I think I’m going to recommit to learning American Sign Language this week. It’s been ages (I don’t even know how long, honestly) since I’ve gotten any practice in. I stalled out at Lesson 13 sometimes in probably February and just haven’t gotten back to it.
I know a lot has been said, including by me personally, about not feeling pressured to be “productive” or to emerge from quarantine with a bevy of new skills in tow. But my anxiety has been hovering around baseline (with a lot of restrictions on social media consumption), and if I’m in a headspace conducive to pursuing an interest, I might as well — I certainly have the time to fill.
Even though it’s been a while since I’ve pursued any ASL studies, I remember feeling about it the way I feel about drawing now: how strange and unfortunate it was that I put off practicing it for so long under the baseless assumption that I would be no good at it. And not just “no good” to start — everyone starts out not being good — but never any good. I had somehow convinced myself that I would never get any better at either skill, because I had this perception of myself as being uncoordinated. Which, to be fair, I am; but there are different kinds of coordination, and coordination can be improved with practice. Within a couple of weeks of starting sign practice, I was remembering and recalling signs, able to show some dialectical variations; I was actually learning. I was getting better.
So I’m going to start setting an alarm for 2:00 pm each day, and take an hour or so to work on ASL. My work is done for the day by then, and any chores I do with any regularity should certainly be out of the way by then. Let’s get back on track.
Speaking of improvements, I recently unearthed the mini-sketchbook I bought from Dollar Tree back in 2018 when I decided I was going to try my hand at Inktober, and oh my God, is that sketchbook a revelation, let me tell you. Again, I know I have a long way to go, but it’s amazing how, even with sporadic practice (it’s really only since December/January that I’ve made art/drawing a regular part of my routine) my art has grown in leaps and bounds.
I have three new drawings to upload anyway, so I think I’ll try to find something relatively analogous (in subject matter or composition) for each of those in my Inktober sketchbook to do a side-by-side comparison. That ought to be good for a laugh.
I spent some time today working from a resource my husband uncovered on Twitter¹ called Croquis Cafe. They have both a Vimeo and a photo reference gallery of nude models for gesture drawing, anatomy drawing, etc. and it’s really great. I did a few sketches of their model Tamara and was happy with the results. (Also, please notice the emphasis — the subject matter is entirely non-sexual, but it is still full nudity, so NSFW, if that’s relevant to you).
Stay busy, safe, and sane everyone. My husband is picking up reusable face masks for us tomorrow, courtesy of a friend who made them for us for free (two each for Bear and I, five for Andy since he’s an essential worker). I’m hoping this makes me feel secure and safe enough to leave the house to go for walks and get a little fresh air, since I am actually starting to get a little stir-crazy.
¹ I deleted and recreated my Twitter yet again, because I still don’t know exactly what I want to use it for. I start doing Twitter writing challenges and amass a following of folks who are very much Twitter Writers, and then I lose interest and start posting about, like, DnD Real Play podcasts, and I just know they’re all going “WTF?” and meanwhile my reading list is just haiku and self-promos (which is an absolutely valid use of Twitter, but I’m definitely not the target audience). If you use Twitter for a smattering of personal.creative things, hit me up: @milkandkerosene. I have zero followers and like, two tweets at the moment.