Drawing for Yourself
Many people are so hooked on the outcome of their drawings that they seem to stop themselves enjoying the actual practice of it. In normal ‘left-brained’ life this is usual. We don’t want to do things that seem to be wasting our time. But it is rather like expecting to run a marathon after the first week in the gym. Drawing well takes practice and discipline.
Tearing up and throwing away the ‘not good enough’ attempts in sheer frustration is understandable of course, but a shift in attitude is much more beneficial. By taking a more philosophical approach and keeping in mind that the journey is more important than the destination, much of the pressure is released.
Ask yourself why you want to draw? It’s understandable that we want other people to look at our pictures and admire our efforts, but maybe we should ask why that is so important? I wonder if, because children’s drawings are so often treated with amusement and even criticism, we harbour a deep need for our work to be accepted and approved? Maybe, because our childish efforts at self-expression were so dismissed, we attach huge importance to our adult attempts and can be crushed by criticism all over again.
How about trying to let that go a little and approaching your drawings with the attitude of practice and experimentation. Realise that even professional artists discard many more works than they eventually show. There is a saying that if you want ten good pictures, you must make at least fifty!
Let yourself ‘play’ more – try using tools and methods that you have less control over, instead of more. I introduce students to working with kebab sticks, Chinese brushes, toothbrushes, candles, their fingers, lollipop sticks, branches, toothpicks, cotton buds, sponges and all manner of other tools. By loosening up your approach you will find that what are called ‘happy accidents’ – a surprise result that seems to happen all on its own – will be far more likely and really exciting when they do. We seem to learn much more from making mistakes than by repeating our small successes hoping to improve, so make BIG mistakes!! Make glorious, over-the-hill disasters and really learn what your materials and tools can or cannot do….. and what have you lost? A piece of paper! What have you gained? Experience, knowledge, an hour or two of absorbing fun, and a lot of ideas to use next time!
Your NEXT drawing is ALWAYS going to be better…… and the next one, and the next one……