The Bans & Why They’re Good

This is a completely off topic way to start a post, BUT I GOT A NEW KEYBOARD~! My other one started giving me problems a few months ago with the “e” key occasionally, but once the space bar stopped functioning properly (you can tell because only one side goes down when I hit it, not the entire thing), I knew I had to get a new one. So a new one I got! Anyway, onto the topic.

After my seemingly successful drawing ban, which seemed to give me enough inspiration, motivation, and push to complete the rest of the website artwork sketches and pencil line them (plus the pictures I did for fun), I decided to continue testing this out to see if I can time my breaks. 10 days of work, about 11 days off (give or take – I start on a Tuesday only because I know I won’t start work on a Monday).

Also, my good friend, Hurricane360, is joining my current ban/break. He’s joined for music though, not drawing.

Bans V.S. Breaks

Sometimes, I can use the word bans/breaks interchangeably when I’m talking about these rest periods I go on. Other times, I can’t because they have different implications to me.

A ban means I cannot work on something at all or anything somewhat related to it. The easiest example is with the drawing ban – I am not allowed to doodle, sketch, line, ink, or colour in anyway. Some people may call this a “black & white” way of thinking, especially when it comes to doodling, but my brain still considers doodling to be a form of drawing, which in many cases for me, it is (doodling for me has almost the same amount of effort involved as sketching for me). Not to mention, I want to save my [creative] energy and built it up. Doodling TAKES THAT AWAY if I’m worn out from drawing in general. I’ll talk more about that later.

Breaks, on the other hand, are rest periods where I can really do whatever I want. If I really wanted to, I could go and work on whatever I’m taking a break from, but take it easy and not push myself. I suppose you could say that breaks are “optional” for me. Well, semi-optional. It just changes my speed from constantly hammering to a brisk walk.

Bans, to me, are much more serious than breaks. Bans I must follow, regardless on how tempting it is to work on what I want to work on.

Breaks, to me, means I don’t really need to work on what I want to, but if I feel the need to, I can do so at a leisurely pace to not wear myself out and stop whenever I want…until the break is over.

Black & White Not So Black & White

When I say that I ban myself from doodling, sketching, lining, inking, and colouring when I’m on drawing (or rather should I say, art) bans, some people think I’m being “too hard” on myself and I’m thinking in “black & white”. Especially when it comes to doodling. They ask “why can’t you allow yourself to doodle when you’re on your ban?”.

Sketching, lining, inking, and colouring is pretty straightforward and I’m sure people can understand why I “ban” those during my drawing breaks. They take a lot of time and effort. If I’m constantly pushing, which I often do, I wear myself out. I think it takes me, on average, 3 to 5 hours to do a complete image straight through. Of course, I don’t do an image straight through – I break them all up into pieces. Some people think this causes me to rush, but if it’s going to take me a half hour to do, it’s going to take me a half hour to do, regardless if I’m doing it straight through or not. The only difference is, I can get 3 to 10 pictures done in a day, rather than 1 to 5 pictures. Not rushing. It’s the one-person-assembly-line.

DOODLING, on the other hand, people seem to think it’s too harsh for me to ban myself from doodling too. I personally ban myself from doodling because when I doodle, I put almost the same amount of energy, if not the same amount as I do with the other drawing aspects. It takes away the creative energy I would normally use for sketching/lining/etc.. If I’m heading into anger/sadness/depression from overwork because sketching/lining/etc., doodling continues to send me plunging downward.

Of course, the doodling I’m referring to and the doodling you are probably thinking of are two different things. This is where it’s not so black and white.

I say that there’s two types of doodling:
1.) “I’m thinking and my hand wants to do something” doodles
2.) Sketch doodles

I think people generally think of the first one when I say “doodling”. This is when one draws really basic shapes, like stars (like I often do), squares, circles, etc. Maybe some eyes. Something that doesn’t really require much thought, if any thought at all. It might act more as a way to keep hands occupied. This is the kind of doodling I would be fine with if I started doing it. Sometimes I do this kind of doodling to ground myself, actually. I am not banned from this kind of doodling!

The kind of doodling I AM banned from, however, are sketch doodles. It’s when I sketch out things on a piece of paper, but I don’t pay as much attention to anatomy, proportions, etc. because I’m coming up with a concept, practicing something (like a character I’ve never drawn before). A lot of times, these doodles, these sketches, aren’t drawn fully. They’re done halfway.

Here are some sketch doodles:



lozwwptdoodles IMG_1460 IMG_1461

Here are some sketches:


spark_kicking_vainstrel 076 スキャンしたイメージ 123240004 samantha_almostdefeated 002

Ignoring the rainbowness of some of them (the sketch doodles originally aren’t rainbowy), the two share similarities, at the same time as differences.

The sketch doodles contain generally messy drawings of my characters, some completely unfinished (and rejected). Well, most of them unfinished. Not drawn in full body. However, there is some thought process and design that goes into the doodles. Okay, perhaps not the placement, but the actual characters themselves. Including those bugs in the first one.

The sketches have a rainbow-like basis to them, that’s kind of messy. However, they may be finished (or unfinished full body because of the intention to crop them on the computer). There’s more attention to anatomy (sort of) and proportions. There’s generally only one sketch per page.

Both of them take about the same amount, if not the same, of effort. They both use the same creative energy, the same one I need to restore. That is why doodles – specifically SKETCH doodles – are banned.

It’s why I was able to do redlining for my friend on my drawing ban and why I couldn’t doodle anything. The redlining is like a mindless doodle for me, while my regular doodling, the sketch doodling, requires me to think.

Creative Energy Restoration

In the Assassin’s Creed series, you have a synchronization bar, which acts as a health bar. In the first Assassin’s Creed game and the fifth (which is Assassin’s Creed 3), if you got hit or did something wrong in the game, your synchronization bar went down. If it got down low enough, you would either desynchronize or have to run off somewhere to let your health restore itself. Slowly the bar will restore the health and you can continue fighting once you have enough.

I like to think that I have an energy bar, not unlike the synchronization bar in Assassin’s Creed, that requires me to run away every once in a while to restore energy that I have lost. This generally manifests in me having a rather strict ban and having a bit over a week of forced rest.

The forced rest bans me from working on things pretty much when I want to do them the most or during the “wanting to do them the most” stage, which is right before I start plunging into the bottom of emotions. It’s when I get exhausted, emotionally, mentally, even physically. My creative energy completely dwindles. The bans make sure this does not happen.

The bans also make sure that my creative energy is restored to a state in which I can work with it.

It’s pretty amazing when I stop myself at the right time – for about the two weeks I’m banned from working on things, I get really excited and anxious to work on more. When I finally come back, I’m able to dive back in and work with the same creative force I had when I had banned myself! If not better! Of course, I need to be careful though because I still risk myself going into negativity. It actually started when I was just finishing my artwork. Oops.

In short, the ban (assumed it is timed right) will recharge creativity and confidence by allowing the energy to restore itself and allowing ideas to grow.

Join the Ban

I knew I was going on another ban/break on Thursday or Friday. I was looking forward to it because I was almost burnt out. I’ve been working on a lot of website related stuff (and some non-website related stuff too), some which has been a pain, so being able to stop for a few days is nice.

When Hurricane360 told me he was out of ideas for music, I told him to join the ban with me. He’s not allowed to work on music at all until July 2nd (which is when my ban ends). I’m happy that he has joined me. I wonder what his results are going to be?

Those reading this, you are more than welcome to join the ban too if there’s a personal project you’re working on and need a rest from! Who knows – it could recharge you too.