Weekend doodles: the whistling scythe

Creativity, Daily drawing, Motivation

Someone asked me (after noticing my daily Instagram uploads): “Joe – where do you find the time for all this stuff?”

The simple answer is I can’t fathom not constantly working, learning and creating. But why is that?

Austin Kleon calls obituaries “near death experiences for cowards”. Reminding yourself of how little time you have is the source of limitless motivation and energy. Better than a cup of coffee and a cold shower, anyway (although I like those too). If you really face that fear, present yourself with the hard reality that we’re all running down a timer, you’ll find the time to do the stuff you want to do. Either that, or you’ll run from it. I choose the former.

This afternoon I went for a run. I wandered about the house, doing bits and bobs, finding every excuse not to go first – but I went. First I ran down the road, then into town. Then to the seafront. The kilometres piled up. I started feeling better, looser. I began enjoying it. When I got home, I looked in the mirror. I was glad. I’d done the work.

That feeling of satisfaction and contentment… It’s not like I don’t know it’s there. It’s a constant reward, forever waiting at the end of any kind of hard graft. And yet I still put off the work I know I need to do, whether physical or creative.

A way I remind myself to just do the damn thing is to be aware of the whistling scythe.

What Casey Neistat can teach you about persistence

Art, Creativity, Miscellaneous thoughts, Motivation, productivity, writing

If you haven’t heard of Casey Neistat, he’s a pretty big deal on YouTube. He has around 9 million subscribers and is widely renowned for having revolutionised something that’s now become ubiquitous: ‘vlogging’.

He’s a pioneer. This fantastic video essay by the Nerdwriter (one of the best channels out there) explains exactly why Casey’s had such an incredible response:

In a nutshell, it’s the combination of a lifetime of practice and skill with a willingness to be agile, adapting to new platforms and ways of sharing. He’s bringing the eye of an award winning filmmaker to what had been mainly an amateur game – and shifted the expectation of quality of content on YouTube to new heights.

So here’s the lesson: Casey forced himself to produce a vlog every single day, no matter how busy he was, even if he had nothing exciting planned. Applying such rigid constraints to his creative process, rather than being stifling, actually allowed him to flourish. That’s where the majority of his growth has come from, and I think put him into the zone where he was able to create such inspiring, interesting work and connect with such a huge audience.

I’m learning from him and applying that persistence, the commitment to daily output to my own work. So far I’m loving it. The fact I’ve promised myself (and you guys now) that I’ll be sharing something every single day removes the need for it to be perfect. It just needs to be done.

“The best is the enemy of the good.”


A trap we can fall into too far too easily is holding back on getting stuff done. We tinker, and play around, waiting for the thing to be ‘perfect’ before we put it out there. Let me tell you what you already know: that time will never come.

So, instead of perfect, strive for good enough. Instead of waiting, put it out there. Then, move onto the next thing. It’s precisely that attitude that’s allowed Henry Rollins to be so incredibly productive over so many years.

Without further ado, here’s today’s drawing:

I’m having a lot of fun doing work inspired by film noir, sometimes known as ‘the golden age of cinema’. I’m producing highly stylised drawings, with lots of stark black and white, crosshatching and brightly coloured contrasting backgrounds. I have my mum gifting me a set of brush pens to thank for the injection of colour (thanks mum!). The result is what I’d describe as Dick Tracy crossed with Frank Miller (never thought I’d see those two together in a sentence).

What are you working on at the moment? Stop reading this, and get back to work!


Casey’s channel

Some of my favourite videos of his:

The first one I ever saw… (still watch it if I need a bit of a boost):

And here’s the Nerdwriter.