David Litchfield is an illustrator. But he didn’t always think of himself as one. At TEDxBedford, he spoke of his project “A drawing a day” and explained how doing a drawing a day for a year gave him the confidence to finally call himself what he wanted to be his entire life: an illustrator.

From his talk:

I didn’t always know I was an illustrator. I didn’t know what I was. It took me a long time to work out…

There seems to be a notion at least of a cutoff point in life, whereas if you haven’t found out what you want to be doing, or who you are, then it’s too late and you’re too old to try and define yourself…which is nonsense, obviously.

But nonetheless, it was a notion that was with me, and I really started to panic [that] I wouldn’t figure out what it was I wanted to do for the next 75 years, or whatever I had got left…

I had always drawn — every day — for as long as I can remember. It has always been the thing I love doing the most. And that’s probably one of the reasons why I thought I’d never get a job in it — because it was just too enjoyable to call it a job. Just looking at my parents, a career wasn’t something that you enjoyed, it was something you survived. But then it did suddenly hit me that maybe I could be an illustrator. And when I said that, when I said, ‘I am an illustrator,’ it seemed to fit. 

So I set myself a challenge. I would draw a drawing a day, every day, for a year. I woke up an hour early and just drew — while I was still waking up … I drew and as soon as I finished, I put them on Facebook; I linked them to Twitter and Tumblr; and just waited for feedback…

People asked me during the project, ‘How do you find the time to do this?’ … ‘How do you find the time to do what you love?’ … And these are usually the same people that tell me that they’ve just watched a box set of Lost over an evening or they’ve watched some videos of cats playing pianos on YouTube for five hours a night.

You find time. If you’re passionate about something and if you’ve got a goal then you find time — and in many cases you have to almost kind of create time.

Watch David’s whole talk here, and check out more drawings from the project here.

(Above, drawings from David’s “A drawing a day” project)

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