Practice may not make ‘perfect’

Published 2:00 pm Thursday, October 27, 2022

When I was a graphic design student at Southern Miss, my professor Mr. House asked me what kind of art I really wanted to focus on.

I said illustration — like books and advertising — and maybe animation.

He said, “Hmm. I’ve worked with a lot of animators. They’re weird people with a very different mindset.”

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He started to walk away and added, “You’d probably fit right in.”

Once, my figure drawing prof Mr. Meade flipped through the quick sketches I had done for his class over the weekend.

“You draw like a German,” he said as he handed my work back and moved on to the next student.

Meade had studied in Italy and didn’t care much for German art.

I was apparently a different-thinking artist with a tendency to draw decisive lines rather than be looser in my sketches. I’m still that way.

I can live with that.

Am I the best artist ever? No.

But do I practice hard every day to be the best I can be? Also no.

What I actually do is sketch some every day on scratch sheets of paper and toss most of them in the trash. If there’s something I like about the sketch, I’ll hang on to it, whether I like the finished product or if it has something in it I want to recall for later.

I start most drawings the way I start most columns, one of two ways — (1) I know where I want to end up, so I jump in where I think is a good place to start; or (2) I have no idea where I’m going, but I had a brief thought that I want to pursue long enough to see where it leads me.

Not surprisingly, the second option is usually the one I use.

I don’t always like what I have drawn or written, but the practice is always beneficial, because (hopefully) it leads me to be better at it. At the least, it gives me an opportunity to practice something I overall enjoy.

It was hard for me to get up this morning. My joints were aching and I didn’t sleep well, so I was still rather tired. But I knew if I did not just “bite the bullet” and get up, several things would happen — I’d be very late for work, if I made it at all; I probably would not feel any better physically; and my coffee would not make itself.

So I got up. I started. I have no idea where this day will take me. I know some of what it is supposed to contain — meetings, calls, interviews, lunch — and where I want it to end — at home, back in my bed. But what will I focus on in the meantime?

I want to be a good servant of God, a good employee, a good neighbor and friend. I’ll probably do it with a different mindset and not be as “loose” as I may need to be, but I’ll take it a step at a time. I’ll probably not be satisfied with everything that happens, but the practice will be beneficial.

News editor Brett Campbell can be reached at