Being in touch with your weaknesses is important in order to grow as an artist, but are you so hung up on what you can’t
do well that it’s holding you back? I'm not talking about the intermittent (or frequent) attacks of complete blockage, or even lack of inspiration, but full out pity parties.
I’ve seen far too many people on dA who post exercise after exercise, writing in the artist comments that once again they’ve failed, they’ve read hundreds of books, studied the masters for so many years, and they still
cannot draw a photorealist rending of a man’s head. First of all let me say that I highly respect “self taught” artists and I’m not discouraging anyone who chooses (or must) go that route. However, setting realistic goals and finding your niche is extremely important. Let me say this: not everyone will be able to paint like a Baroque period artist
! But that doesn't mean you can't be a painter, it just means that your work will be different. For example, I learned how to throw about a year ago. I initially thought "oh yeah, this will be easy for me." Psch, yeah right. It took nearly a year for me to get decent at making coffee mugs and jars. Now if I had stayed feeling bad about my lopsided teacups, I probably wouldn't have been able to make this:
Second, jealously against other artists who work in the way that you want to won’t do any good either. Sure, we've all done it. That little green eyed guy pops out from under bed and plops himself in your lap while you browse the dA galleries. Listen, being a tad envious from time to time is a fabulous motivator to up the ante in your own work...but if you're reduced to a pile of ashes or in the shower with a half gallon of ice cream when that green eyed guy comes around you may just have a problem.
So now you may be asking, well then what do I do? First of all, be honest. If you notice yourself making invitations for a pity party STOP DROP AND ROLL
. I'm serious. Step 1, stop it; debasing your work, skills, materials, education, ect. Step 2, drop what you're doing; sometimes the thing that isn't working should be walked away from. You want to draw a photorealistic head? Focus on getting the features in the correct proportion before you even begin
to get that far. You need a foundation to grow from first (no matter what medium you're working with). Step 3, roll. Once you've identified your issue make a DOABLE plan to begin either reconfiguring your learning process, or start making work you actually enjoy.
It's highly important to be at least 75% satisfied with your work as a whole. The other 25% should be open for critique, alterations and growth. Still on the fence? Think about this: if you are truly
interested in "getting better" at being an artist, you should have a more optimistic approach to your initial skill set. So put away those invitations and decorations, I'm not coming to your pity party. Instead, celebrate what gains you've made since you began your growth as an artist.