Spoiler: no, you should not. ͏ ‌     ­ ͏ ‌     ­ ͏ ‌     ­ ͏ ‌     ­ ͏ ‌     ­ ͏ ‌     ­ ͏ ‌     ­ ͏ ‌     ­ This newsletter is about drawing. It goes out every Friday. Want to draw? Then check out my free workbook!

#26 - Should Artists Create Art With Social Media In Mind?

Spoiler: no, you should not.

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“Practice Drawing This” is about getting you—and me!—into our sketchbooks. For that, I make YouTube videos that require me to draw. That way, I can draw and have something that I can base my videos on. I hope that you find them inspiring to watch and listen to while drawing.

The topic for today: you shouldn’t make art just for social media. Social media, if you let it, will just gobble up all of your time.

For the last two years or so, I often ended up in a process where I kept making things just for Instagram, and that’s just not the thing I wanted to do. What you see in the video above is what I want to do: I want to draw!

So I decided to turn it around, and I think you should too. I believe artists should make things first and then figure out how to make social media posts out of them.I was recently thinking that we should maybe make a social media platform for artists, one where you are not punished for not publishing every day, because, ideally, artists should post when their work is finished, so they can make it perfect.

With the social media landscape, you are forced to publish and publish constantly. And because you have to post every day, you end up making things just for social media first, and I have decided to break with that, focusing on filling sketchbooks instead and seeing what I can create that can be used on social media platforms.

When I became a father, it became much harder to find time to draw, which is actually why “Practice Drawing This” was created. I had been looking into ways to make it easier to start drawing. One of the considerable time sinks for all of us, I think, is social media. With “Practice Drawing This,” I am trying to develop drawing exercises to post on social media because that is where we hang out when we feel like procrastinating.

I wanted to make something that would make it easier for you and me to start spending time in your sketchbooks.

In the video above, I am still talking about something I tried on Instagram: Reels with ideas for drawing. I did that for a month and then looked at the statistics, and I was shocked! I saw no difference! There was no increase in engagement or follower count. Nothing. Just statistical noise fluctuations.

I had made these Reels in an efficient way, but even then, if the result is zero, there’s no point. And it distracted me from what I wanted to do: I wanted to draw! And here I was making stupid Reels.

Social media platforms have a way of getting you to do a lot of work for them, on spec (speculation that it will find an audience). But it is often for nothing.

It’s a bit like participating in creative contests: you are forced into a position where you have to second-guess what a jury is looking for and it is almost always a waste of time.

It felt liberating to let that go and do some fun drawing again!

My Favorite Drawing Exercises

If you are on one of the social media treadmills, then, this week, try just to make things and forget that social media exists! You’ll find it liberating. It will feel like you can breathe again. Make a lot of stuff, and then look at it again weeks later and decide if some of it is worth posting.

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