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“What should I draw?”

I asked this question so much as a kid.  My parents may remember. But often, when they actually gave me a suggestion, I’d think “I don’t want to draw that.”  

I like to think I wasn’t too difficult as a child, but I sure had my moments.

Now, as an illustrator, I face the same question every time I get out my sketchbook, and I still feel like a kid.

What should I draw?

I’ve circumvented deciding often enough.  Participating in drawing months like MerMay and posting in groups like the Character Design Challenge, I can get the skeleton of the idea without having to decide.  This is all fine and dandy for studies and fun, but it still leaves the more important question unanswered.

It’s not “what should I draw?”

It’s “what is important enough to draw?”

And even more crucial than that:

What do *I* think is important enough to draw?

And that’s where I falter.  When someone else gives a prompt or makes a commission, they’ve already decided “this is important enough,” and I’ll accept that.  But when I have the blank paper, when I can draw anything, then the weight is on me.

I will make a choice, and everyone will disagree.

I will show a glimpse of what I hold dear, and no one will care.

They will scoff, and I’ll have no one to point to.  No one but myself.

And the thing is, that’s okay.  Nothing can please everyone. There will always be someone who doesn’t care for the piece that lays your soul bare.  And that doesn’t matter.

So, I think I’m about ready to ask myself, “What do I want to draw?”

And pretty soon, I might just have an answer.

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