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Practise practise practise.


Practice or practise? Just as I figure out the difference, I read that practice can be used for the verb and the noun here in the States. I think I will play my British card here and still use the different spellings or the next thing I know I will be calling yams – sweet potatoes and tortoises -turtles. Language is a funny thing isn’t it, how it gets changed even when we are speaking the ‘same’ language.

Anyway, I was thinking about practising some drawing and how much I should practise and how long for and then the question which holds me back more than any popped up – Why?

I have a strange relationship with practising something, anything. I am happy to do it, but look at it as a waste of time, maybe not so much a waste but I unconsciously limit the amount of time I allow myself to draw or crochet or learn Photoshop (the last one is on my to do list…).

It took me literally two years to learn to crochet something (granny squares is where I am now at). I don’t think this is because I am totally useless at crocheting, I just wouldn’t let myself have a go and more importantly give myself the time and permission to get it all wrong, then start again.

What eventually focused me and rendered me successful was booking time with my friend’s Mum who sat me down and very patiently taught me, beginning with how to hold the hook and yarn (turns out to be pretty much the most important part). Once I was a captive student for an hour or two, I came away a happy crocheting camper. It also boosted my confidence when I spent a couple of weeks thinking I was beginning a blanket and realizing I was actually failing horribly at said blanket, but I had the basic skills to try something else. I once again gave myself the time to go to Creative Bug with my new skills and I followed the granny square videos and I haven’t looked back. Ok, I can only make granny squares, but I can also learn other stitches and go forward with another project (maybe different colored squares…..).

So now I want to do some drawing, actual drawing, not doodling which is what I do at the minute and I love it, but I want to be able to draw things instead of just shapes and squiggles.  This realisation came up as part of my 100 days of making mandalas project. As I approach mandala number 50, I am liking the designs where I use actual drawings of things like buildings or fish or flowers or cakes the best. The problem here is that I can only draw very stylised things. I wanted to add a rooster to my barn mandala yesterday and had no clue how to draw the darn bird. Did I practice drawing a rooster? Nope, I just did suns instead, circles and triangles are so much easier.

This got me thinking that I need to get some drawing practise completed if I want to get better and not just keep doing the same old same old.
So how can I get myself to practice?
1 Go to the library and stash myself away in one of the reading nooks with my sketchbook.
2. Follow a book like ‘One Drawing a Day’.
3. Make myself a challenge to draw something everyday for a month.
4. Get a pretty sketchbook and fill it with drawings.
5. Reward myself when I get to milestones – 10 drawings, 25 drawings, filling a sketchbook.
6. Get together with a group to draw.
7. Ask the art teacher at school if I can draw in the art room when there are no kids.
8. Sit in the park and draw, take a coffee and a book to read for breaks.
9. Allot myself a time to draw every day or every other day – 10 mins, 30 mins, a weekly hour or two.
10. Concentrate on one subject and only draw that for an hour/10 mins/two hours.
11. Give myself a project like decorating a journal cover or designing some writing paper or cards.
12. Enlist the kids in a drawing half hour, all sit with sketchbooks and tell each other what to draw.
13. Connect with someone with similar interests (online or in real life) and set goals to be accountable for – I am game if you are!
14. Allow myself to read books about drawing/painting for inspiration.

‘Allow’, that is the word isn’t it, allow myself to take the time. I allow myself to waste 10 minutes on Facebook, why not 10 minutes drawing? Because it is harder and I might mess it up, I might not think of what to draw and what am I drawing for anyway? Isn’t there washing-up to do and floors to clean?

I am going to allow myself to practise drawing, hopefully every day.  I will let you know how it goes.  Is there anything you need to allow yourself to practise regularly?  Let’s do it!


    • My problem is, I want to be good at stuff straight away and if I am not, I often give up.

  1. A really thoughtful post, Clare. ‘Allow’ really is the word isn’t it, and I was always taught that you can do the fun stuff when the work is done – homework at the time but now it’s housework – and when will that ever really be finished? Never! Through challenges like the TinkerSketch and the 100 day project I have learnt a lot about myself and enjoyed prioritising that creative time. I think ‘practising’ something is also akin to mindfulness – slow focus or just getting lost in the enjoying of the doing, rather than worrying about the end results or of ‘wasting time’. Good luck and also high five on the crochet achievements – that has been on my list for years! xx

    • I so agree about the ‘fun’ stuff coming last on the list. It is only since I have made myself do these challenges that I have persuaded myself that I can improve at something if I practise, I just need to do that! I think I might need another 100 day project once this one finishes!

  2. Your ideas on how to start and keep practising are fantastic! With drawing, your practise can often turn into the real thing so easily. I am enjoying seeing your mandalas so keep it up! x

    • Thanks Karen, I am secretly hoping that I can be good at illustrating and make something of it!

  3. Good on you Clare. So true about allowing yourself 10 minutes on Facebook but sometimes not on what you really wish you were doing – because hard is scary and there’s the chance of failure! I’m the same with Chinese learning, I want to be good at it NOW not in a year or two years or 5 years, but you have to allow yourself the time to actually get good at doing things, to stuff up, get back on the horse and keep going. By the way, if you can master granny squares, the sky’s the limit with your crochet 😉

    • I am so impressed that you are studying chinese and in China! Very brave. I am excited about crocheting, it is a nice filler when I have one or two minutes, I can do a round of a square or even part of one.

  4. So well said and I can totally relate. How to face challenges? I am trying to be conscious of this as I ever prod my kids to try new things. How am I showing up, what are my own attitudes, expectations and limits. Thanks for giving me a neat new way to look at this.

    • Yes, great points about getting kids to do things and leading by example, not always easy.

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