It's no secret that last November I took up Roller Derby as a new hobby, (don't get me started you won't shut me up) and while I have come on leaps and bounds as a skater since those first few wobbly sessions, I think one of the most fascinating things is that is has taught me more about how I learned Art and why I keep making it.
It is a difficult and gutsy thing as a grown up to take up a brand new skill and I am always saddened to see many “young artists” (in the sense they are new to art no matter their age) complaining about how shit they are or how intimidated they are every time they start a new picture, for varying reasons, so they put it off and just don't make anything. I have been drawing so long I forgot what it feels like to be new at something but since learning skating from the bambi stage, (as a grown up where quite a few 10 year olds are better than me) it has put the learning of a skill into context. A few of my non skating friends have told me I'm a “talented skater”. This is untrue because 9 months ago I couldn't go 2 minutes without falling arse over tits. I didn't just strap skates on my feet session one and magically was able to skate. I'm just someone who has put the time into learning a skill and is now at a minorly competent level with said skill because I skate 8 hours a week, every week. Not magical at all.
Or maybe the duck tape is magic, who knows?
I have been drawing since foreeeever, but I've been consciously drawing with purpose for illustrations and paintings since I was around 11 years old. I am now almost 27, which gives me 16 years and a hell of a lot of drawing in between. I didn't wake up with my drawing skills one day and I'm still nowhere near what I'm probably capable of. Now we could discuss the idea of innate talent til the cows come home, but I certainly thing the 16 years of drawing on a daily basis certainly didn't hurt my ability.
Of course all you fellow artists out there aren't idiots. You know “hard work” leads to skills increases but that's the thing, it's hard. And while I can't provide a direct solution for anyone else's mental blocks, I can give you an insight into mine which may or may not be useful to you.
Art for me is about taking pleasure in the process. Not so much getting excited by an end product that I can show off to all my friends and followers. If I did not enjoy the relaxing nature of mark making and blending and choosing colours (my favourite!) and all those other things, I would not enjoy art. These are the things I have always enjoyed regardless of how "good" the end result was. The end result is, of course, pleasing but as far as how I enjoy art goes, it's irrelevant.
If you have to 'make' yourself draw like you might make yourself clean your loo or other unpleasant tasks, you're not doing something right. I know some pieces are going to take me hours and hours and hours, but I've learned about myself what it is makes art so fun as a process (not just topics I like to draw such as pretty hair, because if something came up where I couldn't draw pretty hair, such as client work, I'd be bored and hate making the picture). Sometimes I'm hours in and I notice that a whole section is just wrong and I have to delete it and start over in order to get the best result. But that's ok, because those 2 hours were at least fun! (and it's not unknown for me to start over entirely either.
Recent things I've made or worked on.
My current favourite thing in the whole wide world is working with interesting colour schemes (total shocker! like you guys didn't already know). So it does not matter if I am digitally painting or if I am doing a quick cartoon, or a doll, working with lineart, working without lineart, only 5 colours, full blend, if I have a good colour scheme it is joyful for me. If I have to practice something like hands or other complicated, intimidating things, I make sure I work in colour so even if it's all going tits up I'm still having fun because colour!
WIP Paintings from a series where I'm learning about colour and light and likeness and anatomy and all the fun things, but I chose to do the cast from the TV show Vikings to keep it fun.
I skate for 8 hours a week at training with my team because it is unequivocally fun to strap wheels to your feet.
I draw for more than that because of the same reason minus wheels.(Though I'm sure I could wear my skates under my desk!)
So after that long and winding probably a little self indulgent drabble what is it about making art that you love? Why bother picking up a pencil/stylus/paintbrush/charcoal stick/pen/etc etc at all? Maybe this is something you've yet to figure out?
Are you battled by art demons and do you think this is something you can work to get over the mental struggle with?