Day 4

Lesson 4


"Charles Eames...devoted only 1% of his energy to conceiving a design--and the remaining 99% to holding onto it as a project ran it's course."

-Art & Fear, Orland and Bayles

"It's a bargain to get 1% inspiration. It's a miracle!"

Liz Gilbert, "Me, Myself and Muse" Radiolab interview.

This 15 minute Radiolab episode includes an interview with Liz Gilbert which continues along our theme of talking to invisible demons as part of a time-honored creative practice. Do our angels reward us for focusing and doing the work?

This demon might have been a scary bogeyman in the past, but in the past few decades alone it's grown super-powers to make it among the most formidable of our 7 demons. 

This demon is like the Mogwai from the "Gremlins" movies. Distraction seems all cute and innocent at first.

You get a little boost of yummy dopamine to the brain each time you hear a notification on your phone, and you can't help but wonder how many likes you've gotten on a recent profile picture you posted...

Like the Mogwai, distractions are not inherently evil. But if you've seen the movie, cute Mogwai come with some IMPORTANT instructions.

  • No food after midnight
  • No bright lights or water

And if you break the rules? Well, your cute little pet has suddenly spawned some terribly evil ugly monster critters, who are now making life hard to say the least. 

Distraction is just like this! If you don't follow the instructions here while you are drawing (and it could be recommended for anything important you're working on) then your distractions will spawn into trouble for you.

How to overcome this Demon:

Rules to keep Distractions from going Gremlin

  1. D​​​​on't feed them while you're drawing.

2. Create clearly divided time chunks for your drawing.

Rule 1 is a DOOZY, and it's one that has been changing my life lately. I have ALWAYS listened to audiobooks while I make art...and I can't say that it has actually been very helpful, if I'm honest with myself. 

Yes I LOVE audiobooks, and I LOVE to draw and paint, but I have noticed how much faster and more engaged I am with my artwork when I only listen to soft music or even work in silence. 

So if you multi-task while you draw, time to cut. it. out. 

Rule #2 builds on Day 2's assignment. 

Have you already built your CUE-->BEHAVIOR-->REWARD Habit loop? If not, go back to Day 2 and create one now. 

If you don't have a clearly specified time in which you are focusing, it's easy to be distracted. 30 minutes of focused work is better than 1 hour of distracted work. So set a timer for 25 or 30 minutes, mute your phone, and gave at it. You will be amazed at the results. 

By saying NO to distractions, you're saying YES to your drawings. 

Further Reading

I HIGHLY recommend Cal Newport's book, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

The Element Form

Here'e the thing to remember: 

Shapes are 2-Dimensional

FORM is 3-Dimensional.

A circle becomes a sphere. A square a cube. 

The shift from flat to voluminous is all about the illusion of depth. With shading and a trick of perspective, we see that the object takes up height, width, AND depth.

This element is key for realism. If you can shade the form of a cylinder with mastery, later you will be able to shade a forearm, and understand instinctively how the volume of the torso would affect the way clothes hang on a life drawing model.

Day 4 Drawing Drill

This is a true test, soldier. I am sending you out into enemy terrain, a minefield of Distractions.​​​​


Materials for this lesson:
  • Sketchbook
  • Pencil
  • Charcoal 

  1. Go to my Pinterest Board on Form: 3Dby clicking here. You will find a collection of examples of Form, and by clicking each image you can enlarge it or follow it back to the website where it was originally posted.
  2. Choose a form example, and set your timer: 25 minutes of uninterrupted practice! No distractions while you're drawing until the timer goes off. 
  3. If you finish your sketch before 25 minutes is up, switch to a different medium. 

Pinterest is such a great example of how websites that can be highly distracting can also be extremely useful to the artist. 

Stay focused out there Bootcamper!