Life is more fun when it is less perfect!
Perfection is an illusion. The word implies an objective, static state that is literally impossible to achieve. Perfection almost implies sterility and no emotion. How could you possibly have that and art exist in one place?
I am sure a lot of my fellow creative minds out there have experienced this a million times: You are just enjoying your coffee when BOOM a creative idea hits you so hard you almost drop your cup. Oh, the excitement and ideas flying. It will be beautiful, amazing, extraordinary…
You pick up a pencil and grab some paper and… CRICKETS.
You have already put so much pressure on yourself for perfection that you can’t even get through the first steps. So how do we stop our brains from doing this to us? What can we do to just let it go?
Relax And Let It Flow
One of the things I have found that helps me out when I am feeling my own self doubt and stress is Zentangles or just mindless doodling. Often referred to as meditative art, this act of just letting go and pushing a pencil or pen across some paper really helps to get yourself centered and just create mindlessly. I have found that doing this regularly has also improved my drawing skills. My hands are more sure and steady and my brain doesn’t get in the way as much when my soul has something it wants to put on paper.
Zentangle art has become a major genre in the art community, as well it should. The pieces are beautiful and so inspiring. Don’t let yourself get too serious in the beginning. It may turn into something you love and that you will create for a more professional outlet, but for now, just relax and let it take you where it leads you. Two things to keep in mind, 1. It is just paper that can be thrown away, and 2. No one has to see it. You don’t have to share. You can think of it as your diary or put these in an art journal for your eyes only. Sometimes it is very therapeutic to look back on the past drawings you have done.
Stop The Negative Self Talk
We all have that nasty little voice in our heads. The one that seems to know how everything should have been done, or how it is our fault it didn’t happen the way we “planned.” First of all, let’s lighten up on all the “plans.” I am a list maker, so this one is hard for me. There are times when the list has to go in the drawer and I have to let creativity take its course.
That little voice has to go on vacation too! This is a hard step for many. How do we shut it up? It has probably been following us around our entire lives.
The best way I have found to retrain my brain (and that nagging voice) is to reprogram the self-doubt. When I hear that first, “well, if you would have,” or “that was stupid,” or “you knew you couldn’t do that,” I instantly stop, take a deep breath and repeat whatever positive message to myself I have decided to carry with me that day. Sometimes I write it down, sometimes I make a project out of it and sometimes I just repeat it to myself.
Eventually, that nagging little voice actually becomes a cheerleader. You will start to have positive ideas to replace those negative Nancies. You will be amazed how much the fear of not being perfect or “messing it up” will leave when that nagging little voice packs its bags.
Find An Accountability Buddy
Rule number one of art club is never compare your work! So that being said, it is also nice to have someone to discuss your work with. Even posting your work (GASP!) on social media is a great way to feel the waters.
This always happens to me: I finish a watercolor (I am MAKING myself work with watercolor and learn to love the fact that I have very little control in that medium) project. I HATE it!! I walk away. A few days or hours later I come back to the painting. At this point, I usually end up loving it, or constructively critiquing what I could do to make it better the next time.
As I have progressed I have found fellow creatives that love to create and will share projects with a group so that we can all critique them (Constructive Criticism only). Having someone honestly tell you how they feel about your work can be scary at first, but it ends up being very fulfilling and a must if you want to improve or grow.
Plus, art is so subjective. What you hate or think is awful, may be someone else’s favorite piece EVER! Seriously, I have this happen to me often. I am about to toss out a project I think has been a complete failure and someone says “OMG, can I have that??”
So the last thought I want to leave you with is an important one.
Keep going! Even if you think your artwork is the worst thing you have ever seen complete the task. It is just paper, remember? You can throw it away, if, after completing the project and walking away for a while you still think it is worse than Frankenstein’s monster. Although, I just want to say, some people LOVE Frankenstein’s monster and would want to have art reminding them of him.
Keep it, throw it in a drawer or anywhere out of site. Then, months or years down the road when you find it again you will either love it and see your improvement over time as you stay in the game and power through.
Once you let go and just create you will feel the difference and see it in your art. Take a deep breath and GO MAKE SOMETHING 🙂