It’s inevitable…

Some days you will do bad drawings.

Some days you will not find it fun.

Some days you will think “This is horrible, I’ve gotten WORSE”

I honestly believe that even the greatest artists of all time had these days. The trick is: We never see it. We only see the masterpieces they’ve created, and not the pile of canvases they stabbed through with a brush in frustration, or stacks of crumpled paper that have long been buried in the trash. We forget, and it’s very easy to do, that everyone has bad days. Then when WE have a bad day, it is “because we’re no good at this.”

You’re going to have bad drawing days. I hate it. You’ll hate it. It will happen. Mental fatigue and one of these reasons contribute to your bad day.

  • Maybe you’re not used to the texture of this paper. You haven’t found a ‘style’ of drawing that suits it yet.
  • Not controlling your pencils well enough on the paper.
  • Getting stressed and into a negative emotional state and deliberately messing up your drawings.
  • Overworking drawings so that they seem stiff and making a mess. Instead of taking your time and really observing.
  • Getting stuck on trying to fix small details, instead of working from a general loose whole.
  • Screwing up your proportions. Constantly going off the page. Lack of planning and layout.
  • Not leaving the drawing alone. Same as overworking. Just leave a line as it is and move on to the next. So getting the right tone the first time around is important.
  • Forgetting about structural basics. Drawing features first instead of anatomical structure.
  • Not enough exaggeration to the gestures. Forms look stiff as planks. 

How I personally deal with it, occasionally I’ll push through. I’ll keep drawing and try to get past whatever it is that isn’t working. I’ll try a different technique, or I’ll think about it differently. I’ll use nothing but curvy lines that go all through the figure, or maybe just straight lines. Anything to change it up. Sometimes it works, and a lot of times it’s just a bad day for the team of my drawing hand and brain. Some days I concede defeat and move on to something else. The most important thing is to never let that quitting become a habit. When you let a bad habit take over, it can be devastating, and you can end up finding years gone by wasted away.

If a drawing isn’t going well, I’ll leave it behind and stroll through the apartment or sit on the balcony for a few. When I come back, usually things look less dreary.

Good drawing day:

Bad drawing day: