Sometimes I ask myself why I stopped drawing.
I always say that I have no motivation or inspiration. Maybe I have been so accustomed to seeing amazing artwork that when anything I make seems off or ugly, I get discouraged and stop. Or maybe it’s because I’m too busy. Maybe because I found better things to do.
Maybe, maybe, maybe…
Maybe because I’m tired of drawing.
Art used to be so important to me. It was like reading. I got to escape into this world whose only population was a person: me. Overtime, I started to get into other things. I stopped doing it as much. I stopped improving. I had no idea how to go back to this wondrous hobby that kept me peaceful and preoccupied for hours; to be able to create something beautiful with my hands and mind.
I don’t know why or how, but as of recently, I had the sudden urge to pick up a pencil and create something again. It’s a strange feeling nowadays, when I get the feeling of really wanting to draw again. Even though I call myself an artist, I hesitate. I have so many limitations that always serve as a grim reminder that I’m still learning and improving. It really discourages me. I always feel like what I’m creating is just never good enough because my ability and skill only goes a certain distance. I could get an amazing scene or image in my head–possibly an action scene where a ragged but handsome prince is battling against two brute opponents, but his body language just creates an air–a mood–of confidence and determination. It’s something beyond my ability. I can’t draw backgrounds. I can’t replicate the tenseness of the scene or flow of the bodies. I can’t bring upon the mood or emotion into my piece and affect my audience. I can’t.
The mistake that I continue to make is continuing what I’m better at instead of trying and practicing at the areas where my expertise don’t lie. It discourages me when I can’t draw something, so I just stick to what I can actually do. I can’t seem to make anything good or worthwhile without looking at references. I get discouraged easily. I feel like everything I do has to be great and that I have to please everybody. I have much too high expectations for myself to the point where I’m bringing myself down.
That’s not the definition of art.
Art is not forcing yourself to draw something for social media. Art is not using a pencil to scratch something onto a piece of paper. No, art is much more than that. Art is putting emotion into something that matters to you, despite how bad it looks. It is more than just a figure striking a pose on paper. Art makes you see through that, and as an artist, you have to create emotion, a hidden message, that would strike home when someone sees it.
The bend of every limb and the curves of the face all matter, but it’s not just about making the drawing and figure look right or proportional. The meaning behind it is just truly as important–if not more. Art is just like any other journey–everybody starts off rough and inexperienced. But with time and practice, those who push through and stuck with their passion improve so much more. To find inspiration is hard for people, but we all have our errors and flaws, and I have found one of the reasons why I’ve been stuck in an art block for most of this past year.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy creating and drawing, I just don’t like being forced or expected to do so. I don’t enjoy doing something that I view as a chore than a free time activity. That is what happened with me for the past year. Again and again, I’ve been trying to make and illustrate digital art for my social media accounts. More and more, I became bored and the more inactive I was. I put the reasons why I was drawing all into social media- for the likes and comments.
I’ve realized it all along that what I’m doing isn’t right. It’s not making me happy and that I should draw whatever the heck I want to draw, despite followers, likes, and the views. What’s really important though, through all of this, if you are proud of your artwork–if you spent hours upon hours trying to perfect it because it was YOUR creation–and you are proud of what you’ve done-THAT is artwork. It isn’t for anyone else, your followers or friends or strangers. It’s for you. If you are proud of what you’ve done and excited that you created something so magnificent and beautiful, and that “something” you can freely call yours…
That is art.
I want to go back. To be confident of my drawing abilities again. To be able to scratch a couple of lines like those professional artists and come up with something that I would smile at. I want to be able to draw and improve and keep improving. To be my old self, and tell her that I can do better. That whatever happened or is going to happen isn’t going to take my joy of drawing away from me.
Because the thing that I’m battling with is really just in my own mind. I could push away all my thoughts and just pick up a pencil and create. It takes too much willpower, just like the willpower to keep yourself from eating a bag of chips when you’re not supposed to. But look at the destination. If you want abs, DON’T EAT THE CHIPS. If you want to improve to skills and capabilities that you never dreamed you’d ever have, you have to start practicing now.
Take a walk, go for a jog, manage your time. Do something. It’s a battle with your own head, and don’t let excuses distort your vision of your dreams–of what you want to be and what you are capable of.