I was unpacking some of my art supplies the other day and came across a bunch of different sketchbooks. I don’t know about you, but when I was in elementary school all the way through high school, I did NOTHING but draw. Every. Single. DAY. I really enjoyed going through my old sketchbooks because the drawings were more complete. Most of them were colored and I could tell a lot of love went into each sketch, colored or not.
I then found a few sketches I did about 6 years later and while I saw growth, I was disappointed because that same love and attention didn’t seem to be in the drawings anymore. I had also hoped over 6+ years I’d be much better. I got a little frustrated and put the sketchbooks aside. I couldn’t help but wonder why I didn’t become extremely better in 6+ years and why my drawings no longer had that feeling of love in them. Obviously, there was growth but not as much as I hoped.
After a little thought, I realized that somewhere in college I stopped making art for fun. I LOVED drawing my favorite characters from anime, live action shows, and game characters. But I also remembered that cartoons and comics were not seen as real art in college. I felt ashamed sometimes when I’d draw cartoons instead of something else…anything else. I also stopped drawing daily about that time. Which I can conclude is why I didn’t improve as much as I would have wanted over 6+ years; I stopped practicing! I let others tell me what was art. I became ashamed by what I was drawing, then discouraged, and didn’t draw as much anymore.
My best advice for any artist out there is to not let others tell you what is and isn’t art. Keep drawing, painting, or creating what drives you. If you let others dictate “what is art,” you can loose your drive and passion. If this has already happened to you, I challenge you today to make what you consider art. Also, don’t beat yourself up if you’re not improving as fast as you like. We all grow, learn, and change at difference paces. 🙂