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Art Prompt #200: Penguin Party! 🐧🎉
And Thoughts on a Goalless Art Practice
Welcome to Week #200 of Might Could Draw Today (MCDT)! I’m here to invite you to draw with me today!
👋 If you’re new here: I started MCDT in 2016 and through its various iterations, it has spurred the creation of over 20,000 pieces of art by hundreds of artists from around the world! A new art prompt is delivered every Monday and you have the week to draw from that theme however you choose.
Y’all, y’all, y’all!
Today marks 200 WEEKS of MightCouldDrawToday!
Holy moly, I can’t believe we’ve done 200 weeks of drawing prompts. Imagine all the sketchbooks we’ve filled up together! All the new art we’ve created! And all the artists from around the world we’ve met!
Truly, MCDT is one of my favorite things and has been a buoy and a source of light for me through many difficult times. As I was writing this email I began pondering… why is MCDT so special to me? What is it about drawing these completely random things in my sketchbook that feels so good?
I’ve realized it’s this: MCDT is a goalless practice. We are just drawing to draw. We’re not drawing for clients. We’re not drawing for class assignments. We’re not drawing to compete in a competition, to be hung up in a gallery show, or to create a product to sell.
MightCouldDrawToday is simply about drawing for the sake of drawing. How thrilling that we can draw such random, pointless things like anthropomorphic bugs, raccoons playing banjos, and penguin parties for no reason other than just to do it?
It’s been drilled into our brains that everything we do must be productive. That something is only worth doing if it will give us concrete results—if it will improve something. But the problem with this kind of goal-oriented activity is that it instills in us a sense that where we are right now is not good enough. That what is here right now is less desirable than what could be.
And that constantly striving mindset stops us from ever being satisfied with our art, ourselves, or our life.
If we always draw with a vague goal to “get better at drawing”, when will we ever feel that we have met that goal? When will we be better? When will we be satisfied? That type of goal will forever be on the horizon, unattainable. We will always feel like our art is not good enough.
When I started MightCouldDrawToday in 2016, I unknowingly began a journey to a goalless art practice. I had spent the previous two years grinding away, taking class after class, trying to “get better” at drawing (and seemingly getting nowhere). But on that first day of MCDT, I gave up on getting better.
And that was the moment that I truly began to enjoy drawing. That was when I stopped struggling and striving and trying so hard, and I just started… drawing.
Drawing for the sake of it. Drawing whatever completely random thing that came into my head every Monday morning. These prompts have given my art practice a lightness, looseness, and sense of freedom. MCDT has taught me, over the course of 200 weeks, that we don’t have to take drawing so dang seriously.
We can still have little goals for our art, such as drawing 3 times a week. But we can keep those guidelines loose and self-compassionate. Sometimes we’ll meet them, sometimes we won’t. Either way, we can let them be and not get swept up in the achievement (or lack thereof).
As for our overall art practice, we can attempt to remain goalless. I no longer draw as a way of chasing after that elusive, unachievable goal: “to get better at drawing”. There is, of course, a voice still in my head, yapping away wishing for better skills, better technique, better whatever. But I’ve learned, over these 200 weeks, that I don’t have to listen to it.
And meanwhile, my hands will just keep drawing.
MCDT Live Drawing Events
❗️TODAY, Monday, Nov. 28, 7–8pm EST is the next MCDT Live, our monthly virtual drawing hour available to all paid subscribers. This will be a special one to celebrate 200 Weeks of MCDT! The link to join will be emailed out to all paid subscribers on the day of the event, so upgrade here if you want to join!
This Week’s MCDT Art Prompt
Week #200: Nov. 28–Dec. 4, 2022
Theme: Penguin Party
Realistic penguins, anthropomorphic penguins, a group of penguins, a baby penguin, penguins in party hats, penguins dancing, penguins eating cake… what idea does Penguin Party spark for you?
Share Your Art with Us!
Oooooh, check out those goreous Week #199 Mahakala artworks above! Drawing the same thing collectively is all the more fun when we can share and see each other’s work. Thank you to everyone who shared their Mahakalas last week! Let’s keep it goin’—share your Penguin Parties with us all week long in Studiomates!
Extras for Paid Subscribers
A Related Essay from the Archive: The Self-Compassionate Artist
“Tapping into that self-compassion helps us zoom out, look at our art more humbly, and realize that everyone messes up. We are not Art-Gods who never make a mistake. We're humans, and we're all just out here stumbling and fumbling our way around. When we can look at our mistakes with acceptance, the crushing pressure of perfection falls away.” Read more…