WHAT IS THE 9 DAY INITIATIVE?
The 9 Day Initiative is a project I started to give myself something to post to Instagram.
Basically, it’s 9 days of art, which fits a theme.
Read on to learn more.
WHY DID YOU START THE INITIATIVE?
I had been posting concept art for a WIP book, but I realized I was running out of ideas for things to post, without spoiling things for the story. I don’t regret posting what I did, because it helped me flesh out my ideas, but it got to the point where I had to stop posting the concept art and start a project specifically for Instagram.
I’m a somewhat skilled artist, thanks to many years of honing my skills by myself, and a few years of formal art education.
But, I still think I need to improve my skills, because I struggle with a few basic things, like proportions and perspective. I’ve been known to draw people with arms that are too long, for example, when I’m trying to do a somewhat realistic drawing. Suffice to say, I need to hone my skills even more.
The solution? Practice!
Lots and lots of practice, hopefully to the point where the things that I’m weak in become things that are almost second nature to me. For one thing, I want to get to the point where I can draw a figure, and know instinctively how long their arms should be, without even having to look at an artist’s model. My goal is to become a professional level skilled illustrator.
Truth be told, I also had the vague notion that it might help me get more followers on Instagram if I did an Initiative. But, I have less followers now than when I started as of this writing. So, as of now, it’s not something I’d recommend for trying to increase your follower count. Just something for a bit of fun and practice.
But, I’ll be sticking with it, because I do think it’ll help me achieve my goal of improving my art skills.
WHY 9 DAYS?
Instagram has a 9 picture grid that shows when you look at someone’s profile, so I figured 9 posts that feature a similar theme would look good when someone looked at mine.
Also, I figured that drawing only 9 pictures of a certain theme would help me avoid both creative burnout and boredom.
I’ve heard it said that it’s a good idea to have an overarching theme for what you post on Instagram. I decided that mine is that everything I post will be ink drawings, while giving myself the flexibility of the Initiative. It’ll help me improve my overall skill at drawing in black and white, the style of illustration I intend to use for my books.
WHAT ARE THE GUIDELINES FOR THE INITIATIVE?
9 days of art, which fit a theme, with the suggestion of having an overarching theme for all of what you post.
The 9 day theme could be anything. First, I did pictures of angry people, and then I did robots. It’s up to the artist, what theme they choose.
The overarching theme for my Instagram account is black and white ink drawings.
Another suggestion is to create 9 posts worth of art ahead of time, or 6, or even 3, so that you always have something ready to post and can keep it consistent. A buffer, in case life happens.
I’ve had days where life found a way of getting in the way of me creating art, and I wasn’t able to draw or post anything.
But, I’ve heard, consistency is key to social media. So, in the future I intend to do a few posts ahead of time, so I don’t have as much trouble keeping a consistent posting schedule.
WHY DID YOU PICK A CERTAIN THEME?
The behind the scenes of the themes I’ve had so far is that I’m targeting my weaknesses. I struggle with drawing expressions, so the first theme was 9 days of improving my ability to draw anger. Drawing the robots helped me improve my ability to do perspective and texture.
The point is to identify my weaknesses, and practice to the point where they become strengths.
I also want to build on what I’ve done before, and experiment with things I’ve never tried.
I do the best I’m capable of at the time, each and every time. After I’m “done” with each picture, I analyze it, to see where there’s still room for improvement. Usually the mistakes can be glaringly obvious, like the too long arms in an attempt at a realistically rendered human figure.
My goal is to at least get to the point where my mistakes are at least more subtle. I’m hoping to see marked improvement in my skills during the years to come.
I know perfection is impossible for an imperfect human being, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to get as close to it as humanly possible.
I HAVE A SUGGEST FOR A THEME, DO YOU WANT TO HEAR IT?
I’m hesitant to accept theme suggestions for two reasons.
One, for now, I’m enjoying coming up with my own themes, and I have a deliberately vague notion of what order I want to do my themes in. I’m having fun, and posting the results to Instagram.
Two, I’m not sure I can for legal reasons. Maybe it’s like how a script writer can’t take fan suggestions for a TV show they’re writing, because it could lead to legal actions down the road. I’m not sure what the initiative could develop into, and I feel a lot more comfortable avoiding things that could muddy the legal waters. I want to keep it clear who owns my art, and had the ideas that led to it.
It’s also why I won’t do fan art of other people’s or company’s characters as themes. I prefer to create my own characters, so I’m free and clear to use them as I see fit. I might end up developing ideas created for the Initiative into larger works.
WHAT IF I WANT TO DO AN INITIATIVE OF MY OWN?
Go ahead, make my day.
I’d advise making your own themes, to suit the type of art you create. Remember, there’s no rules set in stone for art, just whatever guidelines you create for yourself.
I’d suggest using your own unique hashtags for your Initiative.
I’m hesitant to say use the 9dayinitiative hashtag, because I’d prefer to be the only one using it, but I can’t really stop other people from using a hashtag. But, if other people started using it, then I might have to come up with a new unique hashtag, just for my art for my Initiative. It’s difficult to create a new unique hashtag.
If other people do use the hashtag, I take no responsibility whatsoever for what they post. It’s their art, or photos, or whatever. If it’s offensive to you, for any reason, blame the artist responsible for actually creating the art and complain to them.
If you are an artist, and someone does complain to you about your art, my suggestion is to ignore them, unless it’s constructive criticism. They’re clearly not part of your audience if they’re complaining about your art.
WHAT IF I DON’T LIKE YOUR INITIATIVE AND/OR ART?
That’s fine. You don’t have to like it.
Just don’t expect me to stop doing it, because you don’t like it.
My suggestion is to find artists you do like, and support them by buying their art and sharing whatever they post to social media.
Maybe let them know how you feel about their art, because artists tend to like knowing their hard work is appreciated.
Focus on what you like, what makes you happy, and you’ll probably feel better.
Remember, what you focus on determines what your reality is.
I LIKE YOUR ART, WHAT IF I WANT TO SUPPORT YOU BY BUYING SOME OF YOUR WORK?
First of all, I’d like to thank you for liking my art. Makes the hard work I put into it feel worth it.
If you would like to show your appreciation monetarily, well, as of this writing, I don’t have much art available to purchase.
At least, not of the quality I’d feel comfortable selling to you, the fine members of my audience.
But, I assure you I have several projects in the works. This question will be updated when I have more art, and other work, available to purchase.
For now, I’d appreciate it if you followed me on Instagram, if you don’t already, as well as on Twitter.
That’s the best way to stay updated on my projects.
WHAT IF I’M AN ALIEN FROM ANOTHER WORLD, AND I NEED TO CONTACT YOU TO OFFER YOU A RIDE HOME?
You shouldn’t be trying to contact me so publicly on the internet. If you really are an alien, you should know the proper, private channels for contacting me.
WHAT IF I’M NOT AN ALIEN, BUT I’D STILL LIKE TO CONTACT YOU ABOUT YOUR INITIATIVE AND/OR ART?
I’d suggest Direct Messaging me on Twitter or Instagram.