I just finished up Fun-A-Day 2015, this crazy-fun project where you pick a project and then do it a little bit every day. Most people tend to pick something small and do one of that thing every day (as opposed to working on a big project one day at a time) but there are no real hard and fast rules. So, I spent a day drawing my face. I did this on the sly last year and had fun, so I thought I’d document my process this year. I tracked everything at DrawYourSelfie.Tumblr.com. I also learned a few good things along the way:
1. You don’t have to do it every day.
Okay, so according to the rules, you have to do it every day. For the past few years, I’d let that freak me out and I’d stop participating (this is my fourth year doing Fun-a-Day). After letting this get me down two years in a row, last year I decided not to “formally” participate, but actually wound up doing it every day. This year, when I decided to document, I was worried that I’d let my old tendency freak me out. But not so much. I’ve realized that I can still consider myself a participant even if I’m only participating most days. Having the flu and not feeling like doing anything, much less drawing a portrait, is okay. Needing a day where nothing important happens, not even art, is also okay.
More generally, this was a great experience because I’ve often struggled with self-defining, because I don’t do ANYTHING all the time. Like, I didn’t consider myself a “game designer” for awhile because I’m not published and I wasn’t working on designs frequently. But that doesn’t mean I can’t identify with this activity and subsequently, this identity and community.
2. However, doing something most days means you get better at it, especially if you take it lightly.
That said, it turns out that practice does indeed make perfect. If you take a look at my first few days, they’re…a little scary. But, having done this last year, I knew that it didn’t really matter, and that in aggregate, the drawing would look pretty cool. This year, toward the end, I actually got quite a bit better at drawing, so you can see improvement as time goes by. It doesn’t happen all at once, and certainly some parts of some drawings are better than in others, but doing this every day really did boost my skill level.
3. Posting your work every day is really freeing.
Part of what I did this year was document my process, which is a scary new thing for me. I tend to keep my creations private, because I don’t really want to put them out there. But I found that sharing everything, good and bad, was really freeing and made me feel, in turn, more creative. I knew that not everything I was posted was amazing, but the act of just putting it out there, regardless of whatever judgment would come my way, was really helpful.
I think each of these aspects of Fun-a-Day are good to put into practice in other areas of my life. For example, when it comes to game design, designing more games is a great way to get better. Putting stuff online as a print and play means you can get more thoughts on your ideas more quickly. Waiting until you have “the perfect game” means it might take awhile before you put anything out there…if you ever do.