A Realization

  • So I had a sort of epiphany recently and I thought I would share in case it can help others as well.

    So I’m often dissatisfied with my work because I feel like the skills I need for my piece to be what I want it to be are always just out of reach. I was reading a book yesterday where one of the characters say something like "she is always unhappy about the skills she has not yet learned rather than joyful for the skills she has gained". This made me realize that I think the reason I often feel like I don’t have the skills that I need is because I am constantly in the mindset of pushing myself. I am almost never in my comfort zone because I am constantly pushing myself outside of it which is great for growing and learning but because I haven’t allowed myself to settle into the skills I have conquered I have continued to make work I am unsatisfied with. So I’ve been dialing back the difficulty of my drawings, creating drawings that are easy but make me feel more accomplished than the ones that pushed me.

    So for whoever needs to hear it. Take a step back. Stop pushing yourself for a bit, moderate it. The person who works non stop but never rests will not grow as much as the person who balances work and rest.

  • I love this, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I am just like you in this way and it is exhausting. For myself I feel like I am behind because I didn’t go to an art school and I spent my 20s getting married and starting a family, and I need to fight to catch up. Recently, I realized that because of this, I wasn’t even enjoying making art anymore. This past year has been me trying to find the joy again which has meant letting go of media that I didn’t really like but felt like I had to master, and chasing whatever kinds of art excite me. Glad you’ve decided to chase joy too.

  • SVS OG

    @Griffin Absolutely! I think many of us are in this situation. I push myself a lot because of my age--I feel like I'm coming up from behind. And I don't mind pushing myself, though I do think it can cause perfectionism if it goes too far.

    The main way I have encouraged myself is by looking back. I keep some of my early work and when I realize I'm getting better, that helps me keep going. And also I take stock from time to time to see what I've learned and what I want to prioritize during the coming year. But especially at the beginning, there's so much to learn at once that you feel like you're battling on all sides and it can be overwhelming, and that's why looking back helps.

    I'm glad you have found a solution that works for you. I don't think there's a set formula, but I do think it's important to listen to yourself. In any case, if you feel yourself going beyond a pleasant challenge and into anxiety and self-disparagement, it's probably time to ease up.

  • I woke up feeling that way about something I worked on last night! So glad to have stumbled upon this perspective and reminder. I'll definitely be reminding others of the same. Thank you!

  • Hey Griffin.

    Thanks for sharing. I can totally relate. In fact, I've stopped making portfolio pieces and am just working on trying to hone my skills and technique. I've been practicing by drawing and then painting from screenshots from film. I find this a really good for taking the pressure off myself, but still working towards my goals in a rewarding way.

  • @Griffin You're always going to think that you lack the skills to create the art that you visualize in your mind.
    And often that times that vision is rarely achieved. We never regret trying. We regret the things we did not do.
    And what does that say that you're creating something that is easier? If it's easy that means the majority of
    artists can do the same thing and you're not unique. Distinguish yourself. Create illustration that have a distinct voice and attitude.

  • I’ve been feeling this way, too, but more extreme: I have their weird expectation to think up an idea for an illustration and draw it beautifully and flawlessly in 5 seconds. Not sure where that came from! Though I suspect the root comes from the “best practice” of posting frequently on Instagram.

    This thread reminds me of something I’ve heard over from one artist YouTube video to another and I think also on the 3 Point Perspective podcast is “remember to have fun”. Something I keep forgetting to do.

Log in to reply