How to Stay Motivated
I haven't picked up my sketchbook or done much art in a few months. My IG has largely been inactive. I'd like to say it's because I've been busy getting my classroom off the ground for the start of the school year, but it's been different. I haven't felt motivated to do art in fact, I've been downright discouraged.
Basically this is the background: I had to attend an AP conference because I'm teaching AP art this year. During the time, we had to create a practice series of works of art, similar to what our students were doing. I was kind of working with some ideas I had with my personal portfolio (kill two birds with one stone so to speak). I already could start telling that doing "commercial art" for lack of a better word had some people looking down on what I do. When I presented my work, it was not at the level of finish some of the others were and all people could say way "it's not that good, it doesn't look advanced enough". Colleagues...fellow teachers...said this, which to me was kind of insulting as a teacher. It also doesn't help that their comments triggered all of my wonderful Imposter Syndrome symptoms and reminded me of failing my own AP Art exams twice while in school. All I could think about was "have I really gotten better?" and silently curse colleagues who had hardly seen work over a three day period were seemingly unfairly judging my work.
I didn't think it affected me too much until I realized I've hardly drawn over the last three months (since mid-August). I can't muster up a lot of desire and I feel discouraged.
So my question for you guys is this...how have you bounced back from something like this? How do you remotivate yourself when it seems like old insecurities and fears are becoming crippling again? How do you bounce back from what seem like vague (I hesitate to use the word "unfair", much as I would like to) critiques from people whose opinions were in passing and it shouldn't matter?
I thought this would be an interesting discussion.
Laurel Aylesworth 0 last edited by
@lpetiti I have a friend who was in academia and that sounds about right, but I'm sorry they got to you in this way. It sounds more like ego-stroking behavior who love to hear themselves talk, opposed to a genuine desire to help and encourage you as an artist. I cannot stress this enough, but find a group of people (in person) or online to create a critique group. Find others who are at your level or higher so you can support each other...where they can see the potential in your art and give you constructive, not destructive, critiques.
Joen Söderholm last edited by
Right before I saw your thread, I posted a thread about how I some days feel like I can't draw anything at all. And I think a lot of it has to do with similar issues as yours.
I've never had a formal education in illustration or arts, and so I often feel that Impostor syndrome when I work professionally with illustration and feel that "real" illustrators look down on what I do (that might just be my imagination though). It really is a difficult feeling to get rid of.
Since I have similar struggles right now, I don't have any real good answers for you. What has worked for me in the past though, has been to change things up in different ways. Like finding another place to draw, switch from traditional art to digital, or just switch from a pencil to a pen.
Maybe it would also be helpful to put some distance between yourself and your insecurities and fears, as is common in cognitive behavior therapy. Like noticing that you are thinking "I'm not good enough to do this" and try to change it into "I just had a thought that I'm not good enough, and my thoughts aren't objective truth". (and other people's opinions of your work aren't objective truths either)
@Laurel-Aylesworth-0 Yeah that's how I felt at the time. What was ridiculous it was so we could practice what our students go through developing work...but the students get the entire school year to complete their assignments. There was definitely an aura of snobbery in the discussion. First, how are you supposed to create a finished piece overnight?
I've been starting to build a nice community of fellow illustrators which is helping. My poor brain though...portfolio reviews and critiques have NOT been kind to me over the years. I think it's like you said, much of it throughout the years seemed to have been about unrealistic expectations and/or ego stroking. So I have to get comfortable hearing constructive feedback.
@Joen-Söderholm I like your reference to CBT. My therapist, who thank God is also someone who specializes in Art therapy, works with me through that too.
Jeremy Ross last edited by
Hi @lpetiti, I think the best thing to do is avoiding thinking in “motivation” and instead building good “habits”.
Like many others here, I’m pursuing art on my free time after long days at work in engineering, after family responsibilities, and after I squeeze in a workout. Motivation, like willpower, is usually non-existent for me; therefore, I rely on habit and just having fun with my art.
I just make it a habit to do something -anything- related to improving my art practice each day.
Practice on your weaknesses and keep making art you love.
Tristan Lapetz last edited by
Take this with a grain of salt as I'm a newer fella.
Habits, like Mr. Ross said, habits are there to keep you drawing when all you want is to sleep or when you feel like you don't have time. Habits help a ton and they work best when you start incredibly small and consistent.
Also, when I get negative feedback or feel as though I've hit a plateau, I try and remind myself why I do art in the first place. For me, there are many facets to that answer and those many facets keep me going. So it might help to ask yourself why you do art, why you started art, what you love about art.
I've also found that keeping general track of my time spent doing art helps me feel better when I have a slow week. It's a nice reminder that my slower weeks are still better than the weeks when I was still ramping up my habits.
Make sure to phrase it to yourself positively as "then I'll get to draw" or "now I can draw!" instead of "now I have to draw."
I hope this helps a lil, I'm not sure I've done the absolute best at getting this structure of mine across.
@lpetiti i’m in the same boat as you tho not for the same reason. After a string of horrible low paying jobs, I’ve fallen back into my old rut. I don’t have any advice to give since I’m also figuring this out. I just want you to know you’re not alone. ️
Thank you for all of the responses! It's been really hard even getting back into the habit of drawing. Thankfully I have a lot of ideas and inspiration...but the execution is definitely not there recently,.
donnamakesart last edited by
I feel like critics should matter but it’s important to evaluate whether they will take you towards or away from the direction you want to go.
As for motivation, I’m also in a creative rut haha. Going back to my why or getting clear on what specific process I enjoy when doing art helps me heal when I feel misaligned and community challenges like inktober help me get back into the game of personal projects
@donnamakesart I agree with what you say about critics and critiques. Most of the time they do matter, but it was the way they phrased it. Personally, hearing the phrase "I don't see any skill" was a slap in the face, especially coming from fellow teachers. It was the absolutes and the flippantness of it that stung so badly. I'd never dream of being that way with a colleague, but clearly they didn't feel the same way.
donnamakesart last edited by
@lpetiti in that case, ignore. That’s bullying not a critic
@donnamakesart Definitely agree. It made me concerned about the students they'll be teaching. If they're bullying adults, God help their students.
Even if it is bullying, I wish it was something I could ignore and forget...