Have you ever felt like your art is on the same level for a long time? Have you ever felt like you can’t grow your skills. Have you ever felt like everyone around you grows in rapid speed and you are just like a snail at the end of the race?
I was thinking about that and trying to pinpoint the reasons why you might feel that way. I figured out some solutions that helped me and some other artists I know.
1. Not looking for critique/feedback
‘You can’t yourself pinpoint things you need to focus on because your eye still isn’t trained enough to pinpoint exact problems.’
This is number one problem I see and many professional artists will tell you about that. You can’t be too shy to show your work to people who can give you good critique. Look for professionals who are willing to help you and use that. Critiquing is mistaken to be something hurtful for young artists BUT in reality people giving feedback are trying to help you grow. I know how hard it is to hear that you are still not good enough, that your art is lacking something. Maybe you know that yourself but you can’t yourself pinpoint things you need to focus on because your eye still isn’t trained enough to pinpoint exact problems. The best person to go to would be professional with trained eyes who is able to say by flipping through your portfolio what it lacks and what you can do to make it look better. Don’t be afraid and seek that help. Don’t be too attached to your own art and accept that it isn’t perfect and you need a fresh pair of eyes to look at it.
2. Not implementing the feedback
'Implementing is the key step in the process of growing.’
After you have done first step from my list and you finally found a professional willing to give you feedback try to implement feedback. Don’t just listen to it, nod few times pretending you understand what it being said. Don’t defend your art and don’t give excuses if the critique is genuine. Implementing is the key step in the process of growing. There is no use in feedback without you actually trying out the tips you were given. The whole point of that is to change your work. You are not being better artists by collecting thoughts about your art. Now it is time to do the work. It actually requires to put time and effort . Usually what people do,after receiving feedback, is they pat themselves on back like it was 'job well done’ and being lazy. They are not willing to actually put in the work to implement feedback. It is time consuming and you need to put a lot of effort. Although without that there is not any point in seeking feedback.
3. Not trying/not failing enough
'Embrace failures as a valuable lessons.’
Yes! There is lesson in failure! As hard as it is to understand. Once you collect experience you grow from it and become wiser. You know what path to choose to avoid next time failure. Successful people are the ones that can try something many times before they finally succeed. When they finally succeed it’s just a result of many attempts they have made before. No one is born ready for challenge. People are scared to lose because for our psyche it hurts more than a win feels good. People will try avoid at any cost losing so at some point they give up and stop trying. You can’t say for sure you will be successful artist after you did it for a year and don’t see result. You are not the one deciding how long it takes. It will be done some day. some day you will meet your artistic goals. But you will only meet them by trying and failing probably hundred times on a way. Just don’t be afraid. Those mistakes on a way are path that differentiate you and a professional. They already failed many times to get to where they are now. When you understand that you will embrace failures as a valuable lessons.
4. Doing things that are not challenging you.
'Feel uncomfortable and pick up this damn pencil and draw like no one else is watching!’
Don’t settle in your comfort zone. You’ve heard that already many times right? That is why. You limit your skillset. Good things come out of comfort zone. If you feel like you have problems drawing something you are probably right. The reason is you don’t challenge yourself enough to draw things that are difficult for you. For example if you are only drawing a boy in front view standing with hands straight it doesn’t sound like the most exciting art right? But what if it’s the only thing you can draw and it looks somewhat decent? Well then, solution for that is easy - experiment with different angles, experiment with expressions, with composition, with different species. Be brave here and discover topics you don’t draw. You art will become more interesting and you will be more confident drawing. Personally I know that this is the hardest part for artists. It is hard to let go of what we know and discover unknown. We feel vulnerable and like we can’t really draw. This feeling sucks. As much as this feeling sucks you know what else sucks? Sucks that your skills are stagnating. Feel uncomfortable and pick up this damn pencil and draw like no one else is watching! I guarantee that after some time you will be surprised with what you created and how your art have changed.
Good luck to everyone who is on path of improvement!
The moment you tell yourself you “can’t”, you limit yourself.
You are the sole greatest driving force (after God) in your life.
Speak positively, always.
Nourish your soul with words of affirmation.
Take care of your body with lots of water and hug people often.
Cultivate good energy and the universe will reciprocate it, tenfold.
Well, about three - four years ago, I was dead set on becoming an actress. That was my passion, my life goal. I wanted to be a child actress because I believed that I was good enough. Now my dad said, no, because most child actors/actresses turn up as washed-up druggies that will do anything for attention. And, at that current point in time, I was OBSESSED with Harry Potter. (honestly. I would cosplay as hermione every recess.) And so, after watching the movies, I told my dad - NO WAY could my heroes turn out like that! He shook his head and was like, hmm we’ll see, just you wait…
And they have still proven him wrong to this day. Emma Watson is still my favourite actress. (Lin Manuel Miranda is now my favourite actor, but that’s besides the point) All of them have not turned out as “washed-up druggies that will do anything for attention”. My (old) heroes are still proving to be the wonderful people that I looked up to when I was younger.
And that is probably one of the best things a child could ask for.