"Sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of embarrassing bravery and I promise you, something great will come of it."
Benjamin Mee (We Bought a Zoo)
So last week, I was working in my journal, minding my own business, when I got hit upside the head with a major case of "What If?" It occurred to me, literally in a matter of moments, that while I had been practicing illustrating creatures and critters for some time, never once had a monster crossed the line between my sketchbook and my journals. At the same moment in time, I felt an overwhelming urge to radically change my working style, just to see what would happen.
So out came the black gesso. I hesitated. Yes, I did. In just a second or two, several thoughts flashed through my mind: "What if people hate this?" "What if I hate this?" "I can't tear out this page if it all goes to hell." "What am I doing?" "Why am I doing this?"
And then, I just dipped my brush deep into the gesso and slapped a generous puddle of the inky black medium onto my page. More panic as I realize I've applied too much and a river of gesso is in danger of running off the page, flooding the rest of my journal. I regain my wits quickly, however, and stem the black tide. I manage to remove the extra and let the rest dry. Now what?
Somewhere deep inside my brain, a switch was thrown and I just knew how to proceed. No hesitation, no fear. This little ogre is the result. And once I completed him, I turned the page and without a second thought, began to play with wild abandon. This week and next, you'll see the results of letting go, of exploration, of bravery, of questioning, and answering.