Everyone should draw a few times without using an eraser. It’s amazing what this can do for your way of thinking.
I am an artist. I have been drawing since it was disney characters and dragons. The one thing I have never really done until recently was draw without the ability to erase. It has always been the light gray dusting of lead onto paper, and the constant altering, smudging, erasing that comes in between. It’s beautiful – to me at least. Seeing something come together one line at a time. Even as I am doing it I can feel the excitement of what it will become.
Yet it is very safe, in a way. Oh, you always have that wonder – Will it come out ok? Still you never have to worry about creating a mark you can’t take back. Recently, I started to hand paint some designs on shirts. This is a whole other experience. One little line with the brush that you didn’t want there could mean an hour of painting all done for nothing.
It is somewhat exciting. And nerve racking. And heart pumping. And…it teaches you something. You must start relying on yourself more. You are forced into believing in yourself, because doing otherwise means you are going to fail. Thinking from the start that I am going to mess up means you open up mistakes that are not about your ability to do something, but your mental strength. Your belief.
So I started doing it more. I started sketching with pen on paper. It not only has changed my way of thinking, but it is improving me as well. I focus more. I put more effort into giving this drawing, this thing that will become a person, a flower, a building, some tangible beautiful unknown thing. I know I got to get it right. Not twenty erase lines later, but this pen line. Now.
If only we applied this no eraser rule to all the things we do in our lives. Most of the things we do we can’t fix with an eraser. It’s like we don’t want to accept it though. Too often, we pretend things can be taken back and begun again when instead we should be embracing this heart pounding, nerve racking, exciting building of decisions which becomes our lives. Instead, we should believe in ourselves and our abilities. We should strive for excellance.
So, every once in a while I think it’s a good exercise. To know what it feels like to create something that you can’t go backwards for. Practice it enough, and maybe we’d find there is nothing we can’t do.