Determined: My Ross-and-Rachel Relationship With My Sketchbook

My whole life, I have wanted to be good at drawing. I remember in 2nd grade, we had an activity after lunch where we got to plan an activity and do it. I almost always went to the art table and drew. I wasn't very good but I always tried to emulate the styles of the other students. Sometimes, I would draw people, and sometimes I would draw Transformers. What can I say? I was diverse.

I picked drawing up again when I was 13, after the movie "Titanic" came out. It probably had a lot to do with how good Leonardo DiCaprio looked with sticks of charcoal and that fancy sketchbook. I remember focusing a lot on getting the details right: the lettering on the side of a ship (you know, the Titanic), the detail in clothing and attire, and the way light was falling on a subject. I'm sure my drawings were terrible, and definitely no match for the likes of Jack Dawson.

Again, my focus was drawn to other things, and I didn't draw again till my second year of graphic design school. I took an illustration class, going into it with the belief that "I can't draw to save my life." As the class progressed, I got better, and I'd found a connection to it that I'd never had before. After learning some new techniques, and having a great instructor, I realized that if I put the time into it, I could draw, and draw well. Not only was I getting better, but I was finding myself with a new hobby and a stubborn determination to get good at drawing, something I’d never had before.

Today, I’m still not a great illustrator, and that’s okay with me. My goal isn’t to be good. It’s to enjoy doing it, enjoy failing at it, and enjoy learning and growing from it. It’s been an on-again-off-again relationship with my sketchbook, and it continues to be, much like Ross and Rachel on Friends.  It’s been frustrating, which I think is a big part of why it has been so easy to give up in the past.

The project I’m working on now is one of the very first assignments we did in my first illustration class. I didn’t do a good job on it, so I thought I would take that assignment and do it over and over again until I was satisfied with it. Here are the iterations I have so far. Laugh at them, take pity on them, praise them, analyze them, but most of all, enjoy them.