Old Masters Academy

Do you have a fear of drawing?

Do you have a fear of drawing?

How to overcome a fear of “ugly” drawing and why you should have a secret sketchbook


natalie-richy-artist-ageMy personal experience
Article by Natalie Richy

When you buy a sketchbook, you visualize your future drawings filling up its pages. Undoubtedly in your mind they are as beautifully executed as those fast, effortless sketches of the Masters. All you need is just a few virtuoso strokes to capture the essence of the character or an object. Or maybe, if you do everything more diligently and try a bit harder, you’ll create something similar to Michelangelo’s preparatory drawings for the Sistine Chapel.

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Michelangelo’s elaborately executed preparatory drawing. He probably didn’t have any fears at all : )

Then reality hits. Your sketches somehow don’t look like Leonardo’s and Michelangelo’s. They are not even close to those living guys you follow on Instagram. Oh gosh, now your sketchbook looks ugly! There is nothing you can show to your friends!

If you pressure yourself for perfection in sketching, you will subconsciously avoid making any attempt at all. Why bother to overcome your delicate feelings if you have tried already and haven’t managed to succeed? Naturally, it’s easier to do nothing and find various reasonable-sounding excuses to quit.

There is a popular self-delusion that if you are a good artist, then whatever you do should look like a nice, finished work, even a sketch.

Sketches are not expected to be independent, self-sufficient works of art; they might be but shouldn’t be by default.

The primary purpose of sketching is rough visualization of your creative ideas, or a way of depicting the location or catching the characteristic features of an object. Sketches, like writers’ notes, are usually done for themselves. They are visual thoughts. They are rough and fast, often disposable. In no case are obliged they to be beautiful and well-executed. They are like thoughts in your head—no one expect that a single flash of thought in your brain should sound like a Shakespearean sonnet.

Striving for perfection was my long-lasting habit. It took shape in a formula that if I paint or draw anything, I should do it perfectly – even if it is just a sketch. Thanks to that erroneous mindset, I quit sketching altogether. The occasional sketches I did I tried to polish and complete to make them look like decent artworks. Thus I missed the chance to sharpen my imaginary drawing skills by creating many “ugly”, disposable sketches.

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Sketching in one of my private “secret” sketchbooks. Nope! Not going to show any of my chaotic visual brainstorming – the sketches will be embodied later in new oil painting compositions. A fear of drawing disappears.

Now I‘ve completely changed my approach and do a lot of loose sketches for my own use, to exercise or just for pleasure.

Many sketches I do are my visual thoughts that are not supposed to be shown to anyone. Others can be framed like completed artworks (like the one below).

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Not a sketch any more, rather a preliminary drawing for a future composition.

There is no need to produce a masterpiece every time you take up a pencil. Otherwise you can earn an unhealthy relationship with art. Calm down and allow yourself to enjoy the artistic process without pressure, at least in sketching.

Tip:

A sketch is a rough visualization of your ideas, a quick snapshot from nature or just an exercise with the aim of gaining experience.

Do not press yourself to be a Leonardo in each sketch you do. Sketch for yourself. Fill up your sketchbooks with “ugly” sketches.

I know that I was not alone in my “phobia of drawing”. You can share your story with us and also show us some pages from your sketchbooks.

Click here to tell your story. (It might be published on this website.)

Now, when you know that there is no reason to be afraid of drawing, you can join the Web Art Academy course! And at last let’s draw together! : )

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Web Art AcademyTo Your Creative Success,
Natalie Richy and Vladimir London
Web Art Academy Founders

Categorized: Natalie Richy on Art
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This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Jasmin Jahanbakhsh says:

    Fantastic article, Natalie! Hope to read a lot more of these in the future as your notes are very inspiring.

  2. Sigmar Reynisson says:

    Great article. It certainly calmed me down a lot. I realised that I am truely a toddler in drawing, and that I and other people should recognize that and not redicule it. I must not fear that. A secret sketch book is a great idea when confidence is low.

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