The only thing you ever really see on the Internet is how awesome everyone around you is. It’s no secret either. And most likely they are. What they are posting IS awesome and authentic and innovative and it drives you nuts that your art profile isn’t able to go from 0-100% awesome like their’s do.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve been practicing at something for years and just drifted away from it or you’re deciding to switch to a new venture spontaneously. Chances are that whatever you’re trying to get great at in the future, you probably suck at right now.
Comparing ourselves might be able to allow you to see where your weaknesses are in comparison to others. But obsessing over it is not fundamental for your health. It has taken me awhile to break free from realizing that I still have a long way to go in practicing my own art, but in doing so, there’s a few things I’ve realized along the way. I put more pressure on myself to be better than what I was which constantly lead me to always wanting to give up. What I once really loved to do was becoming stressful and seemingly pointless to continue.
In reality, this is what I should’ve been telling myself (and what you should tell yourself now):
Everyone Has To Start Somewhere
You will realize you’re kind of a perfectionist when even your BEST work makes you cry (and not in a good way).
Even if you feel fairly decent about the work you’ve put into it, you will randomly come across some gorgeous art piece on Pinterest going for the same visual concept that you were going for… but it will be better. And I do mean SO much better.
Realize that at that moment, you are taking in what only took them a minute to post to social media.
But do not rule out that they most likely spent hours (maybe a few days) working on that piece. They probably also cried and came across an art piece even more gorgeous than their own. That one piece of art is probably the result of a thousand rejected sketches that are now piled up on their desk that you don’t see.
Also remember that at one point in time, they couldn’t even DRAW that well. They were all stick figures and weird anatomy at one point as well. They had a phase where they had to figure out what their art style was. And even if they already had an idea, they still had to learn how to draw the basics.
So don’t be so hard on yourself when you sit there taking in 10 minutes of what probably took a week or more to complete. Practice makes perfect, and everybody’s gotta start SOMEWHERE.
Work With What You Already Have
Producing art does not require you to have a ton of money. I know, shocker!
But it’s one of those things that engulfed me a lot when I got back into drawing. When I really got back into drawing again, through all of my research I was being told how important quality supplies were (and they are… I’ll get into that later). For your art to look spectacular or just remotely nice, you need quality paints, quality coloring pencils, fine tipped pens, paper, brushes, the list could REALLY go on.
And all that’s fine and dandy, it really IS true. But if you can’t really afford to splurge on $60 paint sets and $50 coloring pencils, does that mean your dream can no longer be a reality?
lol yes, who on earth would believe that making great art required you to spend money right?
I did. 😐
In an unconscious way I did. I thought buying up the nice graphic tablets, and pigmented paints and coloring pencils would somehow transform my art and make me a better artist.
Well… my skills were still the same… but at least everything was more bold and vibrant!
Having quality supplies improved the overall look, but it didn’t grant me any super exclusive art skills that could only be obtained by paying $9595.95 for a golden pencil (or some other ridiculous notion).
Don’t fool yourself into believing that supplies will make up in the areas where you feel you lack. If you feel your anatomy is weird, an authentic pencil crafted from volcanic lava is not going to help you create remarkable body poses.
Quality products ARE important in the long run. But practice overrules them all.
Quality Products ARE Important
So maybe your skills are pretty decent, but they still don’t look as good as other pictures you’ve seen. It might be time to look into upgrading your supplies.
Why is it important?
Simply because the cheaper your products are, the less potent the materials used are. Cheaper brushes are prone to shed more. Cheaper watercolor paints are duller, chalkier, and don’t blend very well. Cheaper coloring pencils require more pressure for deeper colors, and even then the colors are nowhere NEAR as vibrant as professional coloring pencils are.
Upgrading your materials makes life easier for you and enhances your art dramatically. It always pays to do your research on what to buy as not everything expensive is worth it. But it is worth building a little arsenal of professional products you love as your art continues to evolve and improve.
Constantly Look Over Your Progress
The amount of time you spend comparing yourself to others, you should double that time and compare your own progress.
It helps immensely to see how far you’ve come in your own progress. What you’ve spent most of your time working on will improve and it will show every time you go back and review your progress. Just a simple change in how to create more believable body postures and facial expressions will improve your art. Finally figuring out how to draw in perspective will better the way you draw backgrounds and landscapes.
Take the time to always review your old art and compare it with your abilities now. I’m positive you’ll be thoroughly impressed with how far you’ve come!
Mix It Up Sometimes
Sometimes you sincerely do need to take a break. Other times, you might need to try out something new. Innovation at it’s core is taking an idea and figuring out a way to make it better.
Doesn’t matter where that idea comes from.
Branching out in your ideas helps you become more creative. It pushes your boundaries and forces you to make something out of nothing and gets you out of your comfort zone. If you’re always pencil (or pen) to your sketchbook, try doing a collage page with cutouts and prints. Get a little more creative and combine that collage into a sketch outline that you drew.
Try papier mache. Get into sculpting. Draw with coffee (or fruit punch). There’s a ton of weird things you can do that will help get those creative juices flowing. Continue to be inspired not only by your own art (it helps though), but by all the art around you. Dig your hands deep into it, you might be surprised just how creative you can get.
Just Do It.
Above all, if nothing else… Just Do It
Just get in there and get to creating! Sometimes, it may help to not even think about what you’re going or want to create. Just zone out a little and let your mind make the beautiful art it’s been wanting to make. Don’t allow yourself to become so obsessed with the magnificent skills of others that you don’t even want to touch a pencil again.
Don’t do that.
Turn it all off. Phones, computers, negative voices in your head.
Just get somewhere and create. Do it because you love it. It makes you feel good, and when you look over your own progress, you know that you are improving. Do it because it doesn’t matter who is better than you. Do it because it’s just what you want to do.
Just… do it. It will all be worth it in the end.
Have anything that you would tell your younger artistic self? Or just have some tips in general? Leave them in the comments section below!