Help! Totally stuck with art

  • For a long time now drawing has been absolutely miserable to practice. Despite having a bookshelf full of excellent guides, an SVS subscription, and any number of online tutorials/videos I can't seem to get any traction going. I've tried doing challenges, joining groups, taking classes and even making study partners and it remains a grueling, awful experience.

    Trying to apply what I've learned to projects has also been a wash. It feels like I'm stuck in a vicious cycle of lacking the skill to do fun projects but too frustrated with the grind of practice to get better.

    Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. It's become so bad these days that I'm considering just dropping art completely.

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    I'm going to give some advice that maybe is the opposite of what you were expecting. Typically I'd say "trust the process" or take a class or something, etc. BUT I'm going the opposite here.

    My advice is maybe you don't want to be an artist after all. And that is totally ok! Realizing this takes ALL the pressure off of you. Maybe you are just someone who appreciates art and illustration? That's awesome! It doesn't mean you have to actually do it yourself. I feel this way about music. I LOVE music. But that doesn't mean I need to learn to play the guitar. I can just sit back and enjoy what others have made. And that is totally ok too!

    I had a great teacher early in school who talked about how hard art was to make and get really good at. He asked if there is ANYTHING that any of us would rather be doing. A girl raised her hand and he asked her questions about it. I should note, he was actually interested in this topic. He wasn't doing a good cop/bad cop thing where he slams you if you raised your hand. The girl said she wanted to really work with animals. We talked about it for a bit and she bailed on art school and started working at the humane society instead. Best decision she ever made! She was happy doing that.

    Art is hard and difficult to learn, but it should also be fun along the way. If you aren't having fun, explore something else and see where it takes you. Follow your gut and maybe you will come back to making art. Or maybe you wont. Either way is ok! : )

    Good luck. I know this is tough. Let me know if you have any questions.

  • @Lee-White Thanks for your honest answer! I guess I didn't want to consider that because of all the time and effort I've invested in drawing (sunk cost fallacy heyo) but you're right, it might be time to find a different path if this is not working at all.

  • @Lee-White I like the answer you gave. I always wondered how art teachers would approach this question. You know I have wondered if I am in the right field considering I am turning 49 in August and I have not made any financial success. However, I have had great success in art school. I have a bit of a Van Gogh complex, I think. I keep drawing because I enjoy it weather I sell any of it or not. Actually listening to you and Will (I love your art business series... thanks for that) I am getting a better understanding what success looks like.

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    Thanks guys, It is a tough answer to give, but sometimes the right one I think. I read a book about writing a while back and the author said something that stuck with me (along the lines of my previous post). I'm going to paraphrase it here as I remember it, so it's not totally word for word what she said.

    She said "Many people attend my workshops which is great, and many people go to critique groups which is also great. But many people I meet often only talk about writing, but they aren't actually writing anything. They meet up and talk technique, or discuss this book or that, but a writer is someone who actually writes things. Writing is hard enough for people who LOVE it. The people who only discuss it all the time and go to this workshop and that workshop, may want to really think about their relationship to writing. There is nothing wrong with being a READER. They should enjoy the process of reading. Relish it. Soak it in and be happy with it."

    I think the same thing applies to art. I've talked about this with many students so you aren't alone by any means.

Log in to reply