Okay, let’s go to book time. The book I’d like to share with you today is called “The Bird King: An Artist’s Notebook” by the artist Shaun Tan. Shaun Tan is an Australian artist and illustrator. He’s illustrated a number of books and written and illustrated his own books as well. Some of the titles I would recommend checking out are “Cicada,” which is amazing, “The Arrival,” which is awesome, “Tales from Outer Suburbia,” and “The Singing Bones,” which are wonderful books all in their own right.

The book he wrote called “The Lost Thing” got turned into an Academy Award-winning animated film as well. I’ll link to that here below.

It’s interesting when we get a chance to see these drawings. You’re getting a chance to see the artist’s mind at play. What is interesting to them? How are they thinking about things? What are they drawing? What materials are they using? In this case, we see he’s using a lot of pencil, occasionally some ink, pastels, and acrylics. He is allowing himself full range to play with all these different materials.

These seem to be pastel color studies for “The Lost Thing” and “Tales from Outer Suburbia.” That’s the cover for that one. Each one of these ideas and investigations in that process is him developing his own language of symbols, ideas, and concepts that will become books or maybe even just characters in a book. Whatever it might be, they’re all going to be found in his sketchbooks.

I really like that they included this section as well, which is his drawings from life. It’s important to know that as artists, we can draw from our imagination, but it’s also vital to draw from the world around us. Draw from nature and investigate that—whether it’s a sleeping cat, a tree with cows in a meadow, a cityscape, whatever it might be. The world is full of wonder and light, and I encourage you all to explore it.

Thank you.

Affiliate Links

Shaun Tan “The Bird King” (affiliate link)
Sketchbook, Blue, Handbook Hardcover w/Pocket: (affiliate link)
Pen, Platinum President Fountain Pen: (affiliate link)

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