Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Protecting the muse

Sometimes when I settle in to do my daily sketches I just can't think of anything to draw. Either there's no project I'm working on, or I can't think of some clever anecdote from the day to illustrate. Then I start feeling frustrated and think "maybe I don't have to draw tonight".... "I did sketch, um, a couple nights ago".... "the muse is just not in"..... but I've learned the hard way too much slacking on daily sketching leads to guilty feelings similar to those experienced when one eats the last three left behind cupcakes from one's child's birthday party. So here lately on the nights when I can't lure the muse out, I remember what keynote speaker Laurie Halse Anderson said at the LA conference this year:

"If you think of your muse as your 6 year old self how would you treat her? When she comes to your door would you give her rules to follow and a list of tasks to finish? Would she come a lot if you did that? Instead would you pull out all your old toys and bake cookies?"

If my 6 year old self showed up at my door she would not want to draw character sketches from  the next book I'm planning to submit. She would probably also not want to do a sketch for that magazine job due next month nor would I imagine she'd be much into thinking up some licensing illustrations. These are all projects I give my grown-up self. No, my muse would want to draw horses - Prancing, leaping, galloping. So over the last couple of weeks as the muse has been shy, I've handed her the reins and let her draw what she wants:

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