Dawn DeVries Sokol


Jumping on My Soapbox

Over in the Art Doodle Love Facebook group, I’ve had to get on my soapbox a few times to cheer beginning artists on. One Art Doodle Lover said she was afraid she’d ruin her copy. Here’s what I had to say to that:

I'm STILL reading a few reviews on Amazon and comments here about those of you who are "scared" or "worried" about marking in this book. But let me say something...THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT I CREATED IT FOR! I fought to get this book published...I authored 3 books before anyone was willing to publish this one. If not in this book, WHERE?? I wish there had been a book like this when I was starting to art journal but there wasn't. All I needed was to be nudged. And that's what you need, too. If you bought this book or were gifted this book, you just need to do it!

As someone who's been there and done that, I can tell you, do not waste any time not creating if that's what you want to do. Yes, you'll have days where you just don't have it in you and that's fine, but if you're just watching others and dreaming—which is OK if you're also creating—if that's ALL you're doing, STOP. Jump head first into your copy of
Art Doodle Love and give yourself up to it. You won't regret it!

Don't compare your work to others', don't worry about what it ends up looking like, don't, don't, don't! You're just creating roadblocks by doing this. I speak from experience.

Yet I still see those unwilling. Those afraid to “mess up” their books or not “living up” to what others are doing in the group. It’s frustrating to watch because I know how it feels. I was one of those people once. I was brought up believing that I wasn’t an artist unless I drew realistically, like my brother. I admired Michelangelo and da Vinci and thought I HAD to create like them in order to call myself an artist.

I am amazed at what’s happening on the Art Doodle Love Facebook group. But I’m also frustrated when I see some saying that if they can’t “draw” like others have been in the book, what’s the point? Excuse me! The point is that this book was CREATED for people that are beginning their art journeys. That is the main reason I authored it! Why must we tear ourselves down before we even try? Why do we give up so easily? Why do we use others’ art as an excuse to not try?

I did this for A LONG TIME. I looked at others’ artwork, telling myself I would never be that good, never be able to create such beautiful pieces, and the only thing I was CREATING at the time was a HUGE roadblock for myself! I think I finally just got tired of beating myself down. I wanted to create more than I wanted anything, and that included just sitting on the sidelines. I didn’t want that anymore.

It’s SO much easier to sit by and say “I can’t draw so why even try?” Or “I need such and such supply before I can create like I want to.” It’s quite another to do something about it. To realize that all you need is a pen or pencil OF ANY KIND and a piece of paper to doodle. To KNOW supply gathering, that all the preparation in the world, that thinking about it and “looking to others for inspiration” isn’t the same as JUST DOING IT. You only get “better” by DOING.

And yes, I am frustrated reading these kinds of comments or hearing someone say this in one of my classes. You know why? It’s because that was ME a few years ago. And I FINALLY had a lightbulb moment, one that will forever be frozen in my mind. It was the one where a dear friend pointed out to me that the very artwork I admired and called “artwork” wasn’t drawn realistically. Why was it OK for someone else to create that way and be called an artist but not me? And it hit me like a mack truck. It was the day that started MY art journey.