For Day 19 of World Watercolor Month and our optional prompt of “Envelope,” I sketched a bunny rabbit mailing a letter. It’s been several years now since I’ve mailed a letter of any kind. In fact, I haven’t purchased stamps in more than a decade. All of that communication can be done online and the sheer ease of doing so has made the humble letter something wistfully nostalgic, but no longer a necessity. I received a card from my mother a few years back that had a short note written in her handwriting. I’ve kept that letter ever since, as there’s simply nothing better than something made by hand. These days, we now have artificial intelligence to help us do even more things we used to do just fine without the extra help. While speed and convenience are certainly wonderful things, I can’t help but wonder what we’re losing along the way. That’s why something created entirely by human skill and creativity is still the most valuable thing I can possibly imagine!
As the world zooms forward, in a fervent quest to hand more and more bits of life’s tasks over to these new intelligent machines, I think I’ll always crave a world without them. Much like a calculator made my math skills nearly obsolete, if I’m not in the habit of doing something for myself, then I’ll soon be lacking the skill to do so. After all, we’re only good at the things we practice on a regular basis. For example, my handwritten notes look like they were written by a child who just ate too much candy. The impatient strokes were already practically illegible before I switched over to typing nearly everything I write. When we stop practicing a skill, it’s soon lost and we’re not able to do it well at all. That’s why I keep sketching each day. I know I’ve done it long enough that I couldn’t lose that ability overnight, but I always want to feel like I’m improving, even if it’s only by a modest amount.
While there are definitely some tasks that I’m happy to hand over to a machine, I still worry there’s a tipping point. One of the greatest skills that humans possess is an ability for creative problem-solving. We do this when we have to figure out how to do something or solve an issue that’s presented to us entirely on our own . If the solution is handed to us time and time again, then that creative problem-solving muscle will atrophy. That’s why my last book was all about practicing creativity instead of only drawing and painting. Creativity is just like anything else and needs to be practiced if one wants to be more skilled at coming up with ingenious solutions. I guess I don’t need or want everything in life to be easy. It’s fun to do things that take a bit of extra effort and handmade arts are irreplaceable. We’re all so unique and what we create has the power to do more than train machines, it has the power to spread real joy and hope. It’s something that wasn’t really talked about in those days long ago when the only way to share those big ideas was by simply sending letters.
About the Doodlewash
Sketching Stuff Coloring Set – Da Vinci Watercolors: Charlie O’Blue, Hansa Yellow Medium, Opus (VIvid Pink), And Ultramarine (Green Shade). ZIG Cartoonist Mangaka Pen with black ink, Princeton Aqua Elite Travel Brushes, in an A5 Hahnemühle 100% Cotton Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? SEND ME A NOTE HERE, and I’ll Add it To My Shop!