Two things that really help me to stay motivated in drawing is: 1) Don’t forget to use your strengths and 2) Schedule time to draw! It’s very easy to get discouraged or think that you aren’t improving if you don’t forget to fall back on what you are good at drawing. It also is a great help to plan time to draw so you can hone your skills.
Use Your Strengths to Stay Focused
I’m using a guided portfolio to teach myself how to draw women’s heads and, yes, I get frustrated with myself and I can’t concentrate. I try to make the images look the way I think they should look and do they? Not yet! Discouraging. Why not go back to what I do best, chibi! If you are trying to teach yourself how to draw and find yourself experiencing those same feelings, go back to something you are good at! Don’t think that you have to continue at something that is clearly getting frustrating. Step back. Breathe. Clear your head. Find something else that you are good at, and reward yourself with a success! Give yourself something positive to do so you can go back to your more challenging drawing with a more positive attitude and approach.
Since I started teaching myself a more fusion, comic-book style of drawing I have experienced a few set backs. So instead of continuing (which I will do, just not right now) I decided to draw a few chibi ideas. Why? I’m good at it and I need the pep talk!
I’ve been sketching originals to show at Dev Fare which is coming up next month! This is Ezio from Assassin’s Creed. I’ve gone back to the stuff I’m good at so I can treat myself to a success. A win! A positive thingy! Whatever you want to call it. Even though you may be challenging yourself to grow as an artist with developmental practice, don’t forget to go back to what you are good at and draw that! If you excel at landscapes, do a landscape, cartoons, do some cartoons, if you draw still-life really well, draw those. Don’t think you are locked into one type of drawing style or subject. Do what you do best so you can remind yourself that you are talented and can draw!
Another thing that many people forget is that you don’t find time to draw, you make time to do it. Choose a time, maybe just 15 to 30 minutes a day, and draw. Try to pick a consistent time period and commit to drawing, like every day at 6:00 pm. It really doesn’t matter if it’s doodling for fun or serious developmental drawing like a guided portfolio, just draw!
I drew a Skeletor to match my He-Man coloring page that I released a few weeks ago. I decided to draw in chibi style using some of the ideas that I’ve been reading about in my research. I actually think this Skeletor turned out better than if I had drawn it my old way (which is to draw the head first instead of drawing the body first). I read that it’s easier to draw a more fluid and natural pose if you draw the torso first. So I did.
BUT, would I have discovered that if I didn’t draw on a regular basis? Maybe? I make an effort to draw at least 30 minutes, 4 times a week. After all, things do come up and you may not be able to put in the time. Plan for flexibility. Don’t set up an impossible schedule like every single day for four hours, make it reasonable. You are more likely to stick to a schedule if it’s manageable and practical. Always allow for a little wiggle room.
That’s it, those are my two big recommendations for staying motivated: draw to your strengths and make the time to draw.
Now the only thing is to find something to draw!