This week I was having a discussion about learning about and practicing art with a friend. We talked a bit about being “too old to start” and what that really means. We also talked about liking Bill Cosby’s art, but hating what he did. Should and how do we separate the creation from the creator? Maybe I’ll write about that some other time.

Also cantaloupes, we talked about those, but that’s something else altogether.

Some years ago, another friend taught me this expression or quote about trees.

The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is today.

That resonated with me then, and more so recently. I struggle with “too much-ism”. Trying to do too many things; side hustles, projects, tinkering with technology, making music, drawing/sketchnoting, occasional coding, reading, writing on various websites, endlessly and mindlessly tinkering with “the design” of my websites.

So, I wasn’t really doing any of those things, really. And arguably I was avoiding focusing on a smaller set of them.

Hell, when I started this newsletter thingy I had a format of Streams (what I’m reading/watching), Gardens (ideas I’m growing), and Campfires (let’s talk about these things). I’ve since moved away from that. The last couple issues have been me writing, without that format. I like this format better for now, but maybe I’ll go back to the other someday. I’m still enjoying email conversations (the campfire part of this) so feel free to reply!

Just an example of how I tend to “flip flop”.

I’ve bounced back and forth to things, and never really focused on one of them for an extended time. Or I haven’t in a long while, maybe. I also tie too much of my self worth into my work, and I don’t really understand that. But I’m working on all that.

I have the regret of “why didn’t I do this twenty years ago” but as I like to tell my kids We don’t have a magic wand or a time machine, so we can’t easily fix this. Turns out we can plant the tree today, even if we didn’t twenty years ago.

Planting a single tree

I’ve come to this single tree that I want to plant today. It is drawing ideas. Maybe that tree will, in time, branch to making art or other things.

But I don’t want to time travel anymore. Time travel to the past (to the time when you should have planted the tree) is regret. Time travel to the future and all its possibilities is anxiety (what will become of this tree?). I’m tired of both. So I’ll focus on now. Plant tree, draw ideas.

What I call drawing ideas is called a bunch of things: visual communication, visual facilitation, sketchnoting, graphic recording, etc.

Really it is using simple drawings to represent and talk about ideas. Humans process images faster than they read text, so this has some validity from a scientific point of view. Plus, drawings are more fun. And I sure as hell could use more fun right about now.

So, you’ll likely see more of these drawings here, and less of all the other things going forward.

Here are some of the ideas I’ve drawn recently.

Two “Daily Doodles”. I am in a Slack with other visual thinkers. Each day a one word prompt is given, and each of us represents the word visually. You have 20 seconds to create the image, with a limited toolset - a post it and sharpie (or digital equivalent)

I was really sick of the BS the other day

A Sketchnote of a blog post that I personally found really interesting and motivating. Process > Tools. I have a couple more edits to make before I think it’s final. Check out the article here.

Just a close up of what one person called “sad robot”. They think he should have his own spin off, lol. This might be my new avatar.

Ah crap, maybe I should have drawn a tree!

Thanks for reading, be well.