On Stretching

I was chatting with Alen today about my goal to do 10 games this year as a way of maintaining momentum and learning some stuff in the process. He congratulated me on making the insight, and related two foundation art school exercises he did at (I think) University of Michigan:

  • 30 Drawings in 30 Minutes — the idea is to make a whole bunch of drawings every session. Eventually, you amass thousands of drawings, and some of the best stuff you’ll ever make will come out of it. My thought is that the more you do something, the better you’ll get at it. Letting go and just doing is probably another good thing to master… it’s something I’ve traditionally had trouble with, being prone to overplan and detail contingencies in a meticulous manner…

  • Ugly Drawing — the instructor asks you what you think is ugly, then you are made to make it! About halfway through, you are then told to somehow “rescue” the picture. The resulting tension in the drawing, Alen said, made for phenomenal results.


p>I have some equivalent ideas, but they’re not so poetic:

  • If you do something 10 times, you’ll know how to do it. If you do it 100 times, you’ll be pretty good. If you do it 1000 times, you’ll have achieved some form of mastery. Or expressed in D&D terms: 10 reptitions = level 2, 100 repetitions = level 3, 1000 repetitions = Level 4. Or even geekierly expressed, your level of mastery = log(number of repetitions) + 1.

  • When you’re stuck, practice extremes far beyond what you think is suitable or applicable. The very act of stretching will yield new solutions. Or what you didn’t think was acceptable before trying is actually quite suitable after all.