I’ve started my drawing class. Drawing is proving much more emotional than I expected. I’m swamped with anxiety whenever I pick up my pen or even think about picking it up. I keep drawing shaky lines because my hand is quivering. I don’t know where this fear is coming from. I hope I can work through it, get past it, and reach a point where drawing is fun again. I remember loving to draw when I was little, but I’ve lost the ability to enjoy myself as I’m drawing.
In discussions with my online drawing class, I talked with another student about my frustration at not being able to draw “what I see”. That what I draw doesn’t look as I intended it to look is a more accurate statement. I said I hoped with more practice, I would master this skill.
The teacher made a comment that cut to the heart of things: maybe I will master drawing, maybe I won’t. I should just explore the world of drawing. Experiment and see what happens. Find out what kind of artist I am, instead of setting standards for my work based on the art I’ve been exposed to all my life.
I hated reading that, because he is absolutely right. I need to let go. My expectations are just getting in my way. They are part of the reason my heart is racing when I draw. Though I can’t hear it, my nagging Inner Critic is whispering in my ear that I am wasting my time. My drawing will never be as good as it “should” be. Letting go of how it should look will free me up to enjoy how it does look.
But the thought of letting go of my expectations also makes me sad. I want a sketchbook full of pencil studies that look like a page by Da Vinci. But I am not Da Vinci. There is a human element to making things by hand. Our personalities intervene. Our way of seeing the world plays into the work, as does our physical being. My nerves influence my drawing as my mind does. If my hand is shaking, I’m going to get some wobbly lines. I’m not in control of everything that goes into the drawing. While all of it comes from me, some of it is beyond me.
I can choose what I think. I can think that I am just drawing to see what happens. I am looking at something and translating it to the page. The goal is to find my visual language, the lines I make to describe what I see, not to copy someone else’s style, or even to meet someone else’s standards.
Writers talk about finding their voice. Voice comes by writing, writing, writing. My visual voice is going to come from drawing, drawing, drawing. I just need to keep picking up that pen.
Have you had to change your vision for your creative work in order to do it? How do you get out of your own way in order to create?