Relearning a Lost Skill

Last year I wrote about wanting to launch a webcomic. In the end I held off because I’d come to realise that my drawing skills were nowhere near where they had been in my late teens. More accurately, I could still sketch out anything that sits still for long enough in front of me trees, ornaments, corpses, but anything mobile…people, and their faces, hell no.

Anyway I’ve worked hard since then to regain those lost skills, and I’ve discovered that taking back control of some skills really is not like riding a bike.

In my late teens I wrote constantly. I made both Airfix, and radio control models. And I drew reams ,and reams of pictures. In fact I became pretty good at all three (though I was not, and never will be very much of a grammarian). The first two skill sets never really went away, simply because I’ve never stopped writing, and 50% of my modelling skills are directly transferable to household DIY. But drawing it turns out is a very different story.

I can remember how to do most of the things involved. But my body is different these days. My limbs respond to my imaginations requests in unexpected ways, the smooth easily controlled movements I had as a youth now lost to the arrival of stiffening  joints, ligament and tendon damage, not to mention the levels of physical pain I cope with in day-to-day life. I have also realised that even my sight has changed in significant ways in those 16 years. I simply don’t see colours the same way that I used to, and while my eye sight was never good, it has degraded even more over the years. And let’s face it, not even the most perfectly produced spectacles ever completely, perfectly return our vision to what it should be.

But there’s more to it than that. I no longer look at objects, animals, or people in the way an artist needs to be able to see them. I’ve lost the ability to figure out the composition of a subject, the skill needed to break it down into simpler shapes, and objects. This in particular I am still struggling to relearn.

In essence teaching myself something again, which I used to do instinctively is turning into a huge pain in my butt. I’m not about to give up. I still have things I want to show the world. But It does mean I have had to accept that I may never be able to express those concepts the way I truly want to.

I’ve also realised that stopping drawing was a huge mistake. I stopped because what was coming out of my imagination had begun to scare me. I was in a terrifyingly dark place, and that darkness had started to pour out of my pencils, and pens on to the paper. But now I truly wish I had persevered, that I had simply faced that fear down, and not walked away from it, and in doing so lost so much of  what had once been an instinctive gift.

Just adding a small note reminding people again about the appeal for funds to help the talented, and gorgeous Dr. Carmilla get her EP recorded. Please click the link and help her if you can. Thank you.

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