Why Can’t You Draw Anymore?
Are you thinking of quitting drawing? Do you feel like ‘I can’t draw anymore’? Well, wait, the desperate you feel, the harder it becomes to draw. Calm down, the drawing is an exercise for a restless imagination. Every person, whether an artist or not, may have gone through a similar bottleneck situation.
For some people, drawing is a natural talent, but for others, it is a learned skill. Whatever category you fit in, the drawing should be pure fun.
Sometimes, it is natural to feel that you can’t draw today. But, some days things change and you may feel like getting back into drawing. This phenomenon is called a bottleneck. Just pure practice and motivation can bring back life in your drawing.
The reasons behind the question – “Why can’t I draw anymore?”
Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 Hour Rule says it needs 10,000 hours to master a skill. The rule describes that practice is the only key to become great at something. Anyone who spends that much hour practicing a skill intentionally will have a fair chance to be good at it.
Let us tell you what could be reasons behind not able to draw, be it after a long break or all of a sudden.
Out of practice due to long break
Haven’t drawn in years? When you take a long break from drawing due to any reason, it might be back-breaking to get back. You will feel like a novice. Your hand might not move flawlessly to draw something. To practice is crucial in anything.
If you don’t use your skill, there are chances you might lose it. When you stop practicing, you lose muscle memory. Your body will forget how to hold a pencil for an extended period or you might experience a spasm in your wrist when you restart drawing. All these can lead to being bad at drawing than before.
- Lack of practice or Ineffective practice
Why can’t I get better at art? Does this question linger on your mind a lot of times? The reason can be an ineffective practice. Out of practice and lack of practice are two different things. Lack of practice means you practice ineffectively and don’t give enough hours. Ineffective practice is something that is not focused, specific, and intentional. It leads you to nowhere even after spending extensive hours. Hence, frustrations out of not progressing can worsen your existing work.
- You neglected the Basics
The answer to the question “Why I can’t seem to do anything right?” could be because you are neglecting the basics. Practicing without focussing on the basics and techniques will not reap you any fruits. No matter how much you practice, if you do it without the correct technique, you will fail for sure.
You should have proper knowledge of fundamentals such as proportions, shading, anatomy, etc. You may be lacking one or many of the drawing skills such as understanding angles and lines, calculating proportions, interpreting shadows, and the ability to get all of them together. These can probably be one of the reasons you can’t draw well.
- You have reached the plateau
Many times it is the case that you have reached the plateau and can’t draw any more perfect. You know you can draw much better but don’t know how to get back into drawing the way you used to be. It is the sheer disappointment in yourself to not able to break the plateau that makes you desperate. And desperation makes things much harder. The weaker skill in you is overpowering and takes you to a place where the drawing isn’t fun anymore.
- You are distracted
Why don’t I feel creative anymore? When you start asking this question to yourself, it is most likely that you are distracted. You have no focus anymore. When you are not in the correct mindset, you feel lost. These distractions can be both external or internal. Eliminate all those distractions and stay focused. These will work wonders in being creative in your drawing.
- Pressure to perform
The pressure to perform can either be self-imposed or from peers. Putting too much pressure on yourself will only add stress. Taking unnecessary pressure to perform better than your previous art or your peers, may result in discouragement and dissatisfaction. Therefore, making it furthermore hard to perform even normally.
Tips to get back into drawing after a long break
We know what could be the possible reason to not able to draw anymore. Now what? How to get back into drawing? The answer is to find out the solution to this reason.
“In drawing, nothing is better than the first attempt.” – Pablo Picasso
The following are some tips which will help you in getting back to drawing after a long break:
- Hold the pencil, resume drawing
Work well began is work half done. Take that first step. Open your eyes to draw once more. Spend some time drawing every day for a week or so. Ignore all the imperfections.
No matter how bad you draw, focus on drawing. Get your feet wet. Do not judge. These will allow your mind to open up and you will get some practice.
- Focus on learning/revisit the basics
Brush up your knowledge a little. Revisiting the basics will give you more control and stability to guide the flow of the pencil. It will also give you the precision in a drawing.
Work on your forms, drawing in perspective (moving figures concept), anatomy, and composition. Next, work on value and lighting. All this will give a jump start to reach your original skill level.
- Burst the myth about the connection with the age
It is a myth that you are too old to start drawing. It is not a skill which you can develop only in childhood, but you can learn it at any age. Do not blame age for not being able to draw well. You can draw even at an old age if you practice hard.
- Do not be the harsh inner critic
Being a critic for yourself is always better. But stop being too tough on yourself. Learn how to tame your inner voice. This can be done by developing an awareness of your thoughts and examining them properly.
Always ask yourself what guidance would you give to your best friend and give the same to yourself. Being unkind to yourself will do no good. It will make things worse.
- Switch to looking mode
Shift from thinking mode to looking mode. Stop thinking and start observing around. Start drawing from what you perceive. When you think about things like what to draw, how to start drawing, etc. you will open up a hundred different options. You won’t be able to choose from these options and you will be back to square one. Instead, switch on your looking mode, hold a pencil, and let the hand do the magic.
- Change the subject matter
What happens sometimes is, when you keep on drawing on the same subject matter, you get bored. Out of boredom, you lose all interest and realize that drawing isn’t fun anymore. In such cases, try drawing with different styles or use some other medium like ink, graphite powder, pastels, crayons, etc.
Try drawing objects which you have not drawn before. Maybe a different surface to draw on will work the magic. Leave your comfort zone, let the spark within you rise again.
How to get motivated to draw again?
Now we know some of the reasons behind not able to draw anymore and tips to get back. The next question is how to get motivated. The following are the tips to stay motivated while getting back to drawing:
- Look for inspiration
Inspiration is the key. What is art without inspiration? Inspiration plays a vital role in getting creative and being motivated. Look out for inspiration. You can be inspired by nature or other artist’s work. Or it can be from your own experience, observation, and imagination. Do not force yourself, it will come out naturally.
- Look at your work
Restore your motivation from your previous drawings. It will always let you know you have done it before and you can do it now also. It will keep your spirits high.
- Seek inputs from others/ get social
Get into social media. You can search for art groups and join them. You can also show your work to other artist friends and seek inputs from them. All these will help you in learning further. Learning will improve your skills and get you further motivated.
- Fall in love with drawing again
Make yourself fall in love with drawing once more. Clear your mind from all the negativities that you can’t draw. Try different methods and techniques. These will allow you to explore more. Maybe you get comfort in some new styles and fall for drawing again. Loving what you do will always keep you motivated.
- Find a comfy spot
If you are in a place where you are uncomfortable or too much distracted, you will not be able to concentrate. These will lead to frustration and demotivation. Find someplace quiet and comfortable, which will help your mind relax. A relaxed brain is more productive when it comes to drawing. Comfort and motivation go hand in hand.
- Set goals
Set one goal at a time. For example, the first goal is – to draw simple drawings and then 2D drawings and then 3Ddrawings. These will help you move faster rather than setting higher goals that take more time to accomplish. Small goals are achievable in a short time. Hence, the feeling of achieving the goal will keep you motivated and work harder.
- Invest in quality supplies
It generally depends upon the artist how the drawing will come out – better or worse. However, it depends equally on the quality of supplies. The better the quality of the supplies the better the drawing will turn out to be. Hence, invest in the best quality tools and supplies like paper, pencil, colors, etc.
- Have patience
Can you write? If yes, you can draw too. Recall the time when as a kid it took practice and time to know how to write letters properly. It takes an equal amount of time and effort to draw, if not more. It is better to be patient while you are getting there.
You could be fundamentally wrong, practicing ineffectively or not at all, distracted or bottlenecked. Whatever the reason be, you need to revisit the basics with inspiration and motivation and debunk all your drawing myths.
When you are feeling low or demotivated, don’t ask the question “Why can’t I draw anymore?” but remember this quote by Vincent Van Gogh,
“In spite of everything, I shall rise again; I will take up my pencil, which I have forsaken in my great discouragement, and I will go on with my drawing.”