How to Keep Drawing
I want to write a bit about barriers I hit and overcame when beginning to draw and when having trouble keeping it up for the past several years.
Before I began drawing in early 2012, one of the major barriers I hit that had stopped me from drawing before was that I was bad at art. I hadn’t practiced a day in my life and my art really wasn’t any you could appreciate. I overcame this barrier by focusing on other aspects. I could enjoy what I was working on despite it being horribly drawn because I was interested in what the character was doing or I thought it was funny.
- If you can’t draw well, focus on humor, storytelling, or another aspect of art. Drawing skills will eventually follow
The other major barrier I hit was a lack of self-confidence. I had no faith that any ideas I created weren’t embarrassingly bad. I overcame this barrier by forcing the burden of creativity onto others and using my inbox as a steering wheel. Other people decided what my character did and I didn’t have to take the blame if it was stupid or not. The extra ideas were also extremely valuable for keeping it fresh and exciting to draw. (often making it feel very much like a game)
- If you’re not confident in your storymaking, let others help.
Art block: When you feel like beginning to draw takes a heap of energy you’re not willing to invest. This one is difficult and probably the most common, but I’ve found it beatable by agreeing to start a smaller workload. Tell yourself “I will draw the basic skeleton for the characters and I’ll leave it at that”. Often times, the act of having the pen to the paper is all you need to do to beat art block.
- Beginning to draw, even just scribbles and frowny faces, can seriously help kill art block
If you meet a barrier, ask yourself what the barrier is and work on a way to either break it down or go around it. Get help from others to do so if you have to.
On Ideas, or a lack thereof:
(I feel like writing about this because it’s something I struggle with to this day.)
“But I have absolutely no ideas I want to draw” Ideas are not in short supply, ever. The issue, often, is being unable to bring them to mind. It’s important to keep a written list of ideas and add to it continuously. After doing so for a while, I realized that I used to dismiss and forget countless hundreds of ideas. I keep part of my list -here- (It’s small because I work through it pretty quickly.)
Another aspect of not running out of ideas, for me at least, is having a lot of projects open. If I have no inspiration for one project, the odds are I’ll have something for at least one of the others. It’s important to keep practicing, so if you’re going to get stuck on a project for months or years, it’s important to be able to draw something else in that time. If you have a grand idea, start it, and if you run out of steam, shelve it for later while you move on to something else. The goal is to keep wanting to draw. Don’t lose that goal.
Along those lines, don’t let yourself feel obligated to drawing something so much that you stop drawing entirely. A lot of blogs on tumblr will stop because “I have to finish this story first even if I don’t feel like it” or “I’m uninterested in drawing this character, but I have to draw them because it’s what people expect” No. You need to avoid getting stuck. Change it up and do whatever you can to keep moving forward and enjoying art.