It was a Monday. President’s Day to be exact, which meant a long weekend for me. What better time to relax, than a long weekend, right? Nope. I had an agenda, and I already felt behind. On Saturday, I crashed out of exhaustion; accomplishing nothing. It happens, I suppose. So, I had to make up for lost time.
I have a goal…to work on one creative project each week, in order to improve upon my illustration skills. It’s a personal goal I set for myself, and one I plan on perfecting. I was in the Flatiron area, and decided to work in the coffee shop at Eataly. Didn’t exactly think that location through. It was bustling to say the least. Tourists, shoppers, and coffee dates surrounded me. I found it challenging to concentrate.
With a color burst of markers spread across the table, and a cup of hot coffee (decaf to be exact…my life is naturally caffeinated), I put my pencil to the blank, white sheet of paper. My hand flew across the page, creating quick, messy lines. I drew, then erased, then drew, then erased, and repeated the process in extreme frustration, as I couldn’t master the exact lines or shapes that I hoped for. Some days it comes easily, and other days, it doesn’t. I was distracted and impatient. Why can’t I learn this quickly? Why can’t I improve in a day? I took a breath, popped in my headphones and continued, until I was in a zone. Sometimes, that’s what it takes for me…the “zone”. Complete and total focus. The kind of focus, that convinces me, that I’m the only one in the room. I live for that type of focus.
I was in. My hand flew across the page, and the figure came alive before my eyes. It was better, even easier than the day before. I drew the movement in the gown, the ruffles, and even the shading. I studied the shading, the day before, watching videos to improve. It helped! As I was about to wrap up my illustration, I felt six little eyes, gazing over my table watching me. I do enjoy chatting with visitors, as I work, but as I mentioned, I was in a zone and didn’t want to lose focus. Ok, ok…I glance up. “Hi!” I said! I greeted the three little people that stood before me, gazing as I worked on my project. They said hello back. The oldest little girl spoke up. “Are you a designer?” she said? Hmm…good question. I’m a lot of things. I could give you a laundry list, but that would be complicated and not as much fun. “Yes!” I said. “Yes, I am.” Her eyes lit up. “I love that dress you’re drawing,” she said quietly. “Thank you! Do you like to draw?” “Yes,” she said. “I love to draw.” “Promise me, you’ll keep practicing, ” I said. “You’ll become better. That’s what I’m doing right now. I’m practicing.” “Ok,” she said. “I will.” We spoke a bit more before she left. As she turned to walk out the door, she said, “Hey! I really can’t wait to see that dress you’re drawing, in the stores. It’s going to be beautiful!” Thank, you sweet girl…thank you.
Little people, have the greatest minds. They’re fearless. They see life through a filter…rosy colored glasses to be exact. They don’t doubt what their eyes clearly see. They have faith. That little girl had faith in me that day, even as I began doubting myself. I’m glad those little eyes gazed over my table, and I hope that I gave her confidence to continue in her own practice.
I took a step back from my illustration, and reflected upon the last few weeks that I’ve started this project. I’ve watched myself improve, pushing forward, and I’ve also watched myself fall backwards. I plan to continue. I plan to put in the work, because I know I can, and because I’ve got a goal to achieve. The little girl, reminded me of that, just as I reminded her. Whether we ever cross paths again or not, she reminded me to believe in myself. Great minds think alike.