They often claim that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become a master in any given field. It's the consistent, relentless practice that paves the way to excellence.

For a lifetime, I've been racking up flight hours in the realm of programming and the web. It would be nice to say that the reason is innate determination, but the truth is much simpler: it's the sheer joy I derive from it that makes this relentless practice not feel like work at all.

Recently, I've been trying to put into practice a less popular rule, the 100-Hour Rule. The premise is that with just a bit of proactive learning, one can elevate their competency far beyond the typical individual.

The latest of these experiments I'm undertaking is with ink drawing.

It all happened quite swiftly: last weekend I stumbled upon a highly talented artist on Instagram, Ryan Gajda. I ended up binge-watching all his videos in a single day, then I noticed a page on his website about the tools he uses for his work.

The very next day, I went out, bought them, and sketched this:

Not exactly a masterpiece, right? It began as a Jim Carrey in "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"... but then evolved into something else to compensate for my lack of skill.

A couple of days later:

Still meh, but definitely more complex!

Yesterday, I randomly picked a video (this one) and within a couple of hours, this drawing emerged:

The progress made in under 6 hours of practice is glaringly obvious. And they're only 6 hours!

Before these, the last drawings I made were, I believe, when I was a child. My grandfather, a professional painter, would spend Sundays teaching me the tricks of the trade. The colors, the balance of shapes... he was another who had put in his 10,000 hours. Likely more in the ballpark of 50,000.

My first sketch after 30 years wasn't entirely horrendous, thanks to the bunch of weekend hours of practice I had as a child with my grandfather. My more developed taste for design compared to the average programmer is due to the same practice as a kid.

I like the idea of becoming a tiny expert in many different areas. It's something I've always admired in others. Maybe none of these practices will accompany me for a lifetime, but the mere fact of having engaged in them once in a somewhat serious manner, gifts you skills or a way of seeing things that stay with you.