2015 is about done, hurray. For some people it’s been a good year, for others a bad one; for people like me it’s been a mixed bag. This should remind us that it doesn’t matter if we’re good or bad, or mixed bags; we’ll die anyway. D’uh.
So, what did I do, what did I learn this year?
I think my learning skills have improved. Yes, because you HAVE to learn to learn. This may sound stupid but it’s really hard to learn anything when you’re brain isn’t trained to do so, and you don’t have learning methods whatsoever.
I had gotten lazy, I had stopped reading, studying… at one point I felt like my brain was dying and I had to do something about it. In 2010 I started to take piano lessons; I was 23 and it wasn’t too late at all. It’s never too late. I had wanted to take music classes since forever, because I’ve always loved music and I had developed an interest for singing techniques (I sing at home, comfortably unheard). Right now I’m studying jazz theory and it’s being quite challenging, but fun. It’s incredibly satisfying when you start to understand things.
Learning music really kicks your brain, it forces you to focus and to find a solid method to study; it forces you to be perseverant, to develop mnemonic tricks. Overall I’ve found that I’ve learned how to study AGAIN.
I rediscovered the pleasure of knowledge, but I also had to make a stringent selection of what I could actually bring forward. I had to recognize that I have way too many interests and too little time, and too little energy.
I decided that I’ll keep studying to improve my skills as an artist (drawing), a musician (piano, singing) and a writer. I gave up on math, astronomy, cooking, hyperrealistic painting, languages, marketing, journalism and more. I can’t give up on graphic design and photography because I need that for work and because it’s what my diploma says I can do, but I’m not really sweating to be the top player in the game. The same goes for my administrative skills: I’ll try to be as good as I need to do, precise and efficient, but I’m not going to take classes to be a super capable company administrator.
I’m trying to be more aware of the rules I apply when I sketch down something: golden ratio, color theory, perspective, proportion and so on. I’m trying to draw things out of my comfort zone, and I decided I actually want to make urban sketching part of my hobbies. I only need to find the will to face the weather, and people.
I’ve come to accept the fact that I only like to sketch, and that my works turn out lifeless when I plan too much. I’m aware I’m an overthinker, that I like to understand things before I use them. This doesn’t make life easier, but for sure it makes you see the beauty of the world. Of course, the more you get accustomed to the subject, the easier will be for you to delve into its details. I tried to reduce the techniques I use to 2: lineworks and simple digital paintings.
This is what I did to push my drawing skills further.
Another thing I realized is that, to me, drawing is a meaningless action if what I’m drawing means nothing to me. This is why I don’t do commissions. Drawing is the tool I use to express my ideas, to release my inner world, and the only way I have to work on something written by someone else is to take it in first, and spit it out as my own thing.
This is also why I write. Writing and drawing have always be one single thing, for me. My first original work was a graphic novel about a swallow; I was 6 years old. It was a frame-text-frame-text king of thing of which I was so proud that I still have a mnemonic snap-shot of it (it ended up in the dust bin after a couple days ‘cause my mom likes notebooks to be blank and mint, so she ripped off the written pages and made me incredibly sad. We’ll never forget you, swallow).
Writing stories is my way of life. I don’t know if I’m good at it but right now I don’t care much anymore. I just tried to dedicate more time to actually writing, to care less about the perfection of my prose, or about the cleverness of my plot. I’ve written down the synopsis and as long as everything is coherent I’ll keep going.
I’m getting to know my characters, it’s fun, sometimes scary.
One thing I still haven’t learned is NOT to care about other people’s opinions. That’s so bad. We will never succeed if we listen to those who say that we can’t make it or who condemn us for our mistakes. Mistaking is human; the only thing that doesn’t do mistakes is the math of the universe, which is something we still haven’t fully figured out.
Constant exercise is what makes you better at whatever you want to do. Practice, practice, practice. No matter what you do, experience is what raises you to the next level.
This year I’ve been charmed by science.
I’ve rediscovered my long lost love for astronomy, especially the Saturn System with the Cassini Solstice mission and Pluto with New Horizons. I literally spent hours reading about the universe and I want to begin to incorporate such amazing subjects in my works. Stars, space, math. I rediscovered the beauty of Phi.
This year I’ve composed my first songs (or, at least, song concepts). I really need a band! Pale Blue Dot, Silent King of Void, The Flooded Garden. I like writing song lyrics a lot, it teaches you to go abstract or impressionist.
I’ve understood how to breathe.
I still haven’t sorted out how to deal with the fact that everyone in my family wants me to have a baby while I don’t really feel the need to. Their happiness and my happiness aren’t on the same path. Why do we want the people we love to make choices that please us, and us alone?
I want my 2016 to be a year of personal growth, a year where I’ll write my future as I want it to be. Full of stories and travels. A year of new experiences.
So here’s my resolutions for 2016:
- do urban sketching
- keep writing The World Below
- form a band
- stop caring about what others think
- keep loving