We completely understand that it takes tremendous amounts of practice to be a great athlete.
So, what’s with the idea that you should be an instant success at being an artist? Isn’t that a rather strange expectation?
The athletes fall down a lot along the way – and so will you, but you will skin your self-confidence more times than your knees.
Mistakes are an opportunity to learn – and that is a good thing.
In fact, MOST of the art we make is made just so we can create those once-in-a-while pieces of wonderful art. Just stepping stones, as it were. Practice making perfect.
You would think we would have a cheerleader on our side.
Instead we have the infamous INNER CRITIC.
What if I told you that is your cheerleader?
In art, there is no such thing as an inner critic.
And I’m not practicing denial.
I know you hear voices inside saying your drawing is wrong, but they are not coming from a critic.
In other areas of your life, if someone once told you that you are terrible at everything you do, and you bought into that, there is serious work for you to do with that issue.
But that is NOT the voice you hear when you make art.
Consider this: If you have an inner voice that tells you something is wrong with your drawing, it follows that the voice must also know what’s right – or it would not be able to tell something was wrong.
And the voice is trying to protect you from “wrong” so you don’t get hurt.
It’s almost like somebody is looking at a map, and saying “Wait – you turned the wrong way!”
Who do you think that could be?
Bingo – the voice you hear telling you the drawing is wrong is your well loved eye and brain team, who have worked hard at mapping out everything as it should be – who devote every waking hour to protecting you from harm.
They are not judging you.
They are not criticizing you.
They are GUIDING you – reporting the lay of the land, so to speak, as they always do.
They are not saying you are an idiot and should give up art forever.
They are saying “that line is in the wrong place and you should move it”.
They are your INNER GUIDE.
Just this small change in perception can redirect your whole art life.
You know what’s right, so you also know what’s wrong, and your inner voices are helping you do right.
As an art teacher, I have become well known for something I call “fuzzy” drawing. I start every class with that lesson.
We use forgiving tools (otherwise known as a pencil and eraser), and instead of boldly choosing a path and forging ahead, we “hunt” for the correct lines using small, light strokes and adjusting them as we go – listening to our inner voice for guidance.
The act of “sketching” has often been defined exactly that way, in fact.
Think of your Inner Guide” as a sketch buddy, quietly making helpful suggestions according to what it knows.
And it certainly helps to add all you can to what the Inner Guide knows, so LEARN all you can about the basics of drawing and practice until those things become hard-wired.
Then practice some more – and trust that you will get it right – even if it takes awhile. You are NOT in a hurry.
The greatest joy of art making is in the process. The end product is good too, but the real gift is in the journey.
Enjoy your journey.