Years ago, my wife wrote an article about Morris Dancing. The last line of the article was, “Why do we dance? Because we have to.” I know why and how I write (because I have to, obviously) and I began to wonder how of much creative work is simply a product of compulsion.

To that end I asked artists on every social network I could think of to please answer the question, “Why do you draw/create art?”

Here are the answers I received:

Niki Smith: I draw to see things. You know a lot about someone when you draw their posture.  andre paploo: I draw because I have stories to tell, and like the challenge of sequential art narratives. It can be a really personal form of expression. Nakamura Ching:  We all have the same reason. We’re working for our life. I’m  a Mangaka, therefore I draw. For my life.  Manga is for all readers, my business is for me. ATborderless – Because I can’t help it. I feel I’m giving a concrete shape to something that can be a classic manga when I draw. Rivkah: I draw because the words demand pictures. To deny them art would be to make a story half complete. To refuse the story is to refuse myself. Sirk Tani: Images always swim in my mind. I draw to let them out of my head. Makes me happy, and relieved, having freed thinking-space for new images to take form. Att: Because drawing ensures immortality for the subject and the artist. The Sooz : I don’t really know; it is something I have done literally since I was able to. I get ideas, and then I need to put them on paper. missionYCO:  I create art because I want to share my visions with everyone in a visual manner. My worlds, my characters, my scenarios. Angel Lozada: I know nothing more natural to me than to draw. It allows me to dream in a more tangible way. It is my first love. It makes me who I am. sirkrozz: I draw because i wanted drawing to be my job. I draw because i learnt, not because i was born to do it. In suma, i draw because i can. eddiecurrent: To get the mad, awful, wonderful ideas out of my head… so I can get some sleep. The whispers, Erica. The whispers. onezumi: Because art saved my life and it’s my responsibility to keep the cycle going and help others PL: I like looking for things that go together…and things that don’tWildaManba:  it’s who I am. I create what I feel and wish was, and to give others who feel the same something to relate to and not feel alonejlgehron: I create to see what I want to see, to fill a lack of something. Have fun with things. But also to affect someone some way. Museless_Fool: I create because it’s the most perfect and natural way for me to get my own thoughts across.  buckima: Stress relief by wreaking havoc in an alternate universe under my complete control. Mwahahahahah! Frankie B Washington: I draw because I’m an artist.  Tim Perkins: I love to create new worlds, characters and mythologies for readers of all ages. It’s a privilege to do so and a dream since I was a child, upon seeing Jack Kirby’s work. Janet Hetherington: I draw for the same reason I write: to share personal vision through storytelling. People react immediately to art. It takes longer to digest written work. deady_83: i draw to make people feel happy…it is the only reason for me nowadays.  Asutoraeanooka: The ability to create something extraordinary is a gift I enjoy sharing with others. If art can inspire and motivate, it’s golden.  Sachikosama:  because it makes me happy. I feel so relaxed when I’m creating. The only time I’m at more peace is when I’m cooking. Mizuki Monika – I had many fears as a child. About life and sex and what it meant to live. By drawing those themes I was able to conquer my fears. Where there is life, there is hope. Sergio Aviles: I draw because there are characters with stories that live in my head and they need to escapeArtist_ARThomas: I make art to express and to inspire. I have a vision I must convey in order to function, a vision that can live on when I’m gone. AHGreenwood:  Drawing is not so much putting pencil to paper as it is process of extracting infectious material (aka stories) from my headKitao Taki: I draw manga for me. I draw what I want to read – stories of women who love women. Jason Thompson:  I draw to recreate the world the way I see it, like a filter, but mostly to tell stories. I have no interest in non-narrative forms of art. wooldridgeart: I paint to create a tangible nonexistent reality which one can stare without the feeling of intrusion! Lea Hernandez – Drawing is insight, transformation, prayer, meditation, a tonic for depression, a way to make myself laugh & a snark safety valve.

Today’s article is *my* art project – a portrait of compulsion in 140 words or less.

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