For those who wish to draw more

Do we need any stinkin’ rules? October 14, 2006

Filed under: .India,Meta — India @ 4:40 pm

I was just going through Elizabeth’s del.icio.us links and discovered NaArMaMo: National Art Making Month, which was in August, and which like DrawMo! was muchly inspired by Woolgathering. How cool is that—that Elizabeth’s work is sparking all these art clusters all over the Internets?

But: Man, they done stoled our idea, like, retroactively!

No, it’s okay because they did art, whereas we’re going to do drawing. But that raises the question, “What’s drawing?”

Well, I certainly don’t know. And I’m not sure I care. Do you? Should it just be up to each participant to look inside her or his heart for the answer? Or should there be some kind of boundaries?

While we’re considering that, let’s also look at the sensible ground rules Jen of NaArMaMo posted:

  • You try to make one distinct piece of art every day. That is a different piece of art every day, rather than one big project over all the days. So at the end of August you will hopefully have 31 pieces of art, all made by you.
  • ‘Piece of art’ includes anything that uses your artistic/creative talents. You can stick with something you love, or try to master one medium you’ve always dreaded, or mix and match and have a go at all sorts of things.
  • It doesn’t matter if you are great at art, or have never drawn/sung/built/etc anything in your life, or have done all of the above but just dreadfully. It’s just about doing it, and keeping doing it every day for 31 days.

Just substitute “drawing” for “piece of art” throughout that, and cut the “/sung/built/etc” in the last point, and that seems reasonable for us. Or do we want to be more strict? Or less strict? Or different in some other way that my pea brain can’t imagine?


  • You can set goals for yourself if you like, and it’d be nice to share them with the community. For example you might make a list of different mediums and decide to at least attempt each of them. Or different subjects you’d like to draw. Or so on. Basically what I’m saying is that if people think they’ll keep going more if they have more structure, they should make it for themselves, and that would be shiny:)
  • It’s not about quality, it’s about keeping trying no matter how terrible or uninspired you happen to be that day. For ‘artists’ of all capabilities, it’s just about getting something made. Yes.
  • Therefore it is best if it is one piece of art a day, rather than just doing 31 sketches on day 12 and calling it done, but really, you did 31 sketches? You TOTALLY WIN. So I don’t know, it would just be better if after day 12 you carried on for the rest of the month regardless.
  • Clearly people are going to miss days, because dude. So if days are missed you’ll have to do two or more bits of art another day to make up for it.
  • No proof is needed, because god knows I’m not going to show people the terribleness that I create not everyone has cameras, scanners, photo hosting and all that. So we take your word that you did what you said. Cheats rejoice!

In the original discussion at India, Ink., we talked about having an optional assignment for the group each day, along the lines of Everyday Matters’ list of ideas, and I still think that’s a good plan. But optionality is key. The goal is for us all to draw more, and if the rules make it so that you don’t feel like drawing, then screw the rules.

So, do we need any rules at all?


7 Responses to “Do we need any stinkin’ rules?”

  1. Sheila Ryan Says:

    Well, I know that I took a deep breath and joined up on account of I wanted to resume drawing (an activity I loved as youngster). I did so in spite of feeling a little intimidated by the participation of honest-to-gosh artists in this venture.

    That we soldier on ‘no matter how terrible or uninspired [we] happen to be that day’ seems to me to be the Main Thing. Maybe we rank-but-bloody-minded-amateurs can set an example that’ll serve to keep ourselves and all our fellows honest.

  2. Margaret Says:

    Hopefully DrawMo! will be a good party. So my “rule” for myself (feel free to swipe if you too have emotion-laden procrastination issues) will be #1: no self-flagellation. And, because I’ve managed to learn from experience, Rule #1a: no self-flagellation because self-flagellation occurs despite rule #1. As long as that’s under control participating, listening, and learning will follow. And those are three things I’m hoping to get out of DrawMo!

    And to add to Sheila Ryan’s bit, I’m big on the Perpetual Prodigal Son rule: no matter if you skip a day(s), you’re always more than welcome back into the fold.

    As for subject matter vs. free-stylin’, I’m open to ideas.

  3. dcovert Says:

    I’d love an optional topic o’ the day, since that might inspire me to just scribble something in red felt pen on the pad on my desk with my employer’s logo — and isn’t that what it’s all about?? :-P

  4. cynthiacloskey Says:

    I like these rules very much. They offer structure without feeling mean.

    For myself, I’m doing DrawMo in parallel with NaNoWriMo. This is not simply because I am a glutton for punishment, but also Elizabeth suggested it and it sounded like a good idea. I suspect it will continue to sound like a good idea until November 2 or 3, and then I will realize that it was a bad idea all along.

    But so anyway, I expect that the NaNoWriMo writing will be triggered by things in my immediate vicinity, and that these things will be somehow sketchable. At least I hope so. So my rule is that the day’s writing and the day’s sketching are encouraged to be related.

    Also, if I miss a day writing then I must at least sketch that day, and vice versa. Also, all must be caught up by the end of the month.

  5. Sheila Ryan Says:

    Okay, saying we all agree to a set of gently constraining rules: Eh . . . who writes these rules? (India . . . ? . . . ? Or . . . ?)

  6. margaretei Says:

    Welcome dcovert, cynthia, sheila (and kiki and susan)! Hope you all have fun.

    Sheila: I suppose as we get closer to DrawMo-vember there’ll be a “countdown to liftoff” post that restates the gentle constraints, goals, hopes/dreams of the collective. And after that, chaos. Mwahaha, etc.

    Actually, if you set up a free WordPress account (and get that spiffy little bunch of question marks/icon by your name) you’ll be able to edit comments/posts and make your own posts on the blog. I didn’t have a WP account until DrawMo either, by the way. You can get one that doesn’t come with a blog, just an account. I think you’ll also then be given the super-secret password so you can post relevant links to the DrawMo del.icio.us. India might know the steps better than me. But even if you don’t edit any posts yourself, if you leave something in the comments section that you think should be added someone will be able to post if for you, I should think. Let’s try to restrain ourselves from diagramming that last sentence.

    And lastly, as stated above: if the rules make it so that you don’t feel like drawing, then screw the rules.

    So that’s kind of a long answer as to who writes the rules. As to who enforces the rules . . .

  7. Sheila Ryan Says:

    Well . . . I’m down with all that WordPress account and editing bidnis already, so I reckon I was just fishing around to see who was ready and willing to cry out, “I’m in charge!” or maybe “Hey, kids , let’s put it to a vote!”

    But I’m thinking maybe what I’ll do (I’m thinking) is pull a volume of Emerson off the shelf and re-read “Self-Reliance”.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s