I’m a coder who makes art. day job: startup founder (currently CTO @ aesthetic.com)
An Art Hobby Develops
Painting started as a hobby, way to unwind. during previous startup, URX: IC->manager transition
experimenting with my “modes” of work
formerly fun code projects now had deadlines paintings were a safe place for “scope creep”
Painting people was tough, but friends’ reactions were worth it
self teaching, starting to practice drawing people (friends’ reactions sometimes get remixed into new art!)
Found a new means of expression for stuff I hadn’t known to share
Reflecting on my own experience sharing ideas/emotions that had never had an outlet: sarcasm, wonder, irony
big ambitious ML paintings
Painting sessions had become high-pressure, focusing on the end result
”premeditated art” - trust the process
surprising source of joy: making stuff for friends
My big complicated paintings weren’t as fulfilling for me as I thought they were.
Truly fulfilling: Making spontaneous creations and hearing reactions from friends and family.
Making Art Fun Again
Progress over Perfection
Around this point in my artist story, I started carrying a sketchbook everywhere I went. My intention was to focus on practice and enjoyment rather than impressive end results. I found that this was much more fun when I focused solely on filling sketchbooks rather than making them perfect.
Focus on Process, Not Product
In my engineering work, judging a day as good or bad based on amount of focused input directed to what I care about most - not whether a specific milestone is complete (because bugs happen and learning takes time).
Daily Sketchbook: Quantity over Quality
Extending this idea to my sketchbooks was liberating. In my experience, intentionally drawing with a focus on quantity over quality of drawings has lead to some interesting discoveries, if only out of haste and randomness.
The more sketches you draw, the more chances there are that you'll produce good drawings.
An easy rule of thumb for beginners is that one out of each ten ideas you generate will be good. (And this applies to sketches, stories, videos, or anything you make as well.)
For instance, my skill as a writer or sketcher influences my ratio of good-to-bad stories or drawings.
Of course, this ratio might be lower or higher depending on the field you are in and your level of expertise.
Experts manage to bring that ratio down when they reach proficiency at whatever it is they do. Still, they know there will always be bad ideas among the ones they generate.
The good thing is that, apart from lowering the good-to-bad ratio, skill and expertise let you judge your own ideas to better identify the good ones and discard the bad ones.
Work on What's Hardest
I always had trouble with lines in my paintings.
Drawing in pen was especially hard for me, cause I couldn’t easily shade areas the way I did with pencil. I realized that as a painter, I had inadvertently trained my mind to look for shapes and intensity of color. I decided to jump into the deep end - stopped carrying around a pencil, started carrying a pen everywhere with my sketchbook(s).
Remembering my Past Drawing Exercises
Contour drawing exercises came back into my life when I found some scratch drawings I had saved from a Life Drawing class I had taken.
I was fascinated by how they work to train your muscle memory and build confidence by trying to short-cut the part of the mind that overthinks what we're trying to draw. For example:
don’t look at the paper (trains direct eye->hand movement, skip left-brain processing) look at the paper and don’t lift your pen off the paper (trains intentional economy of line, working with constraint)
Don't Lift Your Pen
When I stumbled upon continuous line drawings, they were exactly what I was looking for:
Just One Line
Extracting a single expressive contour in an attempt capture the essence and personality of a subject seemed like an appealing area to practice.
Both because it was intrinsically interesting, and I figured it would eventually yield dividends in my painting abilities if I was able to approach them with a newfound boldness and speed in my movements.
Eventually it became a habit, and it continues to be a source of joy for me.
Online original https://www.instagram.com/p/BpKxLh4lAtg/?igshid=11ni132w65gom
Oneline taking the leap https://www.instagram.com/p/BpPXWjoFWkS/?igshid=1n04rvk4vfsh0
The speed and repetition of single-line drawing got me past some creative blocks.
Eventually it got easier to try a lot of new things and not be upset if any one output doesn’t come out well.
My daily practice has taught me to trust that a steady flow of new drawings is on its way.
Single-lines make great gifts now
The speed makes it fast to try out new creations.
while the immediacy and expressiveness seems to delight friends.
Dog and flowers https://www.instagram.com/p/BswVtjon26S/?igshid=p9jk03ilve0e
This has been the most fulfilling part of my art practice.
(Augmented reality Polaroid single line) https://www.instagram.com/p/B7wpJXDg7N3/?igshid=1imbb0or9k3z5
(Single line face bandana) https://www.instagram.com/p/B_8_ne9g1D1/?igshid=1wszwi88t0awa