A year or so ago I stumbled upon a book by artist Chris Ayers called The Daily Zoo. The short story is that Ayers, a highly sought-after concept artist in the Hollywood film industry, was diagnosed with leukemia. On the one-year anniversary of his diagnosis, after a long period of treatment and recovery, Chris started a sketchbook called The Daily Zoo.
Over the next 365 days he would create a daily drawing of an animal (real or imagined, cartoon-y or realistic). I have the first two volumes of his sketchbooks – as far as I know he hasn’t stopped this daily practice. I highly recommend them! http://www.chrisayersdesign.com/DZ_home.html
I’ve been considering doing something like this for the past year (ever since picking up Ayer’s first book), but never got around to it. These kinds of “New-Year’s-resolution-commitments-to-do-something-consistently-for-the-rest-of-your-life” things usually end up as a big FAIL… accompanied by guilt, low self-esteem, and movement away from the habit you wanted to move towards.
The other side of the coin is the well-known statement that to become an expert in something requires 10,000 hours of practice put into it. Whether there’s any quantitative validity to that exact amount of time or not, the principle is pretty self-evident: you’ll get better at the thing you do consistently.
So I’ve decided to begin an experiment in consistency. As regularly as I can (daily, every other day, once a week, whatever) I will create a caricature of someone. My beginning direction will be to select someone who is on that day’s pop-culture radar.
I watched the final episode of LIVE with Regis & Kelly last Friday – it was fairly entertaining in a “let’s celebrate Regis” kind of way. I’ve enjoyed watching the show on occasion over the past 20 years or so, and Regis has an ability to entertain without a whole lot of effort (or so it seems). He simply shows up and humorously chats about his cat, where he went to eat last night, a memory from his childhood, etc. A pretty sweet gig! But regardless of it’s difficulty for him, he has been consistent!
Now Regis waves goodbye to this old chapter — and symbolically waves hello to my new chapter! How will I do at keeping this up? I have no idea, except that it’s something I enjoy doing, which should make it a whole lot more likely to be done. But I’m not going to set myself up for disappointment or a sense of defeat by declaring a strict regimen for doing this every single day or else. I hope it keeps moving right along each day, but we’ll see. I’ll post them when I get the chance – heck! I don’t want to add to the potential guilt-inducing daily requirements! Let me know what you think.