That not so fresh feeling...

  • What do you guys do when you have those "I suck" days? When you feel you're nowhere close to where you want to be with your illustrations. I'm going to just keep drawing in my sketch pad today with no agenda, but boy is my inner critic loud today. Thoughts on taming that inner critic welcome!

  • Pro SVS OG

    @Laurel-Aylesworth I have had 10 days of that. Thinking that I will never get anywhere I want to be, that my art is miles away from what I see in my mind's eye, my design skills are pitiful and my writing sucks. If there is a secret to snap out of it, I do not know it - but I have been through it so many times to know it passes: generally heralding a period of great productivity and growth.
    When the day really really sucks in that way, I do not do art and I do not look at art. I grab one of those very addictive lowbrow novels (my daughter's YA library is a good source) and disappear from the world of living for a day or two. I guess Jake Parker would say that replenishes my creative bank account 😉 Normally I emerge with a new love for storytelling in whatever form and that is enough to propel me to start drawing again.

  • SVS OG

    I have those days too.

    If it's really effecting my work then I stop drawing and I take a day to be creative in other areas. I'll make a video, or write a blog post, or work on my website, or send out a mail chimp post. I do something that still advances my career, but doesn't require me to draw.

    I also review my work that I like. That shows I know what I'm doing. I'll remind myself that I am capable of creating good stuff. If I did it before then I'll do it again.

    And lastly I'll remind myself not to compare myself to others. That this is only a race against myself. And that as long as I'm 1% better than yesterday then I'll eventually get to where I want to be.

    I don't know if feelings of inadequacy are associated with creative block, or vice versa, but I think the ways I outlined in the other thread about how to deal with creative block can also help here too.

  • SVS OG

    I have been in that rut lately and it is NO fun. But like @smceccarelli said, it keeps coming back. I think of it as a cycle.

    This is how I think of it: Your understanding of what makes good art and your ability to make good art do not progress at the same pace.

    When we're working and watching and learning and getting critiques, our understanding of what makes good art shoots forward. During the time when our understanding of good work is high, you are at the most uncomfortable "I suck" stage. You know what you want to do. You see how others are doing it. But you aren't seeing it in what you produce and its really, really frustrating.

    But, hopefully, you keep working and trying to apply that knowledge in your work. And it starts looking better, bit by bit. Sometimes, you are even ALMOST creating work as good as you know how to. Your knowledge and ability are side by side, neither ahead of the other. This is the fun, comfortable, "Look at this AWESOME thing I just made!" stage.

    But it's a cycle. You keep learning, and working, back and forth. Knowledge always moves first though, thats the way it's gotta be. And that means there will be times where you KNOW more than you can DO. The trick, in my experience, is to just keep moving forward with the knowledge that it IS a cycle, and this just means you're getting to that fun stage.

    I've been meaning to write a blog post about this actually, I just haven't yet. Someday. 🙂

  • @Sarah-LuAnn This is so beautifully written, Sarah, I would love to read your blog post about it. You've captured it in such a way that it sounds like a POSITIVE THING, which I appreciate. And it's how I'm going to reframe looking at my creative process.

  • Great thread. It was just what I needed today. I guess when I am feeling uninspired, I like to listen to a good art podcast or youtube clip from an artist that is really positive and encouraging.

    I love to hear others share about how they fought through the self doubt and came out better on the other end.

  • My inner critic used to be so loud I was frozen in time. Took almost 20 years to overcome it. I gave the inner critic a new job, and renamed it "the inner critique". Basically, if it is not helping me to move forward it needs to sit down and be quiet. I don't have time to spare on it. And even though it rears its ugly head from time to time, I remind it that it has a new job until it gets to work.

  • SVS OG

    I work in a similar fashion to Jake. I'm at a point now when I can tell I'm having an 'off' drawing day I usually don't force it. I've found that if I do I produce more work that I'm unhappy with and it further puts me in the hole as the day progresses. Looking over past work or taking time to write or play music is usually my go to. That becomes harder if you feel you're in a slump lasting weeks or months. In that case I'd say keep drawing through it!

  • SVS OG

    I'm the same way. If I try to power through it when I'm having an bad drawing day I'll just sit there for 13 hours and make a lot of bad drawings. Usually it's because I didn't get enough sleep or I just have too many problems on my mind. So a day of resting usually does the trick and I'm back on track by the next day.

  • Too many days "off" and when I go back I have to relearn somethings it feels like so, if nothing else even if it is rough sketches that never get fleshed out I try to draw at least 2x a week. I stopped doing anything for 20 years and it hurt me when I think about it now, think about it 20 years of progress I could have made but didn't. So now I try not to go too long. I took 3 months off and when I came back I was so uugh. I like to look at other's work for inspiration but that can backfire too where you get into that omg I will never be that good why bother inner critic voice. I just have to remind myself everyone has their own style and I am competing with myself. Sometimes I just have to doodle with no intention and it helps. Doodle and something will come out sometimes.

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