ON DISCIPLINE: THIS IS HOW I GET WORK
Discipline. So necessary yet can be so elusive. It's integral to developing craft (or getting anything done, for that matter); yet in our world, it can sometimes be hard to come by. "Discipline" is defined as "the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience." No wonder we don't like it.
One of our goals for the new year is to learn as much as we can from our super-smart and talented community. Adopting better practices of discipline was top on our list and we thought, who better to learn from than members who've committed to posting daily work?
Meet WNW Member #1169 Josh LaFayette. Josh is a Boston-based illustrator who has worked for clients that include Nike, Oscar Meyer, Atlantic Records, New Balance, and BMG/Sony. He credits daily drawings for his development and success as a freelance illustrator. "I’ve learned that idea generation is a skill that can be practiced and sharpened just like anything else." Check out our interview with Josh below and make sure to visit his blog.
How’d you start?
My close pal and mentor, Chris Piascik, definitely influenced my decision to start. I’ve been making things and putting them on the Internet since I got my first computer in college, but I decided to make it “a thing” in 2011.
I used to be very bad at doing things consistently and I wanted to change that about myself. Also, I knew that I eventually wanted to be an independent artist and to do that I figured I would need a following. I had seen how much of a following Chris had gotten from posting everyday, so I went for it, too.
Did you declare that you were going to post every day or were you doing this anyway and then declared it?
In 2008, I made a blog post about how I was going to post everyday. I made it exactly 2 days into the project before I failed. Then in 2011, I quietly started posting every weekday (after a pep talk from Chris that went something like, “Dude, just do it. Just draw something right now and start today.”) Then on Jan 1 2012, I “announced” that I was doing a drawing everyday that year, and I succeeded. In 2013, I switched to only weekdays, and I’ve been going ever since. Just posted #961 tonight!
How did you choose Instagram as your medium?
Well, I post to a ton of social media sites everyday—flickr, Society6, tumblr, dribbble, twitter, my blog, and Instagram (I used to do Pinterest, but Pinterest is ungood for self promotion). Instagram has proven to be the most beneficial as far as connections and gaining clients.
Do you stockpile a few in advance?
Sometimes if I’m going on vacation or something. But that’s rare. I usually do them sometime between 7–11pm, every Sunday night through Thursday night.
Did you ever almost quit? How’d you keep going?
I’ve said out loud, “AGH I WANNA QUIT!” like 100 times, but I’ve never actually almost quit. This is how I get work. Stopping would be v bad and ungood for my life and career.
How have you seen your work change?
My work has gotten outrageously better. Not only my technique and ability to render more like I want to, but my ability to come up with ideas. I’ve learned that idea generation is a skill that can be practiced and sharpened just like anything else.
What’s the hardest part?
Coming up with ideas, for sure. Sometimes the thinking of the idea takes much longer than doing the actual drawing.
Who else is doing this that you admire?
Have I mentioned Chris Piascik? DR. ME in Manchester, UK is in the middle of project called 365 Days of Collage that I’m really into. Tim Bontan in Rotterdam, The Netherlands just wrapped a 365 days of lettering project that is just incredible. I just learned of Marta Ryczko who recently did 1000 days of drawing and started an Everyday Letter project this year that’s great. Also, though technically not everyday, Mikey Burton’s Barrel Body project is outta sight.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned in doing this?
I used to feel straight up awful at drawing. Now I feel not-awful at drawing, and other people pay me to draw for them. That is a direct result of drawing everyday. Perseverance, consistency, and honesty with yourself will result in improvement. You can’t get worse—you can only get better.