Digital Anxiety


  • SVS OG

    I was recalling an experience I had when I was studying art back in the 80's! I was taking some graphic art classes at the time. We did everything traditionally. Clay coated paper, ink pens and rulers and compasses. Everything had to be perfect. Every nub and corner was scraped off with an exacto knife to make it clean and precise. I had to scrap things I had worked on for hours and start over. We had to do math and figure out pica and wher to put things on pages.... Ha! One of my greatest weaknesses at that time...math. I had great math anxiety too.

    One day we had a special occasion to go to some other building during class where they showed us the up and coming computer art that was emerging. I panicked! It was like the Gutenburg press taking over the illuminated manuscript job of the monks. I was pretty sure all my hard work was for nothing and that I would soon become obsolete! I think I was actually supposed to be excited about this new technology 🙂

    Now, here I am today and I am thinking what a great tool to have-kind of like word processing was amazing after typing and erasing or handwriting papers double spaced in school for years. First the pencil copy in the newsprint and then ballpoint or BIC pen on the fancy white lined paper. BUT, I am finding that I have something akin to math anxiety when I try to learn. So many brushes and tools and so forth. I watch people clicking around and sketching and choosing colors and layers, etc. and it looks so effortless to them.

    Anyway, I will plug along as I am but it feels a little discouraging today because I just want to be done with things and I have to poke away the old fashioned way. Thanks for listening. I am not in the mood for art right now. guess I will take a little break.



  • Taking breaks is always healthy. I'm also having anxiety with digital art. I just got one of the smaller wacom cintiqs and i got clips studio. Ive barely touched it. I think it's perfectly natural to feel that anxiety when it comes to trying a new thing. The unknown is scary.



  • It's okay! There is a ton to learn in the digital world, but you don't have to do it all at once. You might want to search YouTube for some introductory videos and study one or two things at a time. It took those digital savants a lot of time, learning, and practice to get to where they are today, just like you did with the traditional stuff. If you want to do it then you totally can! But the traditional stuff is still very valuable today and I think it always will be.


  • Pro

    @Marsha-Kay-Ottum-Owen I often feel that way too! There's always something new popping up and I'm thinking "Awww shucks, I spent this long becoming an expert in Photoshop and now everyone's going on about Procreate and I gotta learn that too?" However, your post reminded me that the traditional way had its downsides too, and could be quite tedious! I wonder if new artists who have only learned to draw digitally would have "traditional anxiety" about the prospect of learning the techniques you've described!

    Things are always changing and our learning will never be "done", however you've reminded the changes aren't always bad! I'm also reminded that we don't really start from scratch anymore because we have the fundamentals down and our knowledge stacks up on itself.



  • @NessIllustration I can attest to the presence of “traditional AND digital anxiety” at the same time! Coming back to painting and drawing after about 19 years away, I have lost my traditional muscle memory and found the need to learn the digital side of things that really did not exist so much when I was really ‘doing’ art.

    At first I was anxious that I needed to get really good really fast and make up for lost time. But I am not young anymore and staying up later than 12am wears me down. I’m a momma, wife, and preschool teacher, and am trying to wear a lot of hats. I sometimes don’t give myself the credit for the accomplishments I have gained in the last year. And the other side of the coin is that I am easily led down the rabbit hole when I get on the computer. Hubs says I should do a time map to see what I am doing and compare that to what I think I am doing. ( But I don’t need the map to know that endlessly scrolling Pinterest hasn’t helped my skill set).

    Anywho, the point is, I am letting go of the “hurry, hurry,hurry” thinking allowing myself to work traditionally and digitally and make a bunch of duds and a few things I like. I’m allowing myself to take the time to improve but also keeping the fire under my behind lit so I can reach my goals. Some day in the next year or so I’ll have a growing portfolio that shows off what I do best and a publication or two as well. That’s the goal anyway.

    Here’s to all of us feeling the anxiety and pushing on anyway. We’re doing it one little step at a time.

    One of the things I try to remember when teaching my preschoolers is THE POWER OF YET. I can add “yet” to the statement and suddenly it becomes empowering and full of potential rather than a dead end. “I am really not good at digital stuff...yet” “ I have been working but my drawing and painting skills are not what they once were...yet.” Keep it up y’all.



  • Well I think you have an advantage because you know your traditional art so it will be easier to learn digital because you already know the fundamentals.I think no one tells you how long the digital art thing takes to learn it took me years, it is made out to be simple and it is not. You have made the right choice by taking lessons I stumbled about for a long time trying to do it all myself .good luck!


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