Being a perfectionist; a gift or a burden?
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Thread: Being a perfectionist; a gift or a burden?

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    Being a perfectionist; a gift or a burden?

    This is yet another “fear” topic, I still want to address this issue about being perfectionist because I don't see anything specific about such a topic. I also post this in the lounge, since the subject it self is not always art related.

    It's great to have a critical view on things in the world and in art as well. But it's gonna hurt when you can't enjoy these things anymore because you are a perfectionist. And of course, this is also a burden when creating artwork.

    Creating art can become very annoying and unrewarding, the view of art from a perfectionist's vision is hardly satisfying. Every line you are going to put on your paper or monitor, has to be perfect. The same goes as well for: composition, technical, environments, characters and so on, and so on.

    About my self from the beginning at Conceptart.org to where I am now:
    I was very unsatisfied with my artwork and I knew that learning the fundementals of art would help me on my artwork and my self. I downloaded all sorts of books and studied them by reading and copying them. Later on I purchased mostly anatomy books and plowed my way trough them while not always reading them. I remember that I find Bridgman's text to be very dry and confusing, but his drawings are working for me. Also did a lot of life drawings from environments. Still a beginner and I had a hard time with realism.

    Many sketchbooks, beginner till advanced inspired me to the bone. I even loved the more realistic approaches and tried doing these as well. As a result, I had absolutely no fun in these excersizes because everything had to be perfect. I lost my creativity and it's hard for me to come with something of my own that felt satisfying. So I did more studies, which I also started to loath. It felt not right that I could not see my own improvement anymore.

    After all that, I decided to go to the art academy. I choose for a specialization in comic design. The work I get there is not always something I like to do and out of my specialization, but I have succeeded every semester with good grades so far. And yet, I don't feel happy with my work, even I know it's good enough and I get praise from teachers and students, It's a very sureallistic and confusing feeling. Because you don't want to be found arrogant and you know they are right. But the perfectionist in you tells otherwise.

    Are there more perfectionists out there? Does'nt have to be art related, perfectionism can be related to everything.

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    Neither, it's a neurological preset. Deal with it.

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    Wanting things done right and being perfectionist is not the same thing as not being stisfied and never finishing anything. The first is an asset that produces the highest quality work, the second is a bull shit excuse for task avoidance. Real perfectionists finish things, fake ones don't.

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    Wanting things done right and being perfectionist is not the same thing as not being stisfied and never finishing anything. The first is an asset that produces the highest quality work, the second is a bull shit excuse for task avoidance. Real perfectionists finish things, fake ones don't.
    The term perfectionist I am using is not meant in a literally sense but psychological. And it means that the person wants everything perfect but can't furfill his or her expactations and gets nothing done because of fear.

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    So the second description applies. If you don't finish things because you lack the skill that is not a perfectionist. A perfectionist actually has the ability to do what they want. Arguing semantics aside, you have fear of completion problems or task avoidance issues, call it what it is and deal with it. An analogy, I will only marry Angelina Jolie she is the only woman good enough for me, I can't help it if I have good taste therefore I can never marry. You are running toward an object at the end of a long pole just out of reach, attached to your forehead; you can never reach it.

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    Yeah, I think dpaint is right. There's a good approach to perfectionism and a bad one. In the good kind you feel dissatisfied with everything so you keep moving forward. In the bad kind you feel dissatisfied with everything so you either stop or go around in circles endlessly polishing turds. You're dissatisfied either way, but one gets you somewhere and the other one doesn't.

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    It depends. The circumstance black or white. Being hard on yourself is a good thing. It helps you grow, get things done, and can be practical. However, being hard on yourself can start to stray towards psychological conditions like OCD. In those cases, you'd need to see medical help in order to assist anxieties, over come fears, and participate in something you love.

    Whitevillage's depiction of perfectionism is actually pretty accurate. It deals with fears and hardly deals with the inability to have a good work ethnic. If you are unhappy, you actually may want to seek medical help. I know what it's like to be unhappy in school, and sorting these things out earlier in your art career is better than doing it later.

    I hope that helps your issue.

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    Hello White Village,

    About a year ago I was diagnosed with O.C.D: Perfectionism. I've struggled with it since I was a small child and it was passed on biologically by my parents and was further pushed through a strict environment.

    It took me 6 months to get one drawing finished. Though I loved art it was always a painful process. Every line...has to be perfect. It wasn't something that I could just turn off. Though I acknowledge, and still acknowledge that my obsessive behavior to be perfect is more destructive than beneficial I can't stop. It's difficult.

    Through a year of therapy I have had that all changed. I can get a comic book page done a week and several pictures done in a day. When I realized that I had a problem and recognized what in my life reflect into my behavior I started to figure out what I WANTED and not what others wanted for me. Instead of "I have to" I started thinking "I want to."

    You can't be perfect in a world filled with flaws.
    _____

    P.S It's pointless to try and define what perfectionism is. It has nothing to do with her/his concerns as an artist. Trying to tell her/him that she/he doesn't fit the definition is pointless and not going to promote her/his ability to accept herself.

    I wish you the best WhiteVillage. I understand a bit of what your going through.

    Last edited by OracularDream; January 16th, 2011 at 11:01 PM.
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    An unopened tube of paint, a blank piece of canvas and an uncut sheet of perspex with the backing still on... are all more perfect than you will ever be.

    Who cares.

    Break the seal, cover it in paint, rip the backing off and ram it through the table saw. That is why we are here.



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    Whitevillage, I know I'm a perfectionist, too. I sometimes get so down on myself for drawing a "bad" sketch that I feel like I deserve to be punished. Oh, if that ONE line isn't perfect, I'm not doing anymore. Each thing has to be PERFECTLY DONE, each step must be satisfying, and I'm not reaching for perfection, I'm expecting to be transported there instantly. That's how it is sometimes for me, and that is something I'm struggling to get out of.

    I think this trait of mine stems from when I'd openly draw during my teen years, and after awhile I got laughed at for making one thing unexpectedly look like something else. It made me feel stupid to be laughed at, and when I got a critique from a peer, it was also "not funny" that I did something wrong. Very confusing times.

    Well, trying to get the perfect line, the perfect picture, etc., hasn't helped me at all. It's done quite the opposite...no wait, my response to not getting it done "perfectly" was more often what didn't help me. I DO want to get things done very nicely, and to a point where even *I* will say "WOW, that's awesome!", but I want to appreciate what I created if I manage to finish, even if I missed something. Which I don't...sometimes. I could use these little errors as happy mistakes to learn from, but I've seem them as imperfections, and I need to be punished for that.

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    It's uncommon for a perfectionist to allow no less than 13 grammatical errors to creep into his or her opening post .

    I'm also rather OCD about certain things, but not so much about other things. I have been called a perfectionist by many people but I don't quite understand the argument, which ordinarily runs along the lines of something being fine purely because nobody else has a problem with it. As if acceptability were a democracy, and a majority indifference will by some convenient inversion of reason change my mind for me.

    I quite like being a somewhat of a selective obsessive compulsive perfectionist - in what few things concern me, I usually don't go wrong.

    Usually.

    (Whether this is in fact a manifestation of my deep-rooted denial is in fact another thread altogether).

    Brendan Noeth

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    dpaint: Don't think it's task avoidance, I still finished all of my deadlines for art academy after all, only personal stuff and studies has a strict rule of being perfect. I do like your analogies.

    vineris: Very true, I just need to be a perfectionist in creating, not in thinking about it.

    ImagineTheEnding: I'm working on getting my anxieties fixed with getting help, but I have trouble with it talking about being a perfectionist, especially as being an artist. That's why I also created this thread at this place.

    Thanks for your concern and I certainly want to fix this obstacle.

    OracularDream: Sorry to hear about your ODC perfectionism problem. Having a strict environment became a hazard for me as well, I never had these problems till I got a epiphany that being social and being strict is important in society. At this point I don't want to care about society, not turning my back at it. But being very loose about it as much as I can.

    Thanks for you're honest and helpful post.

    DuneFishUK: I do have problems to write, paint and sculpt on new things. Best thing is indeed just ignore it and create as you please! They're made for it afterall.

    Jazz: The idea of being punished flies trough my head as well. "Why can't I get it straight? I don't deserve this, etc." And I'm even reading 'Art and fear"... I really dislike such behaviour of people laughing at you, I haven't been laughed at, but I just realised I can't take critics very well. I get very nervous and angry inside and blame my self.

    Thanks for posting and good luck to you with getting happier with your work.

    Brendan N: Well you got me there, even my Dutch grammar is lousy and I certainly don't take pride in it. At least I don't have much fear of writing, altough I double check sentences and orthography.

    Perfectionism does'nt have to be a problem, but It can be a problem when you stress it up to the max. I think not everyone likes to hang out with perfectionists because It can be irritating when the perfectionist is whining about little mistakes others make.

    As long as you feel fine, it's okay. If you getting stressed out with being perfectionistic, try to step back as soon as you can for a while.

    ---

    P.S. At this point, I try to get things straight up and not being to strict to my self. My artwork might suffer because of it in the beginning, but it's better to have a lot of crappy drawings that will become better after quantity then creating one stiff perfect piece that you want to give a lot of quality. This is also mentioned in 'Art and fear' with sculpting vases If I stand correctly. So It did help reading it...

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    I'm glad to share my account with you, Whitevillage! Thank you very much for your kind wishes. ^__^ I'm rooting for you, too! I'm sure you'll be doing great working on the issue.

    (And I think your grammar is fine, considering all you wrote! )

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    Personally I work my hardest to create work and do good studies but I also know my limits. There are things in my portfolio that I spent months or a couple years working and reworking...studies that I spent ages on because I do have goals in mind for specific pieces that I want to fulfill. However, I will fail often and I know I need to accept that. But damn if I don't keep trying.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that you can put your best effort forth but still be realistic about your ability and your goals. It's a balance. Know that things take time to understand and as long as you are putting in that time, then your work will grow.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vineris View Post
    Yeah, I think dpaint is right. There's a good approach to perfectionism and a bad one. In the good kind you feel dissatisfied with everything so you keep moving forward. In the bad kind you feel dissatisfied with everything so you either stop or go around in circles endlessly polishing turds. You're dissatisfied either way, but one gets you somewhere and the other one doesn't.
    I think this post will go along with the "Wanting vs. doing" article as my chicken soup when my ego's bruised and motivation needs a fresh start. Thank you, vineris.


    Quote Originally Posted by Hyskoa View Post
    Neither, it's a neurological preset. Deal with it.
    In essence I only want to say ditto, but let me be a little verbose about it.

    Personally I think that it all really is about attitude. It's not the "I'm perfectionist" that is a burden or a gift, it's the approach you take. If you (let yourself) see it as an obstacle sky-high, then you're shutting the door yourself, perfectionism is not shutting them on you. If you see it as a challenge to overcome, then I guess congratulations are in order, because you just made the first step to succeeding, tweaking something to *your* advantage. Just think of the effect it's going to have when you can finally say that you overcame it, tamed it. It will not only be a great feeling, but also by the time you are past, it will have taught you something new and unique, a knowledge other people who did not have to overcome it will not have. That is a gift, an advantage, an experience that can ultimately put you higher than them.

    This is an approach you can apply to just about anything in your life. If you let yourself be hindered, then you most certainly will be.

    It only really is about the head, the mind. Which part of yourself you let win.

    I wish you success.

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    You have to come to the realization that anything in this world will never live up to the vision in your head. You strive for the vision, give it your best effort, and then move on to the next one. You've got to let go of the perfectionism. I used to get so amped on what was possible that it paralyzed me into not starting..

    It's good to be critical in a constructive way but with the caveat that it's practical and productive.

    In Art, we're trying to create an emotional connection and perfection is a thought in the mind. You have to block that out and let your emotions run. Your brain will outyell your emotions if you let it but your emotions are much more powerful tools in your arsenal, if you can let them out. You've got to learn to tap into your emotional power. (And the way you allow this to happen is by training yourself so your emotions come out properly in your moment of need. Think: athlete, soldier)

    A great way I have discovered to overcome perfectionism is to set a time limit. Give yourself however much time and STICK TO IT. Give your best effort. Do what you can within the time frame and.. on to the next one. It's a practical way to help you get used to the idea of letting go..

    Godspeed to ya.

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    It's a burden if you don't bother to put any effort into improving yourself, and a gift if you've spent years putting the hard work in.

    EDIT: Christ! haven't seen your name in a longtime jetpack42, Oldskool CA.org!

    Last edited by Rusty; January 24th, 2011 at 04:32 AM.
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    I would think that being a perfectionist is a burden. I'm definitely not a perfectionist, though I do have times where I feel like I'm so bad that there is no point in trying to draw because it will be bad.

    I always remember this one guy who my mom told me about who ended up fired because he was such a perfectionist that he wouldn't get his work done. He would spend an entire day on one document making sure it was perfect, and so he didn't get enough stuff done. Company canned him in the end.

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    LOL. hi Rusty!

    I self-published a book on the fundamentals of drawing from life.

    http://www.amazon.com/Fundamentals-D...8951905&sr=8-1

    http://www.endlessunlimited.com
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    Learn first that art is not a perfect process. Perfection in and of itself is a pretty bullshit concept, as it does not exist. In the real world nobody is going to wait on you to make the "Perfect" piece of work. Which is why you learn how to draw with more grace and accuracy. And for that to work, you need to discard some of that perfectionism you have. Doesn't mean you rush through a work, but when the time comes to finish things up, you need to realize that you may have to leave that mistake there, and hopefully nobody will notice.

    FEED THE SKETCHBOOK

    Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Nobody made good art by coloring in between the lines.
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    im kind of the same way. its a good sign - ur eye is developing

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