Have you ever found yourself stuck at a crossroads between pursuing your art or just letting it go? That might be a strange question, but believe it or not many artists are tormented by doubts of continuing onward in their artistic journey.
We hate that we even question it. That lingering uncertainty of whether or not we should stick with it, or just pull the plug now before we waste anymore time on something that was never meant to be.
Few things are a guarantee in life. You've got to take a gamble, play your cards to the best of your ability and stick in there long enough to see what they turn up. Drawing feels like that sometimes, because lets face it, we're going on pure faith that we're going to get better.
Faith that it'll lead anywhere. Faith that we'll be able to make a living from it someday. That's the dream. And we hang onto to it, believing, hoping it'll become real. A promise we make to ourselves, that we strive to keep.
When you look at your drawings, seeing little to no progress day after day, that faith can start to wane a little bit.
Learning how to draw takes a really long time, we know this. It can take so long we become numb to all the learning, study, and practice.
After years of effort it's not hard to imagine why any of us would get to the point of giving up and doing something else. Breaking our promise as we realize that dream might never be real.
But we don't.
What keeps us going? We all have our main reason for putting ourselves through this. The reason we pursued drawing in the first place. Do you remember what that was, for you?
Maybe amid all those learn how to draw books, tutorials and courses you forgot what that reason was, and some how your pursuit in drawing became about that boring stuff instead.
Instead of drawing epic illustrations featuring powerful superheroes and villainous foes you've found yourself drawing boxes in perspective, mindlessly churning out bland figure drawings, and shading fruit under various lighting conditions.
We hang onto the glimmer of inspiration we once had to draw. Yet drawing hasn't been about that for us in a long time. It's been about learning, getting better, and going through the same regimen every other artist thinks they have to go through before they're 'ready'.
Then we become conditioned to do nothing but drawing studies. If we draw anything for fun we feel guilty about it.
We made it about the outcome, instead of just enjoying the process - and that was our biggest mistake.
That glimmer of inspiration becomes so faint we can barely feel it anymore, and at that point we ask ourselves, should I go on? Will I ever be good enough? Was I ever meant to be an artist in the first place?
These questions come up because we feel depressed about our art now. And of course we do! Our creative soul has been suffocated by an endless train of study and training that just never stops coming.
At what point do we catch a break?
When are we allowed to just draw something cool again? You know - like we used to in high school - a cyborg dinosaur, muscle bound mutant, or a voluptuous vixen... When are we going to be ready to try our hand at drawing something as epic as the artists we look up to and idolize?
Well my friend, that time is now.
That's right. You can have both. In fact it's good to have both. Applying what you've learned within the context of a fully fledged illustration will give you more of a learning experience than any course or book ever could.
I get why you're hesitant to put the rubber to the road, and test the metal of your skills. You want all that study to be worth something.
But remember it's purpose. Drawing was never meant to be about knocking out figure drawing and anatomy studies on repeat for eternity.
We only learn the fundamentals of drawing because they're the tools we use to build the works of art we dream of creating! There comes a time to graduate. To learn through application. To use these tools for what they were meant for!
So if you're asking yourself, whether or not drawing is for you anymore, questioning if you should go on - you need to draw something just for the heck of it and see how you feel then.
Something that gets you fired up and excited.
Pull out your favorite comic books for inspiration, gaze upon the work of the artists who inspire you most - take it in, let it compel you to pick up the pencil and do something great with it.
Do your best. Learn from it sure, but don't judge it. Just remember why it is you're an artist.
After that you can go back to the study for a while, focusing on the areas you felt could have been stronger. But mix it up from time to time. A little bit of column A, a little bit of column B.
Study, have fun, study, have fun. Do this enough times, and even drawing studies, will become enjoyable again!
This is the best way to learn anyway. It's how I learned.
I'd do my drawing exercises most of the week, sharpen my skills - then do a proper drawing on the weekend to see the actual effect of all that practice.
If you're going to learn how to draw, it needs to feel fulfilling. If you're left feeling empty after every drawing session, feeling as if you're just not getting anywhere, that'll never do.
So draw what you need to draw in order to reignite your passion again. It might be challenging, it might be difficult, but if you're obsessed with conquering it, if your flame is burning blue, you'll have the stamina to stick with it for as long as it takes.
Make it happen.
Good luck, and until next time, keep drawing.
Cover Art By Frank Frazetta.