Joel the Illustrator? The Painter? The Lettering Artist?

The past two months of drawing and writing challenges have been quite crazy. I haven’t imagined myself even posting up that much on Instagram, neither have I thought of myself ever painting in front of people. Painting was and is actually something very private to myself, and its something that I do when in deep thought or struggle.

But interestingly enough, drawing, illustrating, creating these sketches on ink and paper is something that draws some attention? Yes, I do the hashtags and all that, Yes I try to understand myself better through the processes. And I think I’ve come to understand some things about myself.

  1. The creative process can be non creative.
    There are some days when I just look at the technical aspect of things, like just taking the lettering and making it better. This doesn’t mean its bad. It means I can just focus on improving technique. I can make a face make more realistic, if I keep practicing drawing faces. You could try one shape over and over and over again, and your eyes would question everything you draw. Your eyes looking at your own drawing and telling yourself, “No, how on earth did you see that? I’m seeing something completely different”. And it could lead you down a road of self doubt in your artistic ability, or you could focus yourself to improve these things instead of saying that you can’t do it. This mindset change isn’t really creative as much as it is discipline, and that discipline is needed for everything.


  1. Who are you doing it for?
    With both challenges, I didn’t jump into the project for myself. Bible lettering came into the picture, because of an interest to do some lettered verses for Christmas at the year end. And now I actually have a ready range of lettering to draw from. Inktober was a serious push to do something for a skate brand idea that my friend Mark and I have been trying to do for ages. The aim of not myself kept me producing still.

I don’t think I’m a great person who pushes myself a lot. Yes I like to keep busy, but I enjoy that thrill of managing a schedule. However, what comes out of that schedule is not always quantifiable. Dinners with friends are priceless, I cannot think of any better way to build friendship than time over a meal. But meetings on end, and things that might not happen overnight. My “instant generation” personality kicks in, and sometimes I really want to see something here and now. Maybe not even here and now, but when I look back on my 2017, I’ve made a lot of things this year. Maybe it took me all of 2016 to prepare for, but I’m quite in awe of how God has led me through all this.

  1. God.
    This year I have asked myself and seen myself in a different timeline entirely. What I do, the time, the efforts, the thoughts, everything put together. Do you know what you have in control tomorrow? Because I have come to a good conclusion that I have no clue. Nothing is in my control. My drawings, my paintings; it looks like its going where I want it to go. But there are so many times, I look at a piece, and I wonder why I messed up this part or that. Why was my shading off here? Didn’t I see it before? Am I not in control? And I might just toss the piece immediately.

But God. I don’t have any way to describe what I understand, other than everything is in His time. Will you be able to read these words on a screen tomorrow? Will you be breathing, thinking, trying to defend control ideas, just in 5 minutes time? or are you taking that for granted?

I don’t give up on my plans, I don’t just sit there and hope God would fish me out of earth into heaven. I still do everything as much as I can. I practice my art; I think, I eat, I buy; I exercise, and try to get fit. I don’t let go of things, I’m just realising that I don’t need to get upset, angry about many things, because God’s in charge. He has his time. He has his plan. And man, who are you to demand anything different? We’re not robots, but if you could control food to train a pet to do tricks, you know that giving in too much would spoil a pet. Even tamagotchis teach kid this. Why do we think we deserve our control, when every time we try to control something, it flies so badly out of control. We mess other people up. We make mistakes.

And its a deep thought to draw (pun), but in these months of drawing, lettering, painting, that’s what I realise. Tough.

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