Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Because there are no specific rules for my challenge written down anywhere, I have to make up all of them. Most of them are common sense and others are self-made decisions I had to take. I would like to have some feedback from my loyal readers so I can add or subtract some of them.  What I do not want to be doing is changing them at the middle of the road. After all, I am calculating that this challenge may take from 4 to 8 years. Because this challenge is kind of ambiguous I want to do a guideline in order to keep me focused on what will count as an hour of drawing.  Also, in the list I will put some frequently asked questions in order to clarify important facts to my faithful readers. This definitively will make my life a little easier and this challenge a little bit more interesting. The rules and FAQ I have come up to this point are the following:

1.     What count as an art hour? Basically, everything that is drawn, either by learning simultaneously a lecture or by repetition of a specific lesson or craft. The only requirements are that I have to be holding up an art tool, such as a pencil, and that I must be drawing or painting.
2.     What constitutes as an art tool? Pencil, brush, digital pen. Anything that I use for drawing or painting. It could be a charcoal for all that matters, but I must be holding it up.
3.     Why include painting? The way I see it, drawing is painting in a scale of grey, from black to white, dark to light. So, although painting is more complex due to the fact that you need to get acquainted with color theory, you still need to observe, assess the image, and add volume and light with colors.
4.     An hour is an hour, unless it is 50 minutes. What I mean fundamentally is that I am not going to steal any minutes. Although it is a very subjective matter because I will not be counting each second of the time I spend drawing, I will keep track of the time I start and finish a specific drawing session. So what happens when I log 50 minutes give or take? I will count it as 45 minutes. What happens if I log 55 minutes? I will count it as an hour. In other words, unless it is five minutes to an hour, everything less than that falls to the prior quarter. For example, if I draw for 33 minutes (or 39 for that matter), this will be considered as 30 minutes, but if I log 56 minutes, it will be considered as an hour. I think this gives me a certain degree of freedom to keep it relatively simple.  I am not going to cheat myself in counting the hours to my advantage to finish faster. It just does not make any sense to do that. With this method I will end up having less time but not more, because that would be deceitful to myself and to you guys also.
5.     Are layouts, borders, sketches considered as drawing? Hell yes!
6.     Weekly summary. I will add the hours to the counter at least once a week, with a proper entry on how I spent most of the hours, what I have learned, what I have experienced from these lessons and practices. Also, I will add at least one drawing weekly. It could be anything that I have spent doing during the week. Don’t get your hopes high during the first year though, there could be a lot of crappy artwork and not so many masterpieces ;). I will specify how much time I spent doing something in particular or using a specific tool.
7.     The “Counter” just shows hours. The same principle as guide # 4 applies. For instance, if I have logged 7 hours and 45 minutes, it will be counted as eight hours, but if I have logged 7 hours and 30 minutes, it will be counted as 7 hours. Anything less than 45 minutes should be taken down to the earlier hour. This can be done at the end of the week or when I decide to write an entry, but don’t worry that I won’t be doing any two hours and forty-five minutes daily to steal two hours a week.
8.     Attending and listening to class does not add up to the counter. Unless I am, at the moment, drawing simultaneously.
9.     Sculpting is NOT considered in this challenge.
10. Photoshop counts only if I use a digital pen. So I better hurry and buy an LCD monitor or a tablet.

I have put a lot of thought on this guideline, so if you have any recommendations at all, I will be happy to read them. Even though there is no auditor for this (it would be impossible to do this, unless I am doing a reality show with a major network financing some dude with a camera to film my progress) I hope you know that it is in my best interest to log as many hours efficiently and with a lot of effort. It will make me a better artist at the end of the run.

I am used to having a training diary to keep a record of my marathon training workouts. This will be something like that. Will I improve my record keeping? I am sure it will, in due time. Still, this experience is so overwhelming and surreal that you should not expect to see 40 hours logged in the first week. I will treat it as a marathon training, slowly adding some hours to the weekly training because by rushing carelessly you could get injured or burned out. The latter is more likely to happen if I start too strong committing myself only to drawing. I will try to do my best but also considering the fact that I want to savor this journey in its entirety.


José Luis