I’m feeling a lot of resistance lately in my creative work and can’t seem to get going…. My inner critic is louder than ever: everything I draw looks like crap and I’m overwhelmed by the violence in the world, and with work in the office. And in the evening I just stare at my phone… and as a consequence I don’t sleep well.
I started drawing my thumbnails in the evening, but I’m so overwhelmed that I can’t think of anything to draw.
So I draw my art supplies and tea cups… Tea cups! Why do I paint so much tea cups?
- they help me to empty my head
- they help me to shut down my inner critic ( all those voices in my head telling me I’m not good enough, telling me I should work and do something useful instead of making art)
- they’re a great way to exercise my “looking” and drawing skills
- they’re a great way to learn how to make shadows and bring light to a sketch
- they’re a great way to try out new art supplies and new colors
- they’re a great way to play around without thinking about what to draw
- they make me happy
I made a You Tube video about it. And at the end of the video I manage to tear up the paper in my sketchbook when removing the masking tape! I thought about not showing it, but finally I left that in the video, and as a result I got useful tips for removing masking tape in the comments. Yay!
(Have you already subscribed to my YouTube channel?)
So how do artists overcome resistance and start drawing? Because we all know that the only way to make a good drawing is to take that damn sketchbook and PRACTICE…. So I write it down a list to help me (note to self…) and after writing this blogpost I will sit down and make a drawing!
- Embrace Imperfection in a sketchbook: Give yourself the PERMISSION to wander around in your sketchbook. I sketch my art supplies or tea cups when I feel too much doubt and resistance. Understand that not every drawing has to be a masterpiece. The goal of a sketchbook is to explore, experiment, and improve. Embracing imperfection allows you to make mistakes, which are essential for learning and creative growth. Remember, even the most renowned artists have pages and pages of work they’re not proud of—it’s all part of the process. Embrace imperfection but without being sloppy.
- Talk to yourself like you talk to your best friend and Set Small, Achievable Goals: Start with small drawings that you can complete without much pressure. For me it’s tea cups.
- Use References: When you’re feeling stuck, it’s okay to use reference images. These can help guide your hand and give you a clearer direction. Collect images that inspire you or use objects around you to get started.
- Practice Mindfulness and be curious: Combine drawing with a mindfulness practice. Start with a few minutes of deep breathing to center yourself. As you draw, focus on the sensation of the pencil moving across the paper, the sound it makes, and the lines as they appear. This meditative approach can help quiet the inner critic and allow you to enjoy the act of drawing without fear of the outcome. Pay attention to your environment and draw what you see without judgment and without naming and recognising the object! Just look in what direction the lines are going.
- Create a Routine: Resistance often creeps in when you’re out of practice. Set aside a regular time each day, even if it’s just a few minutes, to work in your sketchbook. This consistency will make sitting down to draw a habit, reducing the fear and resistance associated with starting a new piece.
- Don’t allow agitation to paralyse you: If you can write, you can draw. Draw like you write, with long lines, a combination of lines. Surround yourself with things that inspire you. It could be music that gets you in the mood, looking at art that excites you, or reading quotes from your favorite artists. Sometimes, seeing the work of others can trigger the urge to create yourself. Be Curious.
Remember, the most important step is to start, even if it’s imperfect. Each mark on the paper is a step forward in your creative journey. Happy drawing!
PS: How do you like my autumn 🍂🍁 palettes❓🤗 Here’s my color list !
🍂 In the warm one are:
Titanium buff DS
Potter’s pink W&N
Sicklerite genuine DS
Tiger’s eye genuine DS
Transparent Yellow Ochre DS
Burnt umber W&N
Raw Umber W&N
Transparent red oxide DS
Napels yellow W&N
Rouge Anglais W&N
Deep Scarlet DS
Burnt Sienna W&N
Hansa Yellow DS
Transparent Pyrrol Orange DS
Perinone Orange DS
Lunar Black DS
Haze Indigo Schmincke
Prussian Blue W&N
Indanthrene Blue DS
Ultramarine Blue W&N
Grey mix of Ultramarine blue and Transparent orange
Vert Anglais Sennelier
Cerulean Blue W&N
Cerulean Blue DS
Sleeping Beauty DS
Forest Green Schmincke
Forest Blue Schmincke
Forest Brown Schmincke
Undersea Green DS
Rare Green Earth DS
Green Apatite Genuine DS