I see paint blobs in clothes and on furniture, I feel the drying acrylic in my hands. This is what I see, this is what I aspire to be. This is, in my mind, the only thing I can and want to do. Everything else seems boring and just not for me. I am THE artist, I feel the need to do my art.

But I don’t feel like a “true” artist. The truth is, I haven’t picked up a pen, a pencil or a brush in many, many weeks. I’ve had the same “artists block” for couple of years now. Everytime people ask what I want to do with my life, I truthfully say art but everytime it feels like a lie. A lie to myself

Skillbuilding

Why is this? I certainly am not alone with my thoughts, to my amazement. I had no idea so many people felt the same way as I did. Why do we let people and ourselves tell us, that we are not and will not be good enough?

Doing your own “stuff” as a full-time job must have crossed your mind more than once, I reckon. Whether your own stuff is music, drawing, painting, sculpting, writing or whatever that is you fancy, there is a industry dedicated to that specific brand of creation. The world is your oyster, as the saying goes. Just pick something and start working your butt off. Still, you hesitate, you are afraid, or cannot find right kind of motivation to start things off.

One reason for that kind block is the feeling that you lack skill. You don’t know how to draw a hand or your shading techinique is subpar. Or your artpiece just doesn’t look right, something’s off. Well, don’t you worry, my friend!

No one can skillbuildingis not rocket science. But it is hard. Start at the basics, even though you have gone through them a hundred of times.

It never, never hurts to go through them again. Spice things up, look other ways to do new and old things. Ask questions, even though you might feel stupid for asking them Never stop learning, grow your thirst for knowlegde.

I think all of us have been, or will be, in that dreaded rut, where you cannot just grab that paintbrush. And if you do, it brings you no pleasure, no relaxation. There’s only that weird pit in the bottom of your stomach, that slowly dawning feeling of failure. So you quit, before you can start.

The creative world welcomes people of all shape and sizes, religions, genders, races and mindsets, that is a fact no one cannot deny. There are no boundaries of the inclusivity of this world. The power of creation is limitless. No wonder so many of us seem to be drawn to that world and all of its challenges one might face.

We are told that everyone can overcome these obstacles, and it seems that everyone else around you has already done that. But still, you haven’t. And you fear you never will. The world that welcomes so many different people to step through its doors, seems to be ready to shut that door right in front of your face. It feels like it is right in your grasp and everyone around you encourages you to just grab it. But it feels like you can’t just do that.

There’s another side to diversity, one I think we don’t speak as much and it is that diversity can feel so excessive. How on earth are you going to find yourself and your art style, when your brain is being bombarded with images, sounds and videos of other peoples skills and styles. It jsut feels too much and I get that. It becomes much easier to comapre yourself to people around you and far away from you, as you notice that your ideas and thoughts are already presented in so many ways you didn’t even think about them. This kind of comparison it’s unfair, as art itself is highly unique and personal for every artist.

Here’s a hard truth to swallow: in so many ways, we are not that special. We eat, drink, sleep and defeacate, just like everyone around you. It is so much easier to think that in our own minds we are different, but in many ways, we are not. And that’s more than OK. Because as much as we are not unique, we are unique. I know it sounds mutually exclusive, but hear me out.

I like to think art community (and people overall) like I think of snow. Everyone’s unique, if you look and dig close enough. Far away, not so much. When we embrace this un-uniqueness of ours, it automatically makes us unique. Like one color can have multiple different shades. And we people have lot of different colors in us.

Instead of trying to invent the wheel again, let’s take the wheel and experiment with it. Put something of yourself on it. That will make the wheel unique, because YOU made it.

Motivation, have it, don’t need it

Many of us don’t want to be told how we should do our own art, but I think structure and guidelines are artists best friend. Or at least one of them

.Motivation is a fickle mistress, it only can be controlled by to some extent. Unfortunately many of us won’t get far if we just follow it.Motivation shouldn’t be the only thing to motivate you to do your work. We have to follow some kinds on rules to get work done. The good thing is we can decide what kind of rules we follow and give to ourselves. A rule can be as simple as ”use more yellow” or as difficult as you want it to be.

You should also be able to look at your work objectively, which parts of it need more work and how does it convey the message (if there is any) you’re trying to say. One of the biggest obstacles I have on my journey is that I am very proud person. It is very good to be proud of yourself and your skills, and that is what you should aspire to be. But in my case, pride has stopped me to look at different tutorials and techniques, it has stopped me from being objective on my own progress. I’m bad at drawing hands, I say to myself, but I am not SO bad that I have to ask help with them. A “real” artist needs no help, no references, no learning, everything should come naturally from ourselves.

This kind of thinking has completely blinded me from the actual progress and hard-earned skill so many artists before me have had. It has made me be very unappreacitive from lessons so many skillfull people have given to me and many others. Talent is good, everyone has some sort of talent. But if you never try to work on that talent, you’ll never move forward with your artwork. Or at least not as fast.

Experiment with your working style as much you experiment with your art style. You might what kind of art you wat to do, but if your working style isn’t cut out for you, it will hinder your never ending progress.

Never ready

Challenges are good. It can be daunting to see life in front of you and see how much actual work it’s going to be to even survive. It is scary even. But don’t worry, you’ll get there.

Whether you are a creative or not, you need challenges. We all need them. They make us stronger, more resilient and they keep us humble. They keep us on the right track for us and they remind us that

we must never stop working on ourselves and to never stop learning. For we are never ready.

And I don’t know about you but I find that thought very comforting.

Illustrations by Ronja Villannen