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Do you feel like you suddenly just can’t draw anymore?
No matter what you do, you can’t even put a halfway decent drawing on paper?
I think every artist has felt like this a few times in his life already.
So let’s see why that is and what you can do about it!
Why You Feel You Can’t Draw Anymore
If you break it down, there are only two scenarios where you might think that you can’t draw well anymore:
- After a break
- Out of nowhere
Let’s examine both situations in detail:
1. Bad Drawings After A Break
If you’ve neglected drawing and painting for a while, it’s normal to feel like you’re not as good as you once were.
When you start to get into it again, you might even feel like a complete beginner artist.
Take me for example:
I’ve drawn for most of my life, but I’ve had a 10-year-long break in between.
When I started drawing again in 2018 I felt like an amateur again at first.
Let’s look at the reasons for that:
Reason #1: You Are Just Out Of Practice
The reason for you feeling like a complete beginner after a break is that you are just out of practice.
Can you lose the ability to draw?
Anyone can learn to draw, but drawing and painting are skills that have to be practiced to be maintained.
You can’t expect to take a prolonged break from creating art and completely keep your skill level.
Art skills have to be nurtured or they wither away with time.
What You Can Do About It: Start Drawing Daily / Regularly Again
The simple (and obvious) solution to feeling unskilled after a break is to start practicing regularly again.
Get back into the habit of drawing daily, if you can.
Accept the fact that your drawings might not be as good as they once were at first. Just push through it and you will see that you will be back in shape in no time.
You might even become better than ever if you commit to practicing.
Need Inspiration? Check out these 10 drawing tips to get better NOW!
Reason #2: Your Motor Skills Have Declined
There are many aspects to drawing and painting.
Besides the visual and mental aspects of drawing, there are also your motor skills.
This goes together with reason #1, but to create good art you need a certain degree of dexterity with your pencil/pen/brush.
This dexterity deteriorates with time if you don’t use it.
What You Can Do About It: Doodle Around To Improve Your Motor Skills
You need to get a feel for using your pencil/pen/brush again. (Here are all the art tools I use, by the way.)
To do that you don’t have to create awesome drawings – you can just doodle around.
By just doing little doodles and scribbles you take away the pressure of needing to create drawings that satisfy your high expectations of yourself.
But drawing abstract shapes and lines can still get you back into the swing of things and help you regain your motor skills.
That might be just what you need after an extended drawing break.
2. Bad Drawings Out Of Nowhere
Then there’s the second scenario where you feel that you can’t draw well anymore from one day to the next – basically out of nowhere.
Possible reasons for that could be:
Reason #1: Art Block / Depression
One reason for you not being able to draw anymore out of nowhere could be the dreaded art block.
Art block is a term that describes the moment an artist completely runs out of ideas of what to draw, loses all creativity, and has no motivation to draw anymore.
In extreme cases, this can even lead to depression.
What You Can Do About It: Step Away From Art For Some Time
The best way to combat art block is to just step away from art altogether for some time.
Don’t draw or paint anything for as long as needed.
If you don’t enjoy drawing anymore, don’t try to think about it all the time or it will just make matters worse.
Clear your mind.
Enjoy some of your other hobbies. Spend time with your friends and family.
If you are an artist with all your heart, your desire to draw will come back sooner or later – and the creativity with it.
It’s difficult to do this if you’re a professional artist and have bills to pay. You can’t afford to just quit drawing for a few days or weeks.
But the reality is this:
Professional artists have moved beyond this most of the time and have realized that there are always going to be ups and downs while practicing their craft.
They accepted it long ago and just go on with their daily activities.
That said, here are 10 more ways to fight art block. Now you’re set!
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Reason #2: Bad Fundamentals
Another reason could be that you actually have a lack of knowledge in the fundamentals.
Creating art has many (!) facets:
It might be that you neglected to study one of those areas and it’s finally catching up to you.
What You Can Do About It: Get Back To The Basics
The simple solution is to start practicing the fundamentals again.
You have to realize that being an artist is a journey.
For example, it’s not like you practice anatomy for a few weeks and then you’re just done with it.
It’s an ongoing process, a learning experience for a lifetime.
If you accept that you have to work on the fundamentals regularly and begin strengthening them again, your art will improve. The feeling of „I can’t draw anymore“ will likely go away soon.
You don’t even have to do it alone:
Reason #3: You Haven’t Been Practicing Right Or Not Enough
A third possible reason is that you just haven’t been practicing right – or not enough!
Like everything in life drawing and painting require you to constantly practice your skills.
If you neglect to hone your skills and only draw what you already can, you won’t get better – or worse:
Your skills will diminish!
What You Can Do About It: Practice More / Better
Stop only drawing things that you’ve drawn so many times already.
Start practicing again and do it the right way. Incorporate some dedicated practice time with the focus of improving your art.
In addition to that, you can always create more detailed drawings – but choose motifs that include certain aspects (certain poses, lighting situations, perspectives, …) that require you to practice drawing them beforehand.
This way you will get better quickly and it’s a surefire way to combat the feeling that you suddenly can’t draw anymore.
I’ve actually written a guide that teaches you how to practice drawing correctly in detail.
Why You Can’t Draw Anymore – Conclusion
You can’t draw anymore because you took a (long) break from drawing, you practiced too little or wrong and may have neglected the basics.
To combat this you can start drawing daily again, practice more/better and revisit the basics.
Let me know in the comments, if you’ve had this experience too and what you’ve done to overcome it.