On Drawing, Doodling, and Wasting Time


This week I paged through a Moleskine journal that I’d filled 2 years ago, and was instantly transported back to precise moments I’d made those tiny line drawings and loose watercolor illustrations.

I admired the time-consuming work of a younger me in my part-diary, part-sketchbook.

It’s who I am.

My journaling is a holistic record of my experiences, both written and drawn.

The beloved embellishments, experimental typography, and contour drawings, large and tiny, serious and silly, are made with love.

I need to doodle.

Devoting time to my doodling is not a luxury.

It used to be a battle, though.

When I painted this maple tree, I was going through a period in which I wasn’t drawing very often. Immediately I felt an unwelcome yammering in my head screaming this is a waste of time.

It was a struggle that I won.

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Artists, we all have critical voices and resistant left hemispheres to fight. Simply answer:

Shut up now, brain. We are creating.

That’s a valid reply when an undisciplined brain starts whining.

(Don’t worry, your brain will settle down and learn to enjoy it, the more you create.)

Have I ever regretted the time I spent doing art?


Have I ever regretted the time I spent with God?


The time I spend responding to wonder is refreshing, clarifying, rejuvinating, and sets my perspective and heart right again. That’s not worthless. It’s the most valuable thing there is.

Kind of like pouring a bottle of beautiful perfume as an act of worship, which (of course) will always be criticized by cynics.

And another thing. Ever think about what endures through history?

The typical store-bought clothing, big box furniture, electronics, bills, and other artifacts? They don’t survive.

But art-ful things do. Objects people crafted with care as a response to inspiration and meaning survive. Oral traditions survive. Poems survive. Art and literature survives.

Art, writing, and creative innovations are what speak to the rest of us, hundreds of years later.

Plus, when you factor in the joy of making something that didn’t exist before, it’s a clincher.

So the time you wonder if making something is “worth” it– the answer is yes. Making is a visual testament to our very existence.

Create stuff today.

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