Today’s post is a bit different. Today we’re going to talk about my banjo.
(Stick with me for a minute on this one! I am going somewhere with this, I promise.)
Seriously. I own a banjo.
There it is. Sitting in the corner of my bedroom.
So now I bet you’re thinking, “Wow, Jessica plays the banjo. How awesome!”
No, I don’t play the banjo.
I own a banjo. I want to learn to play the banjo. Earl Scruggs. Bela Fleck. Steve Martin. Ron Block. Aaron McDaris. Just a couple names thrown out there.
So then you might be wondering…
“How often do you practice?”
I don’t. Ever.
It sits in the corner of my room and literally collects dust. A constant reminder of a goal. But I do absolutely nothing about it.
Every year when making a New Year’s resolution list, I add ‘practice learning the banjo’ to the top. And I last a few weeks, maybe. Then I get distracted and stop. Glancing at it daily. Thinking I should at least put it in the case. But then I’d definitely never pick it up. So I just leave it out. So I can see it. A reminder.
So by now you should be thinking, “How are you going to learn if you don’t ever practice?!”
And now we’re to my point!
How are you going to learn to draw, paint, create, or do anything else if you don’t practice?!
Want to be a better artist? Practice.
Want to learn a new skill? Practice.
You don’t learn by doing nothing.
I am not learning to play the banjo by listening to the Steep Canyon Rangers all day. Sadly.
I am not learning to play the banjo by spending hours on YouTube watching bluegrass musicians play their banjos. Unfortunately.
The only way I’ll learn is to suck it up, pick up the banjo, and practice. (After I take it apart and give it a good dusting!)
I am asked a lot by people looking to improve their drawing skills what they can do to improve. It sounds very simple to say practice. It is that simple. Pick up a pencil and paper every day. Draw something. Draw something harder than the last thing you drew. Draw the same thing you last drew. Draw anything. Just practice. Every. Single. Day.
Feel free to insert any other verb in there if you’re not looking to draw. It applies to everything.
I use this banjo example because it seems really obvious. For some reason it makes sense to people that you have to practice a musical instrument to get better. But then you talk to an artist who is just starting and it seems like a foreign concept that it’s all about practice. It doesn’t matter if what you are drawing is ‘good’ or not. It’s the practice that counts. The time spent is never wasted. It all adds up. No one starts playing an instrument and has it sound good. And we all accept that and understand. Drawing is no different! It’s ok to not be ‘good’ to start with. It’s normal. Accept it!
I wish sometimes that I had a magic answer for people when they ask how I got to where I am with drawing. But I just spend a lot of time drawing. A lot. It would have been nice if I had just woken up one day and was where I am, but it has taken a lot of work. A lot of practice. It will take a lot more work to get to where I want to be. A lot of practice to learn the things I want to learn. It’s never ending.
Just practice. Then practice some more. Then when you’re tired of practicing… do it some more.
I’ve been working on some really cool post ideas, so I’ll see you soon!
Thank you for reading! Hope you are all having a wonderful day!