avoiding the 'probably shoulds'
Here's a confession: I never do warm-up sketches. I see the idea of warm-up sketches bandied about a lot - simple drawing exercises such as circles, lines and loops to literally warm up your drawing muscles. It makes a lot of sense as a thing to do and if you're someone who does them and you find they help, all credit to you! But I don't really see the benefit of them personally and I'd rather just get stuck straight in.
The reason I bring them up is that when I first heard of them, years after I had started drawing, long after I had established my own methods, I felt a bit guilty and started thinking 'ugh, that's something I probably should do'. Despite it never having figured in my process before that.
Learning new methods and trying out new things is 100% a part of being a creator. Trying out something new can trigger a whole new exciting creative process! For me, starting to paint in gouache has opened up some wonderful new exciting doors. Like I've written about before, I've really enjoyed the paid classes I've attended for screenprinting and life drawing, because they gave me a chance to focus just on making and spend time with other creative people.
Also, sometimes, you end up learning something new to take advantage of a new opportunity. When I first started my last job, I was asked to create lettering for identities in the style of Mary Kate McDevitt, Lauren Hom et al - I had never done that before, but I wasn't going to let that stop me!
What I'm arguing against is the 'probably should's. The feeling you get when you're scrolling through Instagram or Pinterest and you see something that is currently very trendy, or something that has managed to hit the algorithms right so that it gets a lot of attention. But rather than it exciting your own processes, you think to yourself 'ugh, I probably should do that'. And you probably won't do it, because you don't actually want to! And then that probably should becomes a stick to beat yourself with and feel bad about, rather than a process that is exciting and interesting to you.
I mentioned in my previous post about trusting your gut, trusting that physical sensation of joy, and I think this still applies. Push your boundaries, but let it come from a place of excitement rather than a sense of obligation.