Starting Over From Scratch (Every Year)
By Neil Blevins
Dec 27th 2012

I don't keep a traditional sketch pad. I know there's lots of good reasons to keep one: having one area to store all your quick ideas, it's important to practice your drawing and observation skills, it's a great way to see your skills progress over time. But personally I always found my sketch pads to be rather empty. And it was because I was fearful with every drawing that I'd produce something that looked bad, and "ruin" the sketchbook. So a sketchbook for me was actual the opposite of what it should be, it was a reason not to draw.

While I was at blur, one of my coworkers showed me what ended up being the answer. He did all his drawings on standard sized photocopy paper. So if he made a bad drawing, he just threw it out, and it was gone, never to be seen, and didn't taint any of his other work. Of course you could do the same with a sketchbook and rip out the bad drawings, but using loose paper just made it that tiny fraction easier conceptually. So now for the last decade I've only drawn on copy paper, and it actually got me drawing way more than I used to.

In a similar vein, every year I look back on the work I've done and some of it I like, and some of it I just ask "what was I thinking?". So by the end of the year, as much as possible, I try and finish all my in progress images so I can end the year with everything finished, and start the year fresh, with no mistakes. If I suck at something in 2012, I haven't yet sucked at it in 2013, so in that spirit, I hope to make not just more art in the coming year, but better and different artwork. It will always be my "style", but hopefully improved in a number of ways, and with extra spice taking my work to somewhere slightly new. At least until the end of 2013, where I can let go of all the bad artwork I will certainly make in the coming year, be pleased with the good stuff, and prepare for 2014.

So I invite all of you to look back on the work you've done this year, throw away the bad stuff (and don't feel bad, even bad stuff helps you learn), and get ready for a great new year of artwork. Lets call it "Starting Over From Scratch" day, the 1st of January, 2013, and lets celebrate it every year hence.

Thank you for all the support, and have an excellent end of year!

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