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The 5 second rule

Posted by Koosje Koene in ArtJournal, Draw Tip, sketchbook on June 25, 2018

Imagine that…

You’re waiting at a bus stop and you’re early. The schedule shows you that the bus won’t be there for another ten minutes or so. You look around to see if you can find a spot to lean or sit while waiting for the bus to arrive. Then you notice the people around you who are also waiting for the bus. They are standing there, maybe pacing up and down or occupying the bus stop benches. Most of them have a smartphone in their hand and their head is tilted towards its screen. You could also pull out your phone to kill time on social media or by answering an email.
But then, while you reach into your bag, you see your sketchbook in there too. You look up again and notice the colorful clothes on the lady across from you, and the interesting hairdo of the guy standing a few meters away.

You think…”I could do a quick sketch…”.
Then you dismiss the thought. What if they move away in the middle of your sketch? What if the bus arrives before you’re done drawing? What if they notice you sketching them? What if my drawing sucks?
This is where the 5 second rule comes in.

The 5 second rule

If you have the impulse to draw, act on it within 5 seconds. Otherwise, the inner critic’s voice will step in and make you aware of all the ‘what ifs’ that could prevent you to enjoy yourself during a lost moment like this. The inner critic will be pulling the emergency brake and kill the idea.

So instead, grab that sketchbook and open it. And while you put down the first line, think of other ‘what ifs’. What if you could just do a quick sketch just for the fun of it? What if you see this as a quick exercise on drawing people?

What if this sketch exercise can be a little zen-moment during your busy day?

Whether your sketch will be finished or unfinished, the activity will leave you with a feeling of satisfaction and joy. Scrolling through your instagram feed would never give you that. And maybe, by the time the bus arrives, you actually made a sketch you’ll want to even share on Instagram!

Koosje Koene

Hi I'm Koosje. I'm an illustrator and art teacher in Amsterdam, where I was born and raised. I went to school to study graphic design, then worked for ten years as an award-winning professional photographer. But eventually my love of drawing and painting took over and I became an illustrator. My illustrations have been published in many Dutch magazines and in 2011, I began blogging and started developing and teaching online art classes. In 2014 I founded Sketchbook Skool, which is a flourishing community of artists from around the world of all skill levels.