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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.
» Learn to Draw: Daily Practices to Improve Your Drawing Skills
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.
CHECK OUT: Make Your Digital Paintings Look Better Faster
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:
Anatomy, proportions, perspective, color, values, composition, lighting and shading, … (Check out my guide How To Draw Anything You Want)
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:
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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.
P.S.: Just to let you know: I’m on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. I’d appreciate it if you check it out!
6 Characteristics Of Good Art – What Makes A Drawing Good?
8 thoughts on “5 Reasons Why You Can’t Draw Anymore [And How To Fix It]”
I have always loved to draw ever since i was young. I drew everyday, whatever came to mind. Drawing is very important to me, when things in my life suffocate me, art is my oxygen. It keeps me going. One day, i dedicated myself to getting good grades in school, focusing on nothing but studying (didn’t end well for me), because of the pressure and confusion over what i’m really doing, I suffered depression. I had stopped drawing for 5 years. I decided to go at it again and I wasn’t good at it anymore… I couldn’t form anything without getting anxious and erasing everything. Day by day it gets worse for me. Evrytime i place the tip of my pencil to the paper my hand goes numb. I desperately needed to draw my emotions out. I was struggling emotionally and mentally cuz of school and my life. When i cant even draw a single line, i would be frustrated and throw my sketchbook and pencil. I would furiously hit my drawing hand and sometimes slam it to the wall. When i could draw something, i would erase it cuz it didn’t look good. I used to just be satisfied with whatever but now… I hate that i don’t anymore. The fact that my love and passion for drawing was slipping away, it made my depression even worse. I would cry a lot holding my sketchbook to my chest. Its scaring me…. i want to be able to draw the way i used to and improve. It’s the one thing that I feel proud of (clearly getting obsessed with grades for your parents to be proud of you in exchange for sacrificing the thing you love to do the most in your life was a choice I regret the most). It’s a big part of my life and i don’t want to lose it😢
Thanks for sharing your emotional story.
I’m not a psychotherapist, but I’ve been where you are now. Unfortunately you can’t force progress. You can practice, but it happens, when it happens. And often it doesn’t.
My advice is to try to seperate your emotions from your drawing. As you’ve seen, it can be a recipe for disaster and make things worse. Try to do some drawings just for the fun of it, without needing them to be perfect. If they turn out good, great! If not… on to the next one! Just have fun!
If you can’t do that, it might even be best to step away from drawing for a while. Try to sort things out in your life to get in a better state of mind, so that the quality of your drawings doesn’t have such a big impact on your emotions.
I wish you all the best!
I love drawing, and have drawn since i was young. I stopped drawing around a month ago for no apparent reason.
However, my friends have been improving their skills while i stopped drawing. Whenever they post their drawings, i feel jealous and then feel guilty for not drawing anymore. Do you have any tips on how to get started and get motivated again, and will not drawing for 2 months affect my skills? Will my peers always be better at drawing than me now?
Hey “you”! 🙂
Don’t worry, two months are nothing in the grand scheme of things, really. With dedication you will get into it again quickly. Just start! Motivation actually often comes after starting.
If you can’t push yourself to draw, you need to ask yourself, if you actually do enjoy it… or if you only do it because your friends do. It’s perfectly okay to lose interest in something. People change. I had a phase where I didn’t draw for a couple of years, but instead tried to learn to play the drums. It was cool while it lasted, but after about 5 years I just lost interest. And it’s okay, I’m fine with it. It is what it is. Maybe the same thing is happening to you right now.
Finally, try to stop comparing yourself to your friends. In the end, it’s no competition. It’s just a hobby that should be fun! And if you do want to compete… compete with yourself! 🙂
I wish you all the best!
For the last 7 months I havent drawing anything decent at home.And when I tried to draw something I knew I could draw at home I would fail and get frustrated and ive tried drawing easy things and still I wasn’t happy with them .At school I got mastery in art ,but another kid in my class constantly draws these amazing shaded spitfires whenever he gets the chance and everyone says how amazing it is and during art class I would draw as good but know one would care.And i try not to care but its so hard cause hes my friend too.And school is stressful,you have loads of homework,there are loads of class and there’s lots of peer pressure to swear and stuff. Its really stressful and this just puts me down .I think I’m depressed and I have no way of coping with it. What should I do?
I know what you mean. When you’re younger, it’s so natural to compare yourself to others, especially when you’re constantly around people your age, like in school.
It’s difficult to give advice here. I would tell you to try to stop comparing yourself to others so much and try to focus on your own journey (in art as well as in life). And I would tell you to try not to put so much value into the reaction of others to your art. Validation and recognition are nice, but you shouldn’t make yourself dependant on it.
That said, these tend to be things you realize automatically when getting older. Circumstances change. Life changes accordingly. So this is something that’s very hard to learn at a young age. It comes with time.
You should probably try talking about it with real people. Your peers, as well as your family.
All the best,
P.S.: Even when you’re older and more experienced, there will still be many moments where you’re frustrated with your art. It’s part of the game, unfortunately. 😉
Thanks that’s really helpful .Im now trying to look on the brighter side of things and stuff. Im gonna see if I can draw my emotions out. But thanks for your help. Much appreciated.👍🏻
(Your advice has really helped me)