In today’s art podcast we are going to help you figure out how to start drawing again if you’ve stopped and want to get back on track. It easily happens and there can be lots of reasons behind it, so the first thing you need to think about is what’s caused you to lose your way and how you can get back into the habit.
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One of the reasons I have got so distracted recently, is…
Getting too caught up in social media –
So anyone who follows me on social media might have noticed I’ve not been on there for the last three weeks or so. And that’s because I decided to take a complete break from it for a bit.
Now obviously I mean from my personal art platforms and not kick in the creatives!
One reason I took a break is that I haven’t been able to share the process of my recent painting because I didn’t want my daughter to see what I was doing. The other reason is that I was finding that posting on social media was taking more time and energy than the art was.
I suppose I could have recorded the process of the painting I’ve just done and made loads of posts from it to put up later on, but then that would’ve been defeating the object. It was nice to just relax and paint and not think about taking photos and making videos for a change and I think the painting probably would’ve taken twice as long if I’d done it any other way.
The other reason I took a break is that, quite honestly it was getting on my nerves! I follow specific people for specific reasons and of course social media decides for you what you’re going to see and it got to a point where all I was seeing were reels and videos with the most annoying, loud and irritating music and I was getting really bored of seeing the same old things done in a very slightly different way, by people I don’t even follow!
I know social media is really important for what we do, but it’s easy to feel like you have to compete with everyone else’s numbers and the amount they post. But in the end it’s the art for me that is important and I just needed to step away from all of that for awhile.
The weirdest thing is though, that I got more followers during the time I took a break than I had in the previous three weeks when I was posting every day, so it’s weird how that worked! But of course now I’m feeling guilty because I’m not posting, so I do want to come back to it, I’m just giving myself another week.
Schedule your Social Media
You could free your time up by using a scheduling app to schedule in advance. There are the big apps like Buffer and Hootesuite that you can use to do this. We use a program called PromoRepublic for KITC and I use Sociamonials for my personal social media. Facebook (Meta) also has ir’s own scheduling platform you can use called Creator Studio
Concentrate on one platform
You could also decide just to concentrate on one platform rather than spreading yourself too thin. There is also an app called IFTTT where you can post to one platform and it will automatically post to other platforms that you have connected.
Life generally getting in the way
Also my problem recently! There’s been so much going on this year which has meant lots of time away doing things when I would normally be painting. It seems that everyone on the planet had a big birthday
And the thing is, I really do think that has been part of my problem because it’s interrupted my usual flow. Most years I buzz along quite happily, painting regularly and I just have this routine going on, but I reckon at least half of my weekends have been interrupted this year so I do think that has put a spanner in the works and jarred my flow.
When I don’t paint or draw regularly I find myself getting quite moody. It’s like it’s a kind of drug for me in some ways and I don’t know whether I just find it incredibly calming or whether it’s just such a natural part of my life now that without it I just don’t feel myself anymore but yes, I definitely notice I feel very different when I haven’t got a painting on the go or I haven’t at least drawn for a while.
And we’ve talked about this recently that I’ve totally got out of the habit of daily drawing over the last few months because everything seems to have gone bonkers this year… and I just know that’s not healthy for me so, like I said on the last episode, just recently I made a decision to get back into the habit and start drawing every day for an hour before I do anything else. Basically, prioritise it above everything.
Now obviously there are days when that’s not possible but even on those days, I will fit it in somewhere. And I’m just talking about sketching at home I’m not talking about going anywhere with my sketchbook or making it complicated. The idea is just to have a pencil in my hand and draw.
And you can do the same thing and it doesn’t have to be for an hour. Everyone can find 15 minutes in the morning and if you can’t, just get up earlier!
I have to say I did find it surprisingly easy to slip back Into that habit of drawing daily and I do feel much better for it. I also think it does help when I don’t have a painting on the go because sometimes I get so involved in that, that drawing comes second, but it’s really nice to concentrate on just having fun with a pen again for a while!
But be kind to yourself
Make easy guidelines like you will draw for 5 minutes a day or you will draw 3 times a week. Getting started is often the hardest thing. So if you set yourself small tasks you will probably do more.
Take a break from your art
Don’t beat yourself up if you just need to take a break. Just for a couple of weeks to allow yourself to get other things out of the way.
It’s easy to think that all artists are permanently at the easel, but that’s often an illusion they create through social media. It doesn’t mean it’s true. I took a break for a while and it did me good, and the painting I’ve just done came from a place, of let’s say… reboot! Allowing myself time to think, or not to think even… that’s when this idea filtered into my head and if I hadn’t taken that break then I don’t think it would’ve happened.
It is important though, to make sure you have a date written down in your calendar where you are going to start painting or drawing again. You really don’t want it to be too long so you slip out of the habit. I would say maybe 2 or 3 weeks is quite a nice length of time to be able to recharge and press the reset button. Much longer than that and then you risk getting out of the habit and you really don’t want that.
You have hit a wall in your art and you’re not sure what you want to do next
I felt a bit like this when I wanted to change from my colurful style that was feeling quite laboured.
Allow yourself to experiment
Allow yourself to experiment without having to share. Perhaps try and set yourself an art challenge or join on that is a completely different thing to what you are used to. The 50 Ways to Draw a Face Challenge really worked for me. It allowed me to experiment and pushed me in another direction
Change your format
Go big, go small, work quick, work slow just change things up a bit
Are you bored with your art?
Maybe you need to shake things up a bit, are you bored with what you were creating? Try something totally new.
The style of this painting I’ve just done and even the subject is completely different to what I’ve been doing for a long time. I don’t really paint portraits and I certainly don’t paint them in the style of old masters, so this has been a total change for me and it’s really made me excited again about painting.
But basically I changed my style and my subject but not my technique, so it wasn’t totally alien to me.
I think if I’d tried to change absolutely everything including my technique and my medium then that might of been a problem. I think it’s a good idea to keep an element of the familiar, but even if you just tried a new medium or a completely different subject or a new surface, that can be all you need to get you excited again.
You’re burnt out
Allow yourself to take a break for a specific amount of time, to refresh and reset. Give yourself a specific amount of time like 2 weeks or a month and see how you are feeling then.
I’m pretty sure we did an episode on taking yourself as an artist on a date. I can’t remember what it was called, but it was about giving yourself opportunities to look at other art. If you don’t feel like painting or drawing, then book yourself a date on the calendar to go out for the day to get inspired without the pressure of having to do anything.
That can be anything from going to a local art gallery to sitting down with a new art book. Often that’s all I will need to get me running back to the studio when I’ve been in a bit of a rut. Sometimes you see in galleries subjects that you’ve never thought of painting before but suddenly you see someone else’s work and think, wow I’d love to try painting something like that! Of course I don’t mean copy that person, but take what it is you like from it whether it’s the subject or the colour combination or whatever it is you seeing it that you like and then allow it to inspire you in your own work.
Sometimes just seeing things in a new way is enough to light that spark again.
You’ve had a confidence wobble –
Remind yourself that all artists go through this at some point. We all have our ups and downs. Even the top artists will have their bad periods. It’s a bit like sport. You see some professional sports person winning everything one year, then nothing the next.
Look at the art you have done in the past
It sounds really weird but there are times when I’ve actually had to remind myself that I can paint and that I am an artist in my own right and I don’t need to compare myself to anyone else. And the only way I can do that is by looking back on some of my previous work, particularly my favourite ones and let myself look at it as a viewer instead of an artist for a change.
It’s when I can detach from it and look at it as though it’s someone else’s work that I see it for what it really is and I can stand back and think well, I did that so I can do it again.
I think the hardest confidence wobble to come back from is if it comes from negative comments from someone else or other people about a painting you’ve done or your work in general. That’s really tough to come back from, and I totally get that. But you do have to remind yourself that art is subjective and there will always be someone who doesn’t like what you’re doing, but it’s really hard not to let that tread on your confidence. I do think we have to have a thick skin!
Keep good comments about your art
Try and keep the good comments somewhere so you can look back at them. I have mentioned before that I have a notice board with lots of nice comments from people about KITC.
Time of year
Christmas is a really busy time, and we can always tell how much it affects artists because our Kick in the Creatives Facebook page slows right down! There’s definitely no shame in giving yourself a bit of time off in the holiday season!
That said, there are things that you can do to help you stay creative… things like making your own Christmas cards, or gift tags. They are small things that don’t take long but they keep you in the habit of being creative in some way while you don’t have much time.
Another busy time is the summer holidays if you have kids. But again, maybe there are ways of weaving it in, in a different way. Maybe you could take your kids on a day out sketching! Kids usually love drawing, so do it with them! Or maybe you could take over their art homework!!
Basically, there’s no point in stressing about it at times like that. All you can really do is adjust your routine to fit in with those particular times, or tie it in with having a break.
You’re forgetting to have fun with your art
Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our own heads we forget why we started creating art in the first place.
Take part in a challenge or set yourself one…maybe something that stretches you
Join a class – you could do a local one or an online one. Some online classes like life drawing are live so this can also add a social element
Allow yourself time to play
And as I’ve already said, I’m speaking from experience! The playtime I’ve been enjoying recently has given me a real lift!
It’s like kids at school. If they didn’t have playtime, they wouldn’t be able to work nearly as well in class.
And I suppose the best place to play as an artist is in the sketchbook so don’t neglect it. This is the best place to experiment and just have a bit of fun with no pressure and no audience and no expectation and it’s surprising the things you can learn about yourself, like the things you enjoy and the things you don’t, just by sketching regularly.
But another fun thing to do is to start something with a friend so you can cheer each other on. It’s a bit like going to the gym, it’s no fun on your own, whereas if you go with someone else you’re more likely to do it. I suppose the tricky part is finding someone in your immediate circle with the same interest but if you can’t, maybe you can team up with a member of the group. The Facebook group is a good place to meet other people with the same interest, and we see friendships developing on the group all the time.
You are having a bout of comparisonitis –
This is normal at times, no matter how long you’ve been making art, but it’s not healthy. Nowadays we are bombarded with so much amazing art on social media that it’s hard not to get overwhelmed by it.
Realise that someone else will be comparing themselves to you.
I think that’s the time to look back on your own favourite pieces and remind yourself of your own capabilities.
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This week’s creative question
Q. If you could have your portrait painted by a famous artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?
The best answers will be read out on a future podcast.
You can Tweet us your answers @KickCreatives or let us know in the Facebook Group, which by the way if you haven’t already joined, I highly recommend that you do! We will put the question up there and also on the Facebook page… and of course, on our Instagram page @kickinthecreatives.
If you have any suggestions for the podcast or our challenges please feel free to get in touch.