I'm starting to feel that drawing is becoming tedious. Advice?
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    I'm starting to feel that drawing is becoming tedious. Advice?

    So, I've been at this drawing thing for a bit and I'm starting to feel like its becoming tedious.

    At first I picked up drawing as a practical tool. I wanted to be able to communicate visual ideas visually. After initially picking up the pencil, I became really invested in it, because I could feel myself learning. Every time I picked up a pencil, or looked at some new artist, I was totally confident that I was walking away with a quantifiable and practical piece of knowledge.

    But more years in, I feel like everything's becoming uncomfortably familiar. I'm usually not jaw droppingly surprised by any new information that I learn. I spend the majority of my drawing time just practicing, and I'm not even sure why I do it anymore because there's nothing novel or exciting happening. I'm just doing the same things over and over- drawing things that I imagine or see in real life, applying graphite or paint to paper or canvas and it goes on like that year after year.

    So I'm wondering what some other people might be doing to keep the process of applying mark to paper exciting, and if they had any advice to offer. I thought I could just draw through this funk but I've been feeling this way for years now. Input much appreciated.

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    Maybe you need to crack out of the stylised drawing and push yourself to new heights. Staying in a safe rut is the surest way to kill any enthusiasm. Go and do something you can't - much more fun.


    I didn't think it was possible to be called an artist when you have nothing to say. It's like being a writer who publishes individual words as books and expects to be praised for it.
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    What do you wish you could do?

    Do that.

    [edit: sound like almost the same answer as Black Spot, but to be clear, I don't necessarily mean drawing, I mean your whole life.]

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    Try something new? A new subject, a new medium, a new style, etc. Playing with mediums in particular is a great way to renew that feeling of play, of exploration and novelty. Maybe even get away from drawing for a little while and pick up a different creative hobby, like ceramics or photography. And don't forget that you need to refill on fresh inspiration every once in a while or we end up recycling old ideas over and over. Get back to the source of it, get out and experience the world. There are always new and exciting things to learn around the corner, but sometimes we're so focused on mastering one particular thing that we lose sight of everything else.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Spot View Post
    Maybe you need to crack out of the stylised drawing and push yourself to new heights. Staying in a safe rut is the surest way to kill any enthusiasm. Go and do something you can't - much more fun.
    For most of the drawings that I do, I try to avoid stylization. The stylized drawings are the ones that I feel are wrong most of the time, so I post them for critique more often.

    Maybe some of the trouble is that I don't feel like there's anything I absolutel can't do eventually. If I practice every day until I'm eighty, I think I'd be pretty decent one day. But the road there doesn't seem like it has anything interesting on it at the moment.

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    Drawing well and drawing something that evokes an emotion/tells a good story are two different things. Any monkey can learn to draw well...


    I didn't think it was possible to be called an artist when you have nothing to say. It's like being a writer who publishes individual words as books and expects to be praised for it.
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    Hmmmm....I have no idea what to tell you about this kind of thing. Without seeing your work it is even more difficult. Sounds like you just aren't interested in art any longer...no big deal...these things happen to some folks. If you're interested enough you'll solve the problem...if not, no one else can solve it for you.

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    Exciting?

    hahahahahahahahahahahahah.

    Now that that's out the way.

    Expand your horizons, look beyond your pencil tip, or just quit.

    "Everything must serve the idea. The means used to convey the idea should be the simplest and clear. Just what is required. No extra images. To me this is a universal principle of art. Saying as much as possible with a minimum of means."
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    Lots of people get to this stage and quit. Its easier than actually accomplishing something with your art. Always better to say you could do it eventually, blah blah blah. It's basically and excuse to fail but don't feel bad very few people have what it takes to be a professional artist and actually work for a living making art.

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    Well, do you still have visual ideas to communicate? Maybe eventually you'll run out of things to learn (although that's really doubtful) but you never have to run out of people to troll. After all, applying the paint is just a means to an end. What is your end? Maybe you need to find that again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    Lots of people get to this stage and quit. Its easier than actually accomplishing something with your art. Always better to say you could do it eventually, blah blah blah. It's basically and excuse to fail but don't feel bad very few people have what it takes to be a professional artist and actually work for a living making art.
    I don't need an excuse to fail.

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    Sounds like you want to jump to your destination and skip the journey. That's going to be a problem, because there IS no final destination when you study art, only a never-ending journey... So if you don't enjoy this journey, you might be better off doing something else you DO enjoy.

    And if it has to be "novel" to hold your interest, that's going to be a problem too... Unless you ditch the whole idea of making marks and take up conceptual art or performance art or something.

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    A post or link would be nice.

    Jay's CA.org Sketchbook:
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    Quote Originally Posted by snacks ex machina View Post
    I spend the majority of my drawing time just practicing, and I'm not even sure why I do it anymore...

    Quote Originally Posted by snacks ex machina View Post
    At first I picked up drawing as a practical tool. I wanted to be able to communicate visual ideas...

    Maybe it's time to have at it! Unless communicating visual ideas is no longer your goal, in which case you might need to think of a new one. If you can't think up any goals for why you're drawing/painting, then your artwork serves no purpose and it's time to do something else.

    My Sketchbook

    And then God said, "Let us make man in our likeness and our image. Let us make him ridiculously hard to draw so that poor artists everywhere will have to spend 10,000+ hours failing repeatedly before they can begin to capture the form and likeness onto a two-dimensional surface." And there was man. And it was good. And artists everywhere lost their minds.
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    Quote Originally Posted by snacks ex machina View Post
    So, I've been at this drawing thing for a bit and I'm starting to feel like its becoming tedious.

    At first I picked up drawing as a practical tool. I wanted to be able to communicate visual ideas visually. After initially picking up the pencil, I became really invested in it, because I could feel myself learning. Every time I picked up a pencil, or looked at some new artist, I was totally confident that I was walking away with a quantifiable and practical piece of knowledge.

    But more years in, I feel like everything's becoming uncomfortably familiar. I'm usually not jaw droppingly surprised by any new information that I learn. I spend the majority of my drawing time just practicing, and I'm not even sure why I do it anymore because there's nothing novel or exciting happening. I'm just doing the same things over and over- drawing things that I imagine or see in real life, applying graphite or paint to paper or canvas and it goes on like that year after year.

    So I'm wondering what some other people might be doing to keep the process of applying mark to paper exciting, and if they had any advice to offer. I thought I could just draw through this funk but I've been feeling this way for years now. Input much appreciated.
    Sometimes it's not about the mark making. Sometimes it's about the storytelling. What stories do you want to tell?

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    Boo hoo. Get over it, or don't. You're good, it would be a shame if you packed it in, but it happens.


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    i draw because i feel a need to. i don't have a similar need to do algebra, so i don't do algebra. maybe you don't need to draw.

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    I'm a beginner, this is my humble opinion:

    Everything in life can burn you out, no matter how beautiful it is or how devoted you are. You need to have so many different things in your life to strike a balance on your happiness and stability. What happens to a person who rejects his/her own life for a relationship? That usually ends bad. What happens to a father who only commits himself to his job and rejects the other aspects of his life (partner, social, children, health)? That also ends badly. Because it's not natural.

    I think it is normal to "hate" something if that drains most of your time and efforts, that's why it is good to take breaks from work, hobbies, people, etc. As I said, I'm still a beginner, and I bloody love art, but I also study English so that someday I'll be a translator, I've got a girlfriend and a nice bunch of friends, I also like photography, writing, dancing, reading, playing football, going out, etc. If I spend a whole week just drawing (even though I fling myself into it and enjoy myself) I end up hating it and not feeling like drawing in a month. Because nothing is as important as to take my life and my existence entirely. Maybe you've been into art too much.

    I don't know whether this makes sense, I hope it helps.

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    When I ran into a wall of hating my beloved hobby, and becoming bored and frustrated with it, I did this:

    Stopped caring about the audience.

    Seriously, it's so much more fun when you discover a style or subjects that YOU like, and that YOU have fun drawing, without a care in the world for anatomy, color, logic, popularity, money,...
    Now I no longer get flooded with buttkissing comments, commissions and the likes, but I'm happy with what I'm doing. I don't look at my work wondering why I made it or becoming bored of it. It is now MINE to create, MINE to mess with, MINE to love.

    I know when you're a pro or aspiring, this advice may sound unhelpful, but taking me-time and just scribbling away for fun, is likely to replenish your forces even in the work field.

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    Try writing.

    I don't mean that as a joke or slight. Creating in a different fashion or building a story that has meaning to you might spark your to visually bring it to life.

    A lot of artist find much more fulfillment in working on their original ideas.

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    That's why I like comics. Telling a narrative with drawings broke the tedious feeling. Then when that gets tedious move to something else. Rotate.

    It's the same with most hobbies and interests do it every day all day and it gets tiring.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JFierce View Post
    It's the same with most hobbies and interests do it every day all day and it gets tiring.
    Nah...see, I don't think this is true for creative fields. I think for creative people, at least for me, the only limiting factors on how much I can accomplish are the other aspects of life...like sleeping, eating, balance in family and social, chores, projects, etc. Most of the artists I know are like that...basically you're an artist 24/7...literally. And tbh...many don't manage the balance all that well.

    Art isn't like a "job" where you push paper all day then golf on the weekends. If you're an artist that golfs you're out there studying shadows, varieties of green, warm vs. cool, your friends poses, gesture and action, etc.

    Sure you can burn out a bit after 18 straight hours in Photoshop (not exaggerating) but then you just switch it up to some sketching or painting the next day if you want.

    Just my two cents.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    Lots of people get to this stage and quit. Its easier than actually accomplishing something with your art. Always better to say you could do it eventually, blah blah blah. It's basically and excuse to fail but don't feel bad very few people have what it takes to be a professional artist and actually work for a living making art.
    Yeah, I have a good friend who - and you can COUNT on this - will always lament about how he quit drawing in high school if he's drinkin.

    He'll say "I just don't know what happened! I was MEANT to be an artist...I am an artist!".

    Just not one that draws or paints or sculpts, apparently.
    So that was his choice and he clearly regrets the hell out of it. Telling him he can always start up again is like talking to a brick wall, too.

    So....you can either overcome the tedium by drawing something different or be like my friend. It's tough, but that's the reality of it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dusty View Post
    Yeah, I have a good friend who - and you can COUNT on this - will always lament about how he quit drawing in high school if he's drinkin.
    That's another good reason to quit drinking

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    Nah...see, I don't think this is true for creative fields. I think for creative people, at least for me, the only limiting factors on how much I can accomplish are the other aspects of life...like sleeping, eating, balance in family and social, chores, projects, etc. Most of the artists I know are like that...basically you're an artist 24/7...literally. And tbh...many don't manage the balance all that well.

    Art isn't like a "job" where you push paper all day then golf on the weekends. If you're an artist that golfs you're out there studying shadows, varieties of green, warm vs. cool, your friends poses, gesture and action, etc.

    Sure you can burn out a bit after 18 straight hours in Photoshop (not exaggerating) but then you just switch it up to some sketching or painting the next day if you want.

    Just my two cents.

    True, that's the one diverse quality of art. There's many types. It's not quite like something like baseball. I'd say it's closer to music, or crafts. Some people can play the guitar for days, but most get burned out and do something else, those truly involved in music and that are making it their career they don't stop though. They work on composition, or do other instruments and aspects of the field.

    Good point Jeff.

    Last edited by JFierce; June 21st, 2012 at 02:17 PM.
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    Scribble art.

    Start with a massively impossible scribble, one that makes no sense, made unconsciously from your mind.

    Turn that scribble into art. Example: Start out thinking "I want to draw a piece of fantasy armor." Scribble like mad, and see how you can turn that scribble into a piece of armor. Don't get lazy and turn it into a sword just because it looks like a sword.

    Whether the scribble ends up being a tiny accessory on a much larger piece, or if it becomes the piece itself, draw from that scribble and create something new.

    Before putting it down, try it out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eezacque@xs4all.nl View Post
    That's another good reason to quit drinking
    Hey, let's not get ahead of ourselves here.


    Scribble art.

    Start with a massively impossible scribble, one that makes no sense, made unconsciously from your mind.
    I've done similar exercises before and it's great to kick off your brain in ways you may not have in the past. The way it was shown to me was to draw like 6 random shapes, then make a drawing using those shapes in some capacity.

    Not trying to hijack the thread or anything, but just to use it as an example so you can see what the exercise was...here were the shapes:


    ...and here was my drawing base off of those shapes:


    I never draw stuff like that. And it was super fun to do! It's one of my favorite quick drawings that I have done.

    Last edited by Dusty; June 21st, 2012 at 02:48 PM.
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    Draw something funny. I'm serious. Make a small funny doodle or comic. The more you humor yourself, the more stress you relieve.

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    Try listening to music while you draw or paint. It helps take tedium out of it. Your mind just drifts away and you work on auto pilot intuitively.

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