Do you feel like your skill level is behind the pack? Hi, my name’s Carrie and today on Artist Strong we’re going to dig into this fear and try to break it down and figure out where it comes from. Let’s get started.
My first question for you is, “Who are you comparing yourself to?”
I’ve had a lot of students tell me that when they compare their work to mine, they feel very discouraged. I’ve been drawing on and off for 30 years, and I’d say pretty seriously and with focus for at least 15 of them. Is it really fair for a student who’s been drawing for three months, or even a year, to compare themselves to 15 or 30 years of committed drawing time? I do that to myself all the time, too. I’ll compare myself to other artists who have had more time to do focused drawing activity, or have spent their time using a medium that I have not yet explored.
It’s unfair of ourselves to compare to someone who’s ahead of us. We can use them as a stepping stone, as a kind of goal to aim for, but to expect ourselves to have the same level of skill as someone else who has put in time and practice to develop it, that’s putting ourselves in a place where we can’t possibly succeed and we’ll only feel like a failure.
The second question I want to ask you is, “Have you ever actually asked yourself where you want to be with your skill? Why do you feel behind?
Have you actively thought about where you want to be and the goals that you have for your art?” I would argue if you don’t actively define and kind of narrow your focus to understand where you hope to be with your skill, you’ll always feel behind because you’re never be doing anything to do get there.
That leads me to number three, “If you don’t know your aim, you can’t reach for it.”
In the book, “Peak,” all about expertise, by Anders Ericsson, he talks about focused practice. You need to have a plan of attack, and you need to create steps to reach towards your goals. You’re not going to magically become more skillful at art. You have to put in time and effort. You need to have a focused, deliberate practice around areas of weakness in your skill. That is how you’re going to get better.
If you don’t know what your goal is, and you don’t know where you want to go with your skill… Do you want to be hyper realistic in your drawing abilities? Do you want to be able to capture likeness in a portrait from someone that you see walking by? Do you want to be able to draw cartoon characters? These are all different levels of expectation and skill. They require different levels of practice. You’re not going to know what to aim for, and if you don’t create that goal, if you don’t acknowledge it even just to yourself, then you don’t create steps to aim for that goal.
Be Creatively Courageous: Today. Share publicly what you really hope for with your art skill. Where do you want to be? Do you have an example of an artist that you admire, that you would like to achieve a similar skill level with? Share that name or describe the goals that you have for your skill level in the comments below. That’s step one. Then you can choose an action. What are you going to do next to get started building that skill?
Something you can do to start building your drawing skills is to join my free drawing challenge. It’s a free 7 day challenge. All you’ve got to do is sign up below this video to get started. Thanks for watching. I’ll see you next week.
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