I’ve had conversations with people who say they are “bad” at art, and it got me thinking about definitions of being good or bad.
What does it actually mean when someone says they are bad, or good, at art?
Hi, my name is Carrie and here on Artist Strong I help artists build their skill and develop their unique voice. Today we are working through how to use this definition of “bad” to improve our skill.
Usually, in conversation with someone about being “bad” at art the following phrases start showing up:
“I can barely draw stick figures,”
“I can’t draw,”
“I can’t even draw a straight line,”
Have you caught yourself thinking this or hearing someone in your life saying something like this?
So what does it mean to be “good” at art?
Well, if we look at common objections made by people who feel they are bad at art, they should be able to draw, to draw people well, and freehand a straight line.
This is GOOD NEWS. Why? Think about it for a minute. If you can actively list out specific skills you wish you had… you can do something about it!
So today, I’d like you to reflect for a minute. Ask yourself: what do you consider yourself “bad” at when it comes to your art? Get out a journal or sketchbook and write down some of the things your inner critic says to you. Mine is always pushing me around about my skill level, telling me it’s not enough. Go ahead and pause the video here and take a minute to reflect. I’ll be here when you get back.
Great. Now you should have a few sentences or bullet points outlining the things your inner critic gives you a hard time about, or that you’ve heard or thought about yourself when it comes to your art.
Now, let’s take a look at them and convert them into something useful!
In my example, I mentioned my inner critic always tells me I’m not skillful enough. When I dig deeper, it’s specifically about my ability to capture likeness in portraits and my knowledge and ability to portray anatomy.
NOW. Here’s where we get to do something about it. I now have two specific areas of practice I can focus on. I can go back and retake my free course I made called Drawing Drills and use the strategies of practice outlined there to tackle each obstacle I see in my way of being a better artist.
If you can be specific about this, it means you can figure out what steps to take forward so you are more confident that you are, in fact, good at art.
So in my situation, I would review Drawing Drills to help me develop a strategy of practice around capturing likeness. This could mean drawing 10 minutes a day with a focus on capturing likeness in a series of portraits. It could also mean taking a class with a teacher who focuses on portraiture.
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Now it’s your turn: what is one “bad” at art skill you can convert into an area of practice and focus to help convert that bad into something good? Tell me about your specific obstacle and the strategy you can now work towards because of it.
Thanks for watching and I’ll see you here next time on Artist Strong.