I cannot draw. I often bemoan this fact, and am in constant awe of those who can. I fully realise that drawing, like any other skill, is something that gets better with practice, but I also believe that there needs to be some sort of innate talent or you just won’t get anywhere. Believe me, I am not one of those people with any innate talent.
But there was a time I used to love to draw. I might not have been very good at it, but I’d sketch characters or people or little scenes that played out in my mind. As I got older, self-consiousness set in, and I started judging what I did. Eventually I stopped.
Maybe this is why I was so excited when Tim from Five Minute Marvels first brought the blog to my attention. Tim’s own words are likely the best ones to describe the project:
I came by a love of comics and drawing honestly — my dad loved them both. I grew up in a house full of books on cartooning and spent many Saturdays rifling through the 25 cent boxes at the local comic book store or the flea market or the garage sale down the street for buried treasure. When I wasn’t doing that, I was drawing.
But, then, I “grew up.” I realized I wasn’t the second coming of Jack Kirby. I became very self-conscious about it and stopped drawing.
Then, I had kids — two little girls, Grace (6) & Cate (5). And, there came a day when they looked at my comic books and asked if they could draw with me. And, so a bedtime tradition was born. We picked one character and spent five minutes — just enough to have fun, but not enough to beat yourself up about your drawing.
I hope you’ll join us in our tradition and send us your art. You may not be setting the kid in your life up for a lifelong love of comics … but, I’m willing to bet you’ll have fun.
This resonated with me so much. Perhaps not the part about having children wanting to draw, but about realising that I just wasn’t good and letting go of something I thought was fun.
So, a few months back I committed to frawing a five minute marvel or two. And then I stalled. And stalled some more. Until I realised it was almost three months since I’d said I would and I wasn’t drawing simply because I was afraid I wouldn’t be good enough.
Last night that changed. Armed with pencils and a couple markers, I sat down and drew two characters. Ms Marvel (also the first character they drew on the blog) and a Black Canary. I scanned them and sent them to the Five Minute Marvel crew and at some point they’ll likely post them. You’ll need to go there to see them, and I’ll let you know when they’re up.
The thing is, it was fun. Two false starts and I told myself to just do it. So I did, and I enjoyed it. I drew two characters I love, I did it badly, and I don’t care. It was an enjoyable process and it’s made me want to do it again. It’s made me want to throw the small sketchbook I have back in my bag and to doodle and scribble and sketch again.
So to Tim, Grace and Cate? Thank you. You’ve helped me realise that while I’ll never be another Amanda Conner, I can still have a lot of fun doing what I do. I appreciate that so much.