June 15, 2017

5 Ways Drawing Is Like Exercising

by Corrina Thurston


Exercising is something most of us have in common at one point or another, whether it’s walking, yoga, weight lifting, running, zumba, or sports. There’s a huge number of ways you can exercise, just like there’s a huge number of ways you can create artwork. Below are a five other commonalities between the two activities: 

1.) Sometimes the hardest part is getting started.

Drawing, writing, or creating anything can be one of the greatest feelings in the world, but it can also be difficult to get up the motivation to start. Similar to exercising, sometimes the hardest part is getting started.

A lot of people can relate to this at one time or another in their creative endeavors. You’re staring at that blank page or canvas thinking about how to begin, hoping the idea in your mind will somehow manage to translate to the paper. What if you screw up? What if no one likes it?

Sometimes the reason for having trouble starting is unclear and then it’s particularly frustrating. Why don’t I want to draw today? What’s holding me back?

There are days, just like with an exercise regimen, that you just have to push yourself to take that first step, or in this case that first pencil stroke, and most of the time it’ll get better after that.

2.) You usually feel better afterwards.

Even if you didn’t think you were in the mood to exercise, you usually feel better after you do. That’s because you’ve jump-started your system and boosted your endorphins just by moving around.

Similar feelings arise when you’ve created something. Even if it was difficult to get yourself started, you usually feel better afterwards. Usually you’re happy you accomplished something, even if you’re not always 100% satisfied with the results.


3.) It’s hard work.

Even if you’re in good shape, exercising is hard work, especially if you push yourself to keep getting better. The same goes for creating. Even if you’re good at it, drawing is difficult work. There’s a lot of misunderstanding from people who don’t draw that if you’re good at it, it must just come easily to you and is the easiest job in the world! 

This isn’t true. At all. 

Me working on my Two Capuchin Monkeys drawing a few years ago. Back when I had short red hair!

Not only is drawing hard, keeping up your creativity and motivation to draw is hard, and doing everything else that comes along with being an artist, ie. promotion, marketing, exhibits, proposals, bookwork, etc., is difficult as well. 

4.) Success is measured individually.

When you work out you can only measure your success by how far you’ve come. The only thing you should compare yourself to is your past self. And the only thing you should strive to be is your best self. 

Exercise isn’t something where you should compare yourself to others, instead focus on your own path and your own progress. 

The same can be said of creating art. You can’t compare yourself to others because what you’re creating is entirely YOU. Success depends on what you think success is and is determined solely by you. So focus on your goals and keep track of how far you’ve progressed. 

5.) You get out of it what you put into it.

You’re not going to lose 30 pounds by exercising one day. You’re not going to have abs by doing one set of crunches. And you’re not going to be able to run a marathon tomorrow if you just started running today. 

It’s the same with creating artwork. The more you do it, the better you’ll get. And the more you push yourself outside your comfort zone to try something new or by attempting progressively more challenging pieces, the more you’ll grow as a creative. 


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