If It’s Not Fun, Don’t Do It

Yesterday was my “fun day” for art. I played with lots of little watercolor “tricks” which I’ll share from time to time. I might even be able to use some of the techniques I learned for future paintings.

I think a certain degree of silliness is required with art, at least for me. I can’t take myself too seriously. Of course, that’s easy for me. Art isn’t a profession; it’s only a hobby. I don’t have to deal with clients, worry about whether or not my work is selling, or pay the bills on a well-lighted studio. All I have to do is take out my art supplies and have fun.

“If it’s not fun, don’t do it.”

Those words are my husband’s mantra. Although he works hard on his job, it is work that he enjoys, and on his own time, he’s adamant about having fun with whatever he’s doing. It’s not always possible, of course. The grass needs to be mowed, home repairs happen, and everyday life has its share of “must-do” things that aren’t always fun.

As much as possible, though, we can make things fun for ourselves, and that’s especially true with art. I don’t do it because I’m good at it. I do it because I enjoy it. I do it because it’s fun.

Having fun with art means I sometimes do a lot of silly things — like the time I used charcoal to sketch a cardinal. Silly me! What was I thinking? That poor red bird looked so sad in black and white, and all those shades of gray. I had to grab my colored pencils and brighten him up.

One of the ways I keep spontaneity and a sense of fun in my art is by not planning projects too much. I do follow along on tutorials or classes, preparing ahead of time, and completing each step, but on my own personal projects…well, that’s a different story. I randomly assign projects to myself (see What Shall I Draw Today?) so I never know quite what will come up. These randomly-chosen projects are opportunities for me to step outside of the classroom, explore on my own, and see what I can do.

Yet another outlet for creative fun is my new watercolor journal. It’s a mess. Literally. But, at least it’s a creative mess. To overcome any stiff sense of “I-must-do-this-right” with the journal, I deliberately splotched a page with different colors, made squiggly lines, then wrote a journal entry in acrylic pen:

This is my FUN book. It’s messy, and that’s all right because I’m having FUN.

Dinosaur (2)My latest bout of silliness came from a Sketchbook Nation project: How to Draw a Dinosaur. I rolled my eyes at first, but after a little tweaking, he doesn’t look too bad. Just ignore his feet. Look at his head instead.

Why not have fun and draw more dinosaurs? Think of the interesting pictures I could draw and give to grandsons. Maybe I could make them fierce-looking and frightening. Or maybe I could come up with friendly, smiling dinosaurs.

What about dragons and winged beasts? What about worlds of fantasy and creatures that don’t really exist? With imagination, anything is possible.

Art can take us to many places and provide us with many hours of fun. My hope is that I never become too serious about my art, because if it’s not fun, I don’t want to do it.



  1. Something about this dinosaur delights me! It might be the perplexed look on his face like “Extinct?! What????” Whatever it is, it’s fabulous!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He’s opened up a whole new world of drawing for me. Dinosaurs aren’t exactly fantasy, but that’s where he’s leading me. I’ve started drawing fairies and goddesses, and who knows what will come next!


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