There was a time I used to sketch all the time.  Technically, people referred to it as Math class (or Geometry or Pre-Calc or Calculus depending on which year of high school it was), but it was mostly free sketch period for me.  Or nap time.  Teacher’s didn’t take kindly to nap time so I did the activity that resembled taking notes.

And I’ll admit, I was never great at artwork, but I kept at it and got better little-by-little until I was a "passable" artist.  And for a time when I first joined the military, I did a daily cartoon for my unit for a couple months.  Pencils.  Inks.  Colors.  And hand-lettered.  All the fancy stuff.

That was an amazing thing to go through because I was able to watch myself get better.  Each week, I could see little improvements in proportions and perspective and most importantly, motivation.

I would have ideas racing through my head each day of stuff I wanted to draw for this cartoon and by the time I sat down, it would be there waiting to leap out of my brain and pounce on the paper.

Those were fun days, and even when I stopped doing that little cartoon, I still kept sketches in my notebooks for the longest time.  Mostly novel-style illustrations to go with the stories I’d write or doodles of places and things as I let my subconscious work through some tricky character moments or story events.

Then one day I stopped.

I don’t even remember when or why, but I just stopped drawing.  I still enjoy looking at art and if I see something really cool, I’ll sit there and dissect it trying to figure out how the artist put it together.  But my sketching went from every other day to every other month.  And that lack of usage shows in a bad way when I try to sketch now… a definite disconnect between what I see swimming in my brain jellies and what scribbles my hand generates.  It’s like that "pass it on" communication game where it starts out as a "dragon" in my brain and shows up as a squiggly, hairless cat with a smoking problem on the page.

But I’m determined to get that skill back.  Whenever I see my daughter sketching or working on art projects now, I get this itch.  This uncontrollable need to sketch something.  I think most of my problem has been fear.  Afraid to get back into drawing because of how many times I’ve worked with incredible artists and how horrible my stuff looks compared to the stuff they crumple up and toss out as "crap".

But watching my daughter with her art.  The joy she emanates as she creates.  I remember that feeling and that feeling tears down all those insecurities.  Feeling that spark, I realized I hadn’t lost it… it’s just buried under years of day job drone-ification, turmoil and drama.  I’ve been dabbling here-and-there, but I decided to make reclaiming that skill a part of my 8 main resolutions for 2011.

I’m doing a "stepping stone" program for these resolutions where I start on just one a month and make it the focus of that month.  Then once I get used to it, I add on the next resolution the next month (all of them I’m setting aside at least 15 minutes a day for as a starting point).  I actually started all this in December.  Exercise more was number one and I decided to start it early.  Daily (Mon-Fri) blog updates was the second one.

And on February 1st, I begin part three–daily sketching.