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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
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.
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?
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 /
The simple (and obvious) solution
to feeling unskilled after a break is to start practicing
Get back into the habit of
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
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.
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
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.
RELATED: No more Drawing Ideas? How To Get Inspired!
What You Can Do About It: Step Away From Art For
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 Wan t)
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:
Let art professionals show you their tips and tricks! There are thousands of great drawing classes on Skillshare. They can improve your skills faster than ever. You can get 2 months for free here.
CHECK OUT: What Actually Makes A Drawing “Good”?
Reason #3: You Haven’t Been Practicing Right Or
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 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!