YouCanDraw.com Insider's E-magazine


Issue #4, 20 November 1998

The Private Emagazine/Email Discussion List

For YouCanDraw.com Insider Members Only. Dedicated to You,

the up and coming Caricature Artist.

In today's issue:

1) the Artist's "Contract"

2) Progress Note


1) Someone once said to me in a frustrated tone "Jeff, you got some

special gift for drawing. I just don't have it". All of you who draw have

heard this before. Of course we'd all like to think we do - but there's alot

more going on than just a "gift". In fact, excepting true prodigy cases, I

don't buy into the "gift" theory at all. Yes there are those who just seem

to come into the world drawing or singing or crunching numbers 18 times

better than everyone else. But I believe if you were born with a strong

desire to do something, or learn something, that's a huge clue you got

talent - potential talent just dying to pop on out. I believe people do

come into the world with an in-born "mission". Most people just don't get a

chance to realize it - they don't get the support, they don't get the

reinforcement or the recognition they so badly needed when they started

out...they had families too early...lot's of reasons.

I asked this guy why he's so sure he's got no talent. He put a paper in

front of me with a very recognizable drawing of President Nixon. I said

"what's wrong with that! That's excellent! How long have you been drawing?

His reply: "2 days."

I said "that's amazing" - and I meant it.

Then he pulls out a photograph of Nixon and he says "But it's not exact."

I said "how many try's did this take?

"Two" was his answer.

"And you've been drawing how long? Two days?"

All I could say was "man, you got talent. You HAVE talent."

He just shook his head and walked away like I was trying to sugarcoat

something. I don't think this person ever drew again.

Perfectionism is a true bane folks. I'm not a psychologist, but I do know

about perfectionism - I'm catholic! <BG>. It (perfectionism) is a poison.

The fastest way to kill any new project or picture is to expect it to turn

out perfect every time. Ask any practicing caricaturist and I'll bet they

say something like "no picture I ever draw EVER turns out the exactly the

way I want it too."

No picture I've ever drawn has turned out the way I pictured it when I

first sat down to draw it. It might have got close, but it wasn't "exact".

But they were/are still fairly recognizable (I hope) and people still pay

money for them.

So what's my point?

Here's my point. If you have a desire to do something, if you see someone

else do something and you feel even a small rush of "I want to do that and

I bet I can do that" - somewhere in your head or in your body - you need to go

after it!

And I have no doubt that's why you signed up here. You felt a true desire.

I find it fascinating that the Latin roots of "desire" are "de" and "Sire".

"De" meaning "from" - as in given or taken from. "Sire" meaning "Father".

In it's context, it means "from the father". "Father" in Latin culture 2000

years ago meant the same as saying "King", even God. Desire there meant


So you know you have a gift - maybe not developed

yet - when you feel a "desire". And I'm not talking about the desire you

feel for a Taco Bell Burrito, (though that sounds kinda good right now) or

the passing kinds of "desire" you feel in the Galleria. That's passing

desirousness. It fades. I'm talking about the kind that sticks - keeps

popping back up. That's the sign of a gift.

So the challenge is to do something with that desire. Art is discipline -

any art - to get good you got to practice and practice. Practice is

repetitious and often very boring. But "gold" moments come. You just got to

be ready. Practice gets you there - you get started and the "talent" will meet

you half way. So to help get you started - those of you having trouble

getting motivated (which is most of us), I've adapted this "Artist's

contract" from Julia Cameron's "The Artist's Way". (It's a great book on getting


So here it is:


Artist's Contract

I ____________________________,(your name) understand that in learning to do

caricatures I am undertaking an intensive guided encounter with my own

creativity. I commit myself to weekly reading, __________(3,4,5...) weekly

drawing sessions of ____________ minutes (15, 30, 45...).

I commit myself to completing one section of a lesson every ______ (3 days,

week, 10 days) and to the fulfillment of each weeks tasks.

I _____________________________, (your name) further understand that there

will be days when I think nothing I draw looks right and that my future as a

caricaturist will be limited. On those days I promise myself I'll accept

those uncomfortable feelings and I'll keep on drawing. (Possibly after an

hour break, a day break, some exercise, after doing something completely

different - or even after a good temper tantrum - but I promise myself I'll get

back to it!)

Lastly, If I really get stuck, I'll buy Julia Cameron's "The Artist's Way"

or something like it where I can remind myself that learning to draw

caricatures or any art for that matter, is a passage (at times a painful

one) to an expanded and enriched life. I'll remind myself I deserve praise

and congratulations - not criticism - for trying.




I'm not getting paid for plugging this book - it's just an excellent book I

think anybody jumping into the arts or even into their own business will greatly

benefit from.

See <http://www.YouCanDraw.com/TheBookstore.html#anchor477713>

Print out the contract and put it somewhere you'll see it.

2) Progress notes: The Nose: Vase/Face section is being uploaded today. I'm

starting on "Eyes" today.


Welcome aboard all new subscribers! I'd like to take a second to thank all

of you for your interest in YouCanDraw.com - Thank you! It's very encouraging

to me to see there's such an interest out there in drawing caricatures.

I'm looking forward to a long lasting partnership with all of you.


Send me your comments, questions or suggestuions: all welcome.

Until next week, keep drawing!

Jeff K.