Struggling With Your Art?
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Hi everyone!

So something that's been plaguing me for... well the past couple of years really, is hating my art. I'm talking about it now because it's gotten really bad lately to the point where I'm really struggling to love painting at all. I'm guessing some of you are probably thinking that I shouldn't hate my art, but I'm massively insecure in just about everything I produce - whether it be art, writing, even assignments - and I really do struggle with it sometimes.

But I'm learning that I'm being overly critical. Do you ever open up a half-finished drawing, or story, or poem, and go to start working on it, and then just suddenly realise how awful it is? You try to start editing but all the terrible things about it just close in on you until you're either so panicked or so miserable that you can't even try anymore? And you just stop? I know I do. 
Thing is, it's probably not as bad as you think. The more you look for the bad things - even subconsciously - the more you'll see.

What I've been needing to do - and maybe some of you too - is not to judge, but to observe
If you're having trouble with something and you're starting to panic about it (a painting will work better, but you could do it for a scene in a book too), just take a breath. Take a moment to look at it, then start describing it to yourself.
Say you've painted an eye.  Don't say 'it looks unfinished' or 'the lashes are too long there' or 'it's too smudgy' - observe it, don't judge it. Say 'it's about an inch across'. Say 'the iris is blue'. Say 'there are a couple of lower lashes visible'. Literally just sit there and say exactly what you see. It might take some time, and some practice (it did for me!), but you can do it! 
Describe it down to the smallest detail, if that's the time you need. 

By the time you're done, you'll probably feel a lot calmer. You'll also have a much greater grasp on what it is you're doing. You might even know where you want to start to make it even better! 

Put it like this - thoughts are like emails. Some are important, some are spam. Things like 'this looks like crap' - that's spam. You don't want to read spam. It's not constructive, so it won't help your painting. You can learn to sort the important emails from the spam, and observing will help with that! :)

So remember - observe! Don't judge! You'll get to where you want to be :hug:

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Comments (78)
KatiriHayashi's avatar
KatiriHayashi|Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you so much! This really helped. ^-^
Reply  ·  
Arasteia's avatar
Arasteia|Hobbyist Digital Artist
You're welcome! I'm glad it did! ^^
Reply  ·  
Judescreations's avatar
Judescreations|Professional Artisan Crafter
This is very helpful. Thank you!  I have long been a believer in getting some distance from my work; I stand back from it and observe.  It is surprising how much more you see when you aren't up close working on it.
Reply  ·  
Arasteia's avatar
Arasteia|Hobbyist Digital Artist
Glad to hear it! It's my pleasure! And yes definitely, that's so true!
Reply  ·  
wiztigers's avatar
wiztigersEdited |Hobbyist Digital Artist
The only one who has no choice but to live with you is you.

If you stop judging yourself, you should see it's easier to accept yourself.
If you accept yourself, you should see it's easier to accept others as they are, too.
If you accept others, you should see you won't judge them anymore.

You made a mistake ? Don't try to deny it, accept the fact you made it, think about how you could have avoided it (by acting differently, NOT by changing other's behaviours). If you could have, take note of it and try to do better next time : that's called experience and hope. If you couldn't have, why bother ? In both cases, move on. And don't forget from time to time, to celebrate your victories and proper advances, however small they are.

We all have only one life. Enjoying it with open eyes is the least we can do.
Reply  ·  
Arasteia's avatar
ArasteiaEdited |Hobbyist Digital Artist
well for the most part I have no problem accepting others so that's not an issue? That's not at all what this is about? 
And no, I'm not avoiding any mistakes? This is purely a journal to try to help people when they are so panicked they are not motivated enough to draw
Reply  ·  
wiztigers's avatar
wiztigers|Hobbyist Digital Artist
Trying to help others was what I tried to do, too.
My "You" was not mandatorily you, Arasteia. I barely know you ...

You gave good advice, I just tried to add my two cents.
With general advices that work for me and can maybe, just maybe, help someone else.
Reply  ·  
Arasteia's avatar
Arasteia|Hobbyist Digital Artist
Okay
Reply  ·  
blazelight45's avatar
I am critical of what I make often, especially when I'm really absorbed in it. I can relate a lot to it and especially with all the half-finished projects I have... thanks so much for making this post and for the advice! I'll try to be using it next time I feel overwhelmed with the problems I see in the art.
Reply  ·  
Arasteia's avatar
Arasteia|Hobbyist Digital Artist
You're so welcome! Hopefully it'll help you out ^^ 
Reply  ·  
trackrunner49011's avatar
trackrunner49011|Professional General Artist
I have this issue as well, and I try taking a moment to either reconstruct in my mind and see where I was going and continue or take the challenge to "make it better" /use it as a learning experience to improve on where I was going with it... 9 times out of 10 the issue is that I need to take more time daily to hone some skills. =P

The worst thing an artist can do is quit, and I hope to someday be able to reach your skill level with lighting and shadows... (cheesy sounding transparent encouragement? yes.) 

Keep being awesome! :D
Reply  ·  
Arasteia's avatar
Arasteia|Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yeah daily practice definitely helped me back when I used to do it XD But yeah you're totally right ^^ 
And ah gosh thank you so much :D You definitely will if you keep going :la: 
will ;3; 
Reply  ·  
mrstyus's avatar
mrstyus|Professional Traditional Artist
I do this a couple a lot and begin to panic to an extremely outlandish amount. But I have learned to take 10 deep breaths and come back to it in 10 to 20 minutes. I will try and do the observation technique you described. 
Reply  ·  
Arasteia's avatar
Arasteia|Hobbyist Digital Artist
Fair enough :( And that's a good technique!
Hope mine works for you :D
Reply  ·  
DeathBlade88's avatar
Oh, this happens with me a lot when I was in drawing class. But because it was an assignment, I had to go with it
otherwise I would get zero sleep. And I was already staying up until 2 in the morning to get those drawings done anyways.
Reply  ·  
Arasteia's avatar
Arasteia|Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ah yep fair enough, this might not work if you're on a time limit XD
Reply  ·  
Jess--Art's avatar
Jess--Art|Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Yep I know the feeling it's a bit like accepting your physical flauws just accept you can't change same with art 
Reply  ·  
Arasteia's avatar
ArasteiaEdited |Hobbyist Digital Artist
You can definitely change what you don't like about your art, that's not what I'm saying at all! I meant that sometimes in order to move forward with a painting, you have to not judge it so you feel good enough to work on it XD 
Reply  ·  
Jess--Art's avatar
Jess--Art|Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I do agree tho I was just saying 
Reply  ·  
Arasteia's avatar
Arasteia|Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ah okay ^^
Reply  ·  
BrendanWrighting's avatar
BrendanWrighting|Hobbyist General Artist
Oh yes, this is me exactly. I am over critical. I also look at other's artworks and think "they do it spot on, and I can't seem to get there. What if I never get that good". The other day I watched some videos on "mistakes beginner artists make" and the artwork in there was in my standards amazing, yet there were so many issues with them. I just felt that if those had so many issues, I should probably just give up. 

Your advise is definitely needed! Thanks for it ^^
Reply  ·  
Arasteia's avatar
Arasteia|Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yeah I hear you :hug: 
And no, I mean if you found them amazing, then obviously they had something really good about them! And whether they were technically flawed or not, it doesn't take away from the fact that they had that special something that made you like them - and that's beyond any technical skill :) So no, definitely don't give up, as you have just proven to yourself that it is possible to make amazing artworks even if others find them to be flawed! Don't give up! :hug:
You're welcome! 
Reply  ·  
BrendanWrighting's avatar
BrendanWrighting|Hobbyist General Artist
That's a very good point; one I never thought of. Thanks for your fresh perspective on things! Hug  At the end of the day, we draw for ourselves first and then for others. As long as we enjoy ourselves and keep learning as we go ^^
Reply  ·  
Arasteia's avatar
Arasteia|Hobbyist Digital Artist
My pleasure! :hug: And yes definitely! ^^ 
Reply  ·  
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