Day 30. YOU ARE AN ARTIST.
Congratulations, GUT. We did it.
DrawTogether GROWN-UPS TABLE family,
WE DID IT.
I wish I could reach through this glowing screen and hug you right now!!! I am so, so proud of you. I am so proud of us! The GUT’s 30-Day Drawing Habit was transformative. No matter if you did one day, three days, seven days, twenty, or all thirty darn days - I hope you feel so, so good about the creative energy you stirred up and the effort you put into connecting with the world (people!) through drawing.
All of your hard work has led to this significant life milestone: The GUT’s 30-Day Drawing Habit Graduation Day! (It just rolls right off the tongue, doesn’t it? LOL.)
Every graduation I’ve attended has two essential elements: lots of diplomas and at least one, hopefully not-boring speech. Today, we get both.
First, let’s get those diplomas ready because YOU EARNED IT. (Even if you are still on day nine or only drew twice this month, if you are reading this, you deserve some serious celebration. *Channels Oprah*: YOU GET A DIPLOMA! YOU GET A DIPLOMA! AND YOU GET A DIPLOMA! )
And because this is the DrawTogether Grown-Ups Table, let’s create our own darn diplomas! And let’s do it in the spirit of one of my most favorite drawers: Saul Steinberg (1914-1999). You may recognize his work from his many New Yorker covers (View of the World from 9th Avenue is a classic) or his singular style of drawings, paintings, prints, collages, and sculptures - always playful, always engaged, always looking closely at the world with a keen eye and wry sense of humor.
On Saul’s drawing via the Steinberg Foundation1:
Saul Steinberg defined drawing as "a way of reasoning on paper," and he remained committed to the act of drawing. Throughout his long career, he used drawing to think about the semantics of art, reconfiguring stylistic signs into a new language suited to the fabricated temper of modern life.
Steinberg refused to cram his broad interests and career into any one category. Steinberg said, “I don’t quite belong to the art, cartoon or magazine world, so the art world doesn’t quite know where to place me.”2 While it kept him mostly out of the high art world he so revered, his constant exploration and evolution did allow him to continue playing and pushing boundaries. He refused to be put in a box. Saul did Saul. May we all be so bold in our work and in our lives.
Today, let’s take some serious certificate inspiration from Steinberg’s incredible series of false documents.
Steinberg developed a style of drawing that looked so much like hand lettering it read as words at a distance. But up close…
… it’s scribble. Beautiful, looping, varied scribble. Scribble that once and for all proves that handwriting is indeed drawing.
Here is that piece above in full:
He created stamps and stickers to use in these false documents - not to make them look “real” but to undermine the whole idea that papers could hold so much power.
By creating delightful counterfeit diplomas, passports, and licenses, Steinberg employed creativity and wit to subvert social and political power structures. He dubbed himself the authority on his own artwork. He drew and signed his own darn papers.
And friends, isn’t that just what we’re doing here at the Grown-Ups Table?
We are doing something radical in the GUT. We are using the act of drawing to connect with the world, each other, and ourselves. We are doing it TOGETHER. We are upending all the narratives of the lone, isolated artist whose self-worth is based on productivity and approval from larger economic systems. We are putting joy, curiosity, care, connection, and, dare I say, LOVE at the center of our art practice.
And that deserves some recognition. Something to remind us that we committed, we persisted, we were brave, and we did it. No matter the outcome, we DID it.
So, in proper Saul Steinberg form, let’s upend the system, be our own authority, and DRAW OURSELVES A DARN DIPLOMA.
Day 30. Drawing Our Own Darn Diplomas
Please read instructions all the way through first. There is some audio involved here… 🤗✏️
Supplies: Paper, pen and pencil, colors. If you want to use actual ribbons or stickers or anything else you have around the house/art studio, go for it! I just used pen and watercolor, cause that’s how I do. (I do me! Saul does Saul! You do you!)
Set your timer for 10 minutes. Press start.
Draw a border around the edge of your paper. Now it’s official.
There are only a few elements that are required for your Diploma, and you can draw them however you want. Look at Saul’s drawing for Inspo!
DrawTogether GUT (or The DrawTogether Grown-Ups Table - or both!) at the top
A line for YOUR NAME (and include your name.)
Something about the 30-Day Drawing Habit, or Drawing for 30 Days. The rest can be scribble, or you can make it real! You do you.
The date! 2024. Or January 1-30, 2024 if you’re feeling precise.
Some kind of an official STAMP
A Signature! Feel free to forge mine if you like. I will not call the IRS. ;)
Add whatever doodad, color, and officialdom make it feel official to YOU. If you want to include a silly selfie, GREAT. Some light and shadow? Awesome. Some Agnes Martin grids in the background? Badass. You earned this authority, people. This is YOU. And this is gonna be a framer.
Once you’ve created a diploma that reflects your tremendous GUT accomplishment, Share your drawing in the GUT community chat. IF YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE: TAKE A PHOTO OF YOURSELF HOLDING IT! Can’t wait to see the smiles of the GUT Class of 2024!
(Note: if you want to go over the 10 minutes today, go for it... This one is special, folks. Keep it light and fun, and give it a little extra TLC if you want.)
BONUS. While you draw today, you can listen to the GUT graduation speech. It happens to be exactly ten minutes. (Transcript below.)
GUT GRADUATION SPEECH:
[Official WendyMac 30-Day Drawing Habit Graduation Day transcript-ish.]
Hey my GUT peeps. Wendy here. Pretend we are all sitting around a GIANT round table together wearing art smocks instead of robes. And the weather is just fine.
Okay, let’s do this.
Grown-Ups Table, I am so proud of you. Over the past 30 days, you took leaps. You tried new things. You pushed through fear and resistance, and used your hands, eyes, minds, your hearts and your imagination and you CREATED ACTUAL REAL THINGS - you made stuff that did not exist before you conjured them into being. And you did it with your bare hands. Nobody made you do it. In fact, a ton of things and people probably tried to STOP you from doing it. And yet do it you did. You did it. We did it. And we did it together.
Every day for the past 30 days, we took a deep breath, started our timers and launched ourselves into a new kind of drawing. Seven types of Doodles. Seven different Delights. Seven Fun Lessons on Drawing. And seven styles of Visual Storytelling. We did that. YOU did that.
So, educators use a term: “scaffolding.” That’s when lessons build on each other, get harder and harder over time - and, simultaneously, the instructor provides less and less support. If all goes right, by the end of the educational experience, the student has learned a ton and feels like they can continue moving forward on their own.
Not sure if you noticed, but that’s exactly what’s been happening in the 30-day Drawing Habit. Every day we learned something new, and the lessons got increasingly complex. And at the same time, you got more and more control over what you drew. Think about it - we started the month with simple, highly structured assignments. Four weeks later we ended with a total creative free-for-all. RIGHT? And judging from the drawings and comments I’ve seen in the chat, our GUT scaffolding worked.
Take a look back at the tens of thousands (!) of drawings shared in the GUT chat and see how far we’ve come. How far you’ve come.
And now friends, just like that, the scaffolding falls from the building. You are ready to keep drawing every day on your own if you like. Or better yet, keep drawing in community with us here at the GUT. (Stay subscribed, or join now, friends, the GUT continues every Sunday!)
So many people argue about what constitutes capital A art, or what makes someone an artist. I won’t pretend to know any more than anyone else, but I do have my opinion. To me, an artist is someone who is curious, who cares, and who creates. That’s it.
Being an artist means actively looking and listening to the world and the people in it. Being an artist is engaging with the world in small and big ways, both and making connections between the two. Being an artist is MAKING THINGS. When we make things and share them with others, we contribute to the growth of a system bigger than any money-based economy. We contribute to an economy of hope. Of real possibility.
Every one of you who draws with me here at the Grown-Ups Table is an artist. Not because you know how to draw a drop-shadow or render two-point perspective. But because you are curious, you care, and you create.
That is what we do here at the DrawTogether Grown-Ups Table.
That’s who we are: Curiosity. Care. Creativity. Connection.
We have a couple mantras we repeat again and again - or at least I do: No rules in art. You do you. Process over outcome. Drawing is looking, and looking is loving. And of course, Pencils up.
Which takes me to today. The end of our 30 drawing adventure.
I’d like to thank each of you for trusting me with your heart and mind and hands every day. For joining me on this journey, and being curious and brave and joyful and loving with me and one another. There are a whole lot of things easier to do than be an artist, but few things are more rewarding.
And each of you, GUT drawers, are artists.
Thank you for joining me on this journey - and continuing with me into the future. I truly mean it when I say “everything is better when we draw together.” The key word being TOGETHER.
Well, that and Draw. You know how I feel about that.
So let’s stay it together: PENCILS UP, friends.
Keep drawing, looking and loving. And let’s do it together.
I love you!
Okay, a couple more important points before we move forward together. Some thank you’s, and a few important GUT logistics.
THANK YOU ART AUNTIE KATHLEEN & KYLE RANSON-WALSH!
I need to take moment to thank two people who made the 30 days possible:is an artist and has been a GUT member since day one. She has also been voluntarily supporting her fellow members in the GUT comments since we launched nearly two years ago, just because she is awesome. When the 30-Day Drawing Habit exploded and I knew I needed help supporting the community, I got down on one knee and asked her to make it official. Since then, she has become the GUT’s welcome center, frontline friend, and official art auntie. Thank you, Kathleen for making sure that as the GUT grows, its supportive, joyful and caring culture continues. What would we do without you, Kathleen? Like Kathleen, Kyle is an artist and writer and long-time member of the GUT, which he joined after doing DrawTogether classes with his daughter during the pandemic. (He also worked with DrawTogether Classrooms last year!) Since the launch of the 30-days, Kyle has curated the GUT Gallery every day, making sure it’s always inclusive and diverse and features new folks every time. He also staffs the DT/GUT support email (email@example.com). When things got extra-overwhelming at the start of this 30-day adventure, Kyle created a whole backend system to help everyone (including me) feel safe and seen and happy so we could focus on being creative. What would we do without you, Kyle?
Without Kathleen and Kyle, this whole thing would have certainly gone sideways. But it didn’t. It went great. Please join me in thanking them in the comments.❤️
Every graduation I’ve attended also seems to have some logistical announcements at the end. Here are ours:
❤️ REMEMBER TO TAKE THE GUT 30-DAY SURVEY PLEASE & THANK YOU ❤️
The 30-Day Drawing Habit chat threads will stay up. Click over anytime you need some inspiration.
As always, if you can’t afford a membership to the GUT, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks to generous donors we have scholarships to help you out.
After party at’s house? I hear she has a great view.
Alright, my GUT family. With that, I bid you CONGRATULATIONS.
And I’ll see you next week.
And now I’m going to go take a nap.
PENCILS UP FRIENDS! ❤️✏️❤️
I LOVE YOU, GUT!!
w (AKA WendyMac)
These reflections have me in a puddle of happy tears. Laughing/crying/inspired to keep drawing today, tomorrow, forever, together. ❤️✏️❤️
Jean vanden Heuvel, “Straight from the Hand and Mouth of Steinberg,” LIFE, December 10, 1965, p. 66.