Hitting a wall in drawing

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This topic contains 3 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Sarosna 9 years ago.

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    Hello everyone, I'm new to this site altough I have used the practise tool before.

    A bit of background first: I'm a 28-year old woman who started drawing again after not having drawn actively for 10 years. I've been drawing almost every day for a year and a half now. I've improved a lot since I first started but now recently I feel like I've hit a wall. I only draw animals but lately I've really struggled with anatomy and fluent poses. I have major issues with consistency and I don't really know what is the most comfortable way to construct a character.

    I've tried drawing from a stick figure, drawing by using basic shapes, animation drawing, copying from my favorite animated series', drawing from photos etc. I just feel major frustration majority of the time. I was doing fine for a while when using photos. You can see some of those drawings here:

    Now during the past few days, I feel like my drawing skills have vanished. I don't know if this is one of those "improvement waiting to happen moments" or if I'm simply overthinking. Would gesture drawing help me as much as people say it would? I tried to do some 30 second sketches and I only got frustrated. My drawings looked crooked and nothing but a big bundle of mess. How does this teach me about anatomy?

    Granted, I'm feeling somewhat depressed and distressed right now. My work is starting to really mess up my private life. I'm being pestered all the time and I have to do extra shifts. It's hard to draw when I can't concentrate and relax in peace.

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    Hi Sarosna, welcome to the site!

    I'm sorry to hear you've been so frustrated with your art. :( I can sympathize with feeling depressed and stressed out, I know what it's like.

    The first thing I can recommend is to take a breather, step back for a couple of days and try again when you're feeling perkier. It can be hard to focus and feeling like you've failed with your drawings probably makes you feel worse.

    Now on to your art. :) I have to say your drawings are quite adorable! Foxes always look really happy to me and I think you captured that happiness really well! Love the drawings you did so far.

    The problems you're facing might be because you're spending too little time on one technique or style and move on to a different one too fast. How long have you stuck with a certain way of building the characters before trying something else? We naturally progress and try out different things as we go along, but moving too fast means you don't have a chance to adjust to it, and the new technique repeats the cycle all over. It could be causing a loop of disappointments in your own eyes.

    I recommend finding something that appeals to you the most and stick with it for an extended period of time, preferably a couple of months at least. Even if it doesn't meet your expectations, try to push through that and keep going. We're often too critical of ourselves and see the images as far worse than they really are, but after a while we look bad and think "That wasn't nearly as bad as I remember it being". That might just be the boost you need!

    "How does this teach me about anatomy?"
    The 30 second gestures are meant to help you break down the body into basic shapes: a dynamic line (following the spine, always a C curve, never an S curve) with the head, rib cage, hips and joints placed on it. Although these articles refer to human anatomy, the idea is the same for animals:




    Recognizing the basic shapes in an animal and starting off with these 30 second gestures makes for good foundations. You capture motion and build on the motion before anything else, you learn how to proportion your subjects in a few quick lines and it will become easier to create images in the long run.

    It also makes for an excellent warm up before you start on bigger drawings, getting you into the right state of mind and loosening up your hand and wrist. :)

    I'm about to do a quick drawing session with someone else, I will try to do a couple of 30 second animal gestures to show you how it looks like in my practice sessions!


    Thank you so much for your helpful post and the feedback on my drawings :) You already made me feel a lot better.

    You're right about abandoning things too quickly. I liked the "basic shape animation building" at first but I've started to realize that it's very difficult to use for more advanced drawings. As a kid, I used the skeleton method. Marking the head, ribcage and pelvis with a circle and then building the legs etc. around it. It's a bit harder to build details on it but I should probably use that method since it will be more natural in the long run. It also works far better for gestures.

    When I was in my early teens I was really into Lena Furberg's art.

    She used the skeleton and circles method and I think I did pretty well with it considering I was only 11 years old at the time.

    I've read the articles before and they are very helpful. The digitrate legs on animals sometimes make things rather diffucult but it just takes a lot of practise I think.

    Some work stuff resolved itself last night so I'm feeling a lot better now. I know I should calm down and not stress and obsess so much as a whole.

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