By Sarah Aterrado - August 26, 2023

I still remember the last time I drew something. It was Valentine's Day four years ago when, like any other Valentine's, Jan and I had nothing better to do. It was a year before the pandemic but staying home was already a much better choice that day.

So Jan challenged me to draw something and I did.

This is Jan's cat, Fiona.
But before drawing this, my sketchbook had been kept inside the drawer for three years. So it goes without saying that I've only been drawing every three or four years (stickman drawings on this blog do not count).

Then two days ago, I read this post from a VerY WiSe mAN 🙃:

This kuya artist woke up one day and sought out violence by unleashing his crackpot opinion. 

Obviously and rightly so, seasoned and aspiring artists alike stormed his post. He was thrown with brutal realities of other artists in hopes that it would snap him out of his bubble. But sadly, not one amazing artist among the thousands in the comments section was able to dilute his arrogance.

There is no humbling down for this guy. Sure, he is great with his craft. But no matter how splendid his works are and how much he believes himself to be right, I stand firm when I say that he makes no god damned sense. 

The motivational value of his post is absolutely zero. If anything, it invalidates the different struggles of those artists who took indefinite breaks for whatever reason. And I strongly believe that not a single artist is going to disagree with me.

Blocks, demotivation, slump, self-doubt. It's all part of the creative process. Overcome at your own pace. (This is an illustration I created a few years ago—after going through a long phase of creative block. Done in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.)
I didn't know that being an artist comes with an expiration date. So by this logic, my self-proclaimed title has been unequivocally revoked. I am no longer an artist alongside Da Vinci, Queen, or George R.R. Martin who obviously kept us waiting 5,218 weeks between masterpieces. Arte na lang talaga meron ako.

But for the sake of checking if I still possess this slightly used, God-given talent after four years of hiatus (to which kuya artist also translated as laziness), I did this:
Subject: My first-born, Rhett. Weapons of choice: Staedler graphite blue, Uni Pin Fine Line.
I know this is nothing compared to the stellar works of the thousands of artists in this country. But even with an untrained hand, I think I did a great job. And I would like to believe that this would have been much more impressive had I practiced frequently from the moment I started scribbling on our wall when I was three. My strokes would have been finer and I would have gotten the shadings right. Who knows? I might even have my own art exhibit.

But art is not all there is. I do other things that make me feel alive. I've got far more important things to focus on like mothering three hyperactive albeit adorable kids and learning a new programming language in between because I need to upskill to get a higher pay because I want to help Jan with the finances because I do a lot of shopping and our number one dream is to travel the world and, frankly, my love for arts alone won't get us anywhere. 

This, however, proves that I can go on for years without drawing a single line and can still call myself an artist. No arthritis nor a narrow-minded art gatekeeper can tell me otherwise.

Colored in Adobe Photoshop.
P.S. Other than this, I haven't done anything creative (weather traditional or digital) in a while. But you can also check my old design portfolio here and see some of the works I've done professionally.

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