INKtober Day Ten – The Elves and the Shoemaker

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inktober day ten by jeffrey johnson of red herring illustrationDo you remember the story The Elves and the Shoemaker? The story goes that a shoemaker would cut the leather for the next day’s shoes every night before bed. When he woke and went down to the shop in the morning, he’d find that the shoes would be mysteriously finished. He discovers that elves had been entering the shop in the night to do the work of assembling his carefully chosen and cut shoe pieces. The more I think about this story, the more I wonder who was the artist, and who was the laborer?

The two characters in the story, represent two aspects of the artist, which really can’t exist without each other. There are no elves to do the finish work for me. Doing the initial work of observing, thinking, and drawing though, set me up to do make art more quickly and professionally. Putting in the hours making patterns and cutting leather honed the shoemakers craft. Putting in the hours drawing and dreaming hone mine.

I’ve been loving watching other artists work through INKtober this year, and I think the community aspect of the challenge is amazing and helps push us all forward. This year I’ve been especially inspired by Lucy Bellwood (@lubellwoo on instagram) with her #drawyourdemons series, and Scott Fischer (@scottmfischer on instagram) who has been doing really amazing videos of his INKtober drawings.

Doing the daily chores of building the craft behind the art allows me to grow in ways that focusing on making finished work just can’t. Facing the challenge of working as a gift, for myself, without expectation of “payment” has been rewarding in ways that I suspected but didn’t really expect.

  • Allowing myself to admit that the work makes me anxious seems to be helping me face that anxiety.
  • Doing it for myself means that it doesn’t have to be perfect.
  • Because I don’t need it to be perfect, I’m able to embrace mistakes.
  • Fearing the mistakes less means that I’m more likely to experiment.
  • Moving forward. 😀

I feel like the drawings are getting stronger, and I’m enjoying doing them more every day. I’m really excited about tomorrow.

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