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Struggling With Your Art?

Wed May 31, 2017, 12:02 AM
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:

Add a Comment:
 
:iconkatirihayashi:
KatiriHayashi Featured By Owner May 28, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you so much! This really helped. ^-^
Reply
:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner May 28, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You're welcome! I'm glad it did! ^^
Reply
:iconjudescreations:
Judescreations Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2017  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
:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Glad to hear it! It's my pleasure! And yes definitely, that's so true!
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:iconwiztigers:
wiztigers Featured By Owner Edited Jun 4, 2017  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
:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner Edited Jun 4, 2017  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
:iconwiztigers:
wiztigers Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2017  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
:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Okay
Reply
:iconblazelight45:
blazelight45 Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2017
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
:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You're so welcome! Hopefully it'll help you out ^^ 
Reply
:icontrackrunner49011:
trackrunner49011 Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2017  Professional 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
:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2017  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; 
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:iconmrstyus:
mrstyus Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2017  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. 
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:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Fair enough :( And that's a good technique!
Hope mine works for you :D
Reply
:icondeathblade88:
DeathBlade88 Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2017
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
:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ah yep fair enough, this might not work if you're on a time limit XD
Reply
:iconjess--art:
Jess--Art Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2017  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 
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:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner Edited Jun 1, 2017  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
:iconjess--art:
Jess--Art Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2017  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I do agree tho I was just saying 
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:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ah okay ^^
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:iconbrendanwrighting:
BrendanWrighting Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2017  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
:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2017  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
:iconbrendanwrighting:
BrendanWrighting Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2017  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
:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
My pleasure! :hug: And yes definitely! ^^ 
Reply
:iconzaloffshat:
Zaloffshat Featured By Owner May 31, 2017
Great advice! It is so true with a lot of artists, most of them are their own worst critic! (I know I am!) It is best to just step back, look at your artwork and see the positive more so than the negative of your work.
Reply
:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner May 31, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much! And yes that's so true! ^^
Reply
:iconzaloffshat:
Zaloffshat Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2017
You're certainly welcome! :D (Big Grin) 
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:iconwolfmoss:
Wolfmoss Featured By Owner May 31, 2017   General Artist
This is so true! Very wise advice. I stopped be creative for nearly 10 years due to this, and am only just getting back to it now. Wish I'd read this back then! :)
Reply
:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner May 31, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks so much! ^^ 
Reply
:iconlunarestrella:
LunarEstrella Featured By Owner May 31, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
:hug: this was an awesome journal hun and to be honest I've been going through a kinda bummed phase about my art for whatever reason. I'm just at a point i don't even want to open it up and work on it. It may be a bit of some anxiety that I've been fighting with deadlines for my Thesis and licensing stuff coming up but I'm really struggling.  This helped me a ton! Thank you!
Reply
:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner May 31, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you :hug:
Ah sorry to hear that, hopefully that will improve soon! Good luck with everything!
No problem at all ^^ 
Reply
:iconlunarestrella:
LunarEstrella Featured By Owner May 31, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
^_^ Thank you! :) Its a little better XD but it took me cleaning my house ....really digging through and throwing stuff away to get back out of the funk lol!
Reply
:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner May 31, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
No problem! And aah that sounds therapeutic! 
Reply
:iconlunarestrella:
LunarEstrella Featured By Owner May 31, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
XD and oddly to me it really is LOL! I make a huge mess and then turn the house back into a masterpiece LOL!
Reply
:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner May 31, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Haha that'd be amazing :D
Reply
:iconlunarestrella:
LunarEstrella Featured By Owner May 31, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
XD it is LOL!
Reply
:iconserrabritt:
SerraBritt Featured By Owner May 31, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Really nice journal here.

My trick is to look back at my art.  I have a 30 day thing that clearly shows my progression, that ALWAYS reminds me that I'm not bad at art.
Reply
:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner May 31, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks! :)
And yes that's a really good trick! :D
Reply
:iconpawsomenss:
pawsomenss Featured By Owner May 31, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
This is such a nice thing to write...It really does take a long time to be satisfied with what you work on but I'm glad you wrote something like this because it's so amazing and kind...
You're so good~~
Reply
:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner May 31, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Aw thank you ^^ It does, yes, but it does happen eventually! :hug: 
Reply
:iconwarriorshaymin:
WarriorShaymin Featured By Owner May 31, 2017  Student General Artist
Thank you so much for this advice. I tend to struggle a lot with Digital drawing and traditional paper and pencil drawing so this helps a lot.
Reply
:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner May 31, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You're welcome! I'm glad it helps! 
Reply
:iconwarriorshaymin:
WarriorShaymin Featured By Owner May 31, 2017  Student General Artist
It does.
Reply
:iconslyflyspyguy:
SlyFlySpyGuy Featured By Owner May 31, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
I am overly critical of most things. I think my writing is one of the few things I'm not overly critical of. Though, I still can't write anything right now.

I hope things improve for you soon. :)
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:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner May 31, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ah well it's good you're not critical of writing! 
Thanks, I hope so too!
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:iconpaigie-doll:
paigie-doll Featured By Owner May 31, 2017
💙💙💙
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:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner May 31, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
<3
Reply
:iconthedoorwithin:
TheDoorWithin Featured By Owner May 31, 2017  Student Writer
Such great advice! <3 Thank you Ari!!! :3
Reply
:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner May 31, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you! No problem <3
Reply
:iconnekob00:
NekoB00 Featured By Owner May 31, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Honestly and truly thank you for this. I don't so much have this problem with traditional, but I'm terrible about it with digital. I have no confidence in my digital art at all >.< 
Reply
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