You’ve just bought that nice, new sketch book and do you know what? It’s terrifying! There it is lying in front of you in all of it’s alabaster purity like some holy relic. Do you dare defile it with your profane marks?!
Maybe that’s a little dramatic, but it can be intimidating staring at that expensive piece of white paper. There is a way to overcome that level of intimidation … but that way is heresy!
Commit thou not Blasphemy!
If what you really want to do is end up with every single drawing that flows from your hand being something your grandmother can hang on her fridge, then don’t do what I’m about to suggest. BUT, if you’re really intimidated by drawing and you want to improve, then this might be a good technique to try.
No pressure: no problem.
I think one of the hardest things for beginning artists to overcome is the pressure to make great art all of the time. It’s impossible. There has to be a learning process. It’s like demanding a hitter to knock it out of the park every time they step up to the plate, even in practice.
A possible escape hatch to this art trap is to rethink your tools. All of those beautiful pencils and expensive sketchbooks can really be a barrier to a novice making progress, so do away with them. No, I don’t mean throw them away. Let’s just play with some other tools that aren’t so intimidating.
Try this at home… and everywhere.
Set your professional tools aside and instead choose some inexpensive materials. Get some random notepad and just some regular writing pen and start sketching…anything. Don’t worry about your subject. No one has to ever see these exercises. Don't worry about making art, just draw. Click To Tweet
Plan to fill up a hundred of these notebooks. In fact, make it even less informal by choosing a notebook that’s really too small. This will keep you from focusing on details and force you to concentrate on composition. Pull one of your used notebooks out of the trash and sketch in the margins. You can even restrict yourself to only using children’s materials like crayons.
Divorce is sometimes the best option.
Being able to divorce yourself from the pressure to make master pieces with every stroke can free you up to learn. Try this technique for two months straight, and I can promise that your skills will improve. When you return to your formal materials you’ll find that your skills have improved, and you’re more confident about laying down those initial marks on that empty sheet of paper.
This technique can also remind you that art is first and foremost about having fun.
Let me know in the comments how this exercise worked for you.
Good Luck and Happy Drawing!