The burn of pushing your artistic skills forward..I know i’ve felt it. Then again, what great artist hasn’t?
I know a lot of people who throw the towel in on themselves waaay too early when it comes to mastering their weaknesses in art; whether it be anatomy, shading, or color theory… any one of them can beat you around like a rag doll and make you feel like there is no hope. But consider that feeling a blessing. Allow me to elaborate.
I remember high school as if it were only yesterday … ok maybe more like, as if it were last week. People would ‘Ohhhh’ and ‘Ahhh’ at my then “Fantastic Artwork”…and I would just eat it. I’d eat it and continue drawing my big-eyed, spiky haired anime guy … And the weeks would pass, and people would continue to ‘Ohhh’ and ‘Aaahh’ as I drew another..and Another..and ANOTHER… big-eyed, spiky haired anime guy. And when there was an art related assignment, my teachers and peers would, again, ‘ohh’ and ‘ahhh’ at how well I implemented my…big-eyed, spiky haired anime guy in the project.
Now, that’s not really the only thing I’d draw, but I think you get the gist of what I’m saying. I’d draw the same things, because people would praise me for how well I did it, and because of that my art suffered. Terribly. I’d refrain from drawing anything I wasn’t completely confident in drawing because I was afraid people would no longer think I’m good (even though in reality I wasn’t all that great at that point), and I wouldn’t get any experience in. I was drawing for ego stroking, and in my opinion that’s really poor artistic motivation.
What I learned later on is that with art, as with anything you may want to improve and perfect, you need to go on the offensive when it comes to your weaknesses. You must. You cannot hide from them, otherwise you’ve capped yourself out as an artist. I know it’s scary, it feels bad, you feel helpless at times, but it happens. It’s part of the process. What you should do however, is make sure you’re surrounding yourself with artists who are better than you, especially in your areas of weakness. The artist doesn’t even have to be physically present. You can use a youtube artist who’s process resonates with you.. or even books by artists for artists. And don’t even worry about your age. It’s irrelevant – you’re not too old or too young to go on the offense.
I hated drawing hands, and feet(feet not so much now). Fingers and toes confused the life out of me, and no matter what process I was using, they wouldn’t come out properly the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 10th, or 20th time. So I’d drop it. And that’s where a lot of us go wrong. Maybe we needed 40, 60 or even 200 times. The process will be there all the time; it’s part of the game. With some things, it will feel more like a struggle than with other things. But it will be there. When I was young, I would draw images on my magna-doodle all day long, over and over again, to simulate a TV show that I wish existed but didn’t. I was loving it, giving voices to my characters with each image I drew, making stories, etc. Little did I know that through doing those things, I was improving my craft. It didn’t feel like work, but it was. That’s the power of passion. Now, when you bring this skill to the forefront of your life, you become aware of your shortcomings, and this is usually where the honey-moon phase for artists ends. Now you can either face these shortcomings, or just say ‘Meh, this is hard, I don’t feel like drawing anymore’, and a few years later, dream of what could have been. I’m sure that’s not the result many aspiring artists want. It’s not the result I wanted, so I hoped to it and got to practicing my feet more recently.
And once I feel I’ve mastered them, I’ll go intensively with hands. That doesn’t mean I’ll stop drawing feet, oh no sir. I’ll make sure I implement what I’ve tackled in an pieces I create thereafter, but intensive practice has worked for me and I’m sure it could work for other struggling artists as well. Just find a good tutorial on your area of struggle, and just sit back, relax, and worry about just that. If you worry about everything else you’re bad at while you’re working on something, you’re going to burn yourself out with depression and self doubt. Take it easy, and just draw.
It’s an adventure, its a nightmare, but there’s no feeling better than being an ace at what you love doing. Don’t let the process discourage you. So often in society, we only see the tip of the iceberg; the successes of an individual without observing the blood, sweat, and tears they invested in getting to where they are today. Keep your end-goal in mind as your draw, the things you want to achieve with your art in the future, and above all, never give up on yourself.
From one struggling artist to many others.