As an artist, it’s natural to go through ebbs and flows of feeling like your work is awesome, and feeling like your art is…maybe…not so awesome. I’ve experienced this many times myself. If you’re in one of those periods where you feel like your art is lacking and getting worse, is there anything you can do?
There are any number of reasons why you could feel like your art is getting worse.
Maybe you haven’t practiced in a while.
Maybe you’re trying a new art technique that’s unfamiliar and challenging.
Maybe your art is just feeling wonky.
I’ve been there. There are times when I feel like my art skills are going in the wrong direction and everything I create feels…blah.
Here are some tips I’ve used whenever I feel like my art is getting worse to get back to that “my art is awesome” place!
1. Identify 1 Skill to Work On
If you feel like your art is getting worse, it’s easy to think of it universally, when that’s often not the case. Instead of all of your art getting worse, it’s more likely that there are certain skills that need to be improved.
This happens to me all of the time. I’m working on a piece of art and suddenly start feeling like my art is getting worse. It feels like nothing I draw looks good.
If I really think about it though, it’s not that all of my art is getting worse. Maybe I’m currently struggling with getting the texture of the fur just right, or the shape of the eyes is a little off, or the shading on the nose needs adjusting.
Identifying certain skills to work on is more practical and actionable than universally thinking that my art is worse and not knowing what to do about it.
Try to identify certain art skills that you want to work on. As artists, we always have areas to grow, develop, and improve. That’s part of the fun of it!
You may have multiple skills you want to work on. That’s awesome! Choose one skill to focus on. By choosing just one skill, this will give you a focus and action plan.
2. Practice the 1 Skill You Identified
Now that you have identified the skill you want to work on, practice it regularly.
Make it your goal to practice, practice, practice that one skill you want to improve upon.
For example, if I want to work on drawing eyes, I’ll draw a bunch of eyes. The end result is a little creepy but, hey, it’s for the sake of my art.
This gives me a lot more practice with drawing eyes than my regular art would. If I’m drawing a portrait of a dog, I’m only drawing two eyes. That’s only two chances to practice everytime I draw a portrait.
By focusing on eyes specifically, I can have a LOT of chances to practice that my regular art routine wouldn’t allow.
Spend some time practicing the one skill you identified and see if it helps address the issue you were having with your art that was making you feel like it was getting worse.
After you feel confident with the first skill, feel free to focus on other skills, one at a time. Intentional practice of each skill, one at a time, can go a long way in building and improving your art skills overtime.
3. Appreciate Your Art Skills
Personally, when I feel like my art is getting worse, it’s hard for me to focus on all of the ways that my art has gotten better.
Sure, practice is important. Without intentional practice, it’s natural for skills to waver. That’s why practicing specific art skills can be so helpful.
For me, practicing isn’t the entire story though. I like to take some time to appreciate my art journey.
When I feel like my art is getting worse, I challenge myself to throw away the idea of “better or worse” altogether and think of it as a beautiful adventure.
Mistakes, imperfections, successes, missteps, triumphs, and more. They all matter and make my art meaningful.
If you don’t spend enough time appreciating your art skills, give it a try. Sometimes, appreciating the journey and building confidence is an important part of art.
4. Take a Break and Have Fun
Sometimes, when I feel like my art is getting worse, I just need to take a break and have some fun with my art.
When we care so much about our art, it’s easy to take it seriously and nit pick every little detail. This doesn’t look right; that looks wrong; there’s so much to work on!
When this happens to me, I like to take a deep breath and put aside my art project for a little bit. Instead, I pull out some art supplies, or start a new Procreate canvas, all for the purpose of having fun.
There’s something about having fun that’s refreshing, rejuvenating, and downright…fun!
If you feel like your art is getting worse, it’s ok to step back from it so that you can reconnect with how much you enjoy art. You can always come back to your art project later.
Spend some time creating art you enjoy without worrying about how “good or bad” it is. Have fun and create art for the sake of enjoying it.
Reconnecting with why you love art in the first place can be helpful if you feel like you’re in an art slump.
Diana has been an artist for over 26 years and has training in drawing, painting, digital drawing and graphic design. Diana’s latest obsession is digitally drawing with Procreate and creating t-shirt designs with Canva. Diana has experience selling her art across a number of platforms and loves helping other artists learn how to make money from their art as well.