And the relative merits of keeping things private in your sketchbooks. ͏ ‌     ­ ͏ ‌     ­ ͏ ‌     ­ ͏ ‌     ­ ͏ ‌     ­ ͏ ‌     ­ ͏ ‌     ­ ͏ ‌     ­ This newsletter is about drawing. It goes out every Friday. Want to draw? Then check out my free workbook!

#68 - What And How Much Artists Should Share Online About Themselves And Their Art

And the relative merits of keeping things private in your sketchbooks.

Warm-Up Drawing Exercises

some of my sketchbook pages
Sketchbook pages of my doing Peter Han's excellent Dynamic Sketching course.

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Last week, I told you to get off social media. And, if you know me, I will, of course, this week, argue the opposite.

Go back online!

If you had a Twitter account, that is. I don’t trust the new owners. Bad actors can use your data in terrible ways.

Think about it. If you have posts dating back to 2016, do your friends still regularly look at them?

Your family? Do they deep-dive into your past posts? No! No, they don’t.

Who does?

Well. Unscrupulous marketing departments from various other companies might. A former Twitter engineer said that a telecom company had pressured him into providing personally identifiable location information of people using the app. Things like who had walked into competitor’s stores.

And also, maybe even worse, stalkers might.

And hackers might. Now that Twitter has laid off a large part of its team, the platform will become easier for hackers to hack and get their hands on your personal information: email, passwords, and maybe even credit card numbers.

And scammers. Now that you can buy a blue checkmark for eight dollars a month, everyone can impersonate an official entity and get you to, for example, click on a malware link.

And intelligence agencies. They can deep-dive into your past posts and learn surprisingly much about you.

These entities would not think twice about hurting you if it benefited them.

I’ve long wondered why social media platforms let you keep stuff indefinitely; it’s not in your best interest. People who check you out want to see your most recent work, your best work, and all else should be gone.

Your social media feeds contain a ton of information bad actors can use against you. So clean that up. And then delete the apps because these also track information.

Why stay there? You need to start paying eight dollars a month if you want people to see your posts. You become an advertiser. And! You only see posts from other people who paid those eight dollars, and you effectively only see posts by other advertisers.

And it will get worse. Haters will flood the place. The platform will become unstable. Elon Musk will remove the ability to block ads and Twitter Blue accounts.

Elon Musk made it uncool to be on Twitter in just one week. Most people will leave. If the platform doesn’t crash and burn down by itself, that is.

Here’s a question you can ask in a situation like this: if I didn’t already have an account, would I start one now? In my case, no, I would not.

This week, I went and nuked my entire Twitter presence. I had an account over there with 4K+ followers. Gone.

And honestly, it feels great.

I had started getting back on the platform, and I couldn’t look away from the slow train wreck unfolding there. The technology is designed to be addictive, and it is very good at it.

Then the heads responsible for security and data privacy resigned, and I figured I was not safe there anymore.

Which other social media platform should you be on? Instagram? Mastodon?

You know the answer.

NONE! You need to get back to your sketchbook!

After you cleanse your Twitter account, that is. Or better yet, remove your entire presence there.

I’ve been spending a lot of time in my sketchbook again this week. I drew and wrote things I won’t show you because that’s the beauty of a sketchbook.

This is how every artist should be dealing with social media.

In contrast to social media, a sketchbook is private! You get to work through things you are struggling with. I wrote a ton about my thoughts on Twitter. I drew many designs for Twitter-related cartoons. You can work through things.

I’ll do an article on Morning Pages soon. They are great for thinking things through. You have to promise you will not show it to everyone because that allows you to be honest and frank with yourself without censoring yourself, worrying about what other people might think of it, and feeling like you have to be diplomatic about it.

Because writing is drawing, too, as letters are little abstract symbols you can use to practice your hand dexterity.

I’ll be doing a lot more drawing-from-memory exercises in the coming period. It is hard work, but at the same time, it is fun, and it yields results I am happy with.

It’s wonderful to fill pages without forcing yourself to “do good things.” It doesn’t matter; that’s not the point.

Goofing off. You know, privately. In your super-secure, private sketchbook. Far away from the hackers, scammers, stalkers, and bad agents out there trying to hurt you.

If you draw things with social media posts in mind, you end up censoring yourself.

We artists used to develop our skills in private for years, far away from the stupid limelight of social media.

This week, your assignment, if you want one, is to pick a sketchbook and promise not to show it to anyone. Or you could grab some loose leaves of printer paper, if necessary, to draw and write on and even tell yourself you will throw them away later.

See what happens when you start making things not intended to be seen by others. See if you dare to do something you would not otherwise do because you have in the back of your mind that you will show your work to other people.

Try it; I found it liberating!

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