Stuck in a rut with depression where I'm unable to draw. Looking for advice, if possible

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This topic contains 5 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by S Uw Ucidal 3 weeks ago.

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    Depression's finally got to the point where it's made drawing tedious and near-impossible. I'm unable to pick up a pencil and draw; when I am able to, I'm not learning anything the way I used to. It's frustrating. I no longer find any joy in drawing and am stuck, which is difficult because it is something I have a deep passion for. I don't really know where to go from here. I love drawing, more than anything else, yet it's something that has become impossible to do. I get frustrated when I draw, and more often than not, it seems like I even get more depressed. Which is yet another thing that keeps me from drawing.

    I know this isn't a forum for mental health, but if anyone here has gone through roughly the same thing and can share advice, or their experience, I'd be more than grateful. Losing something I love to something I can't control is hard, especially when I'm at a time in my life where I need to use drawing as a method to cope.

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    Hello and good morning, S Uw Ucidal, and welcome to Line of Action, I'm Polyvios, and how are you doing today?

    Say, to answer your question, I think that you sound way too harder on yourself, but I feel that you could try loosening up your drawing basics again, if you really haven't already. How about trying out our interactive drawing tutorial on this website right here within a link.

    The reason why you should and would go ahead with this is because, if you wanted to learn and relearn the basics of gesture drawing, then bring it on!

    For even more than enough info, please be sure to download a free PDF of the Vilppu Drawing Manual, which, to my knowledge, is the more than foundational skill in life drawing and drawing in general. Good luck from all of us to you.;)


    Afraid I don't have much advice for you, but I'm also deeply frustrated due to a different underlying issue and really sympathize.

    Can you pinpoint where you're frustrated? Are you working mostly digitally or traditionally? If it's the former, it might help to just grab a sketchbook and go at it with whatever practices you can (though I also understand being too frustrated to practice, since that's where I've been) instead; allowing yourself to "waste" paper can be kind of hard to accept, but it does get you doing something, however small (I stopped when I got frustrated, as long as I had just one page done). Really quick, easy, no-energy-required exercises if you can, or watching people talk about art if you can't with videos / etc.

    You may also just be burned out and need a break, or to let those creative muscles stretch a different way (if you play games, I find ones like Minecraft or Animal Crossing where you're still generally pursuing creative endeavors can really help; if not, are there other things you can use to express what you want?). Which - full disclosure, I find "take a break" to be slightly exhausting advice myself, I went through art school and breaks were practically sacrilegious - but they do work.


    I've been going through something similar to you for a while now. A complete and utter block towards art and drawing that's not actually caused by something relating to art, but rather, mental health. I have had panic attacks when I've tried to draw a few times because of the intense, originless anxiety that would consume me. When art is a comfort, it's difficult when it feels like it's being taken away by something completely outside your control. If anything, it feeds into even more negative emotions and it becomes a self-feeding cycle.

    The best thing for this (that you can do by yourself, anyway) is self forgiveness, which I understand is easier said than done. It's easy to give grace and understanding to a friend struggling with this kind of thing, but it's not so easy to give that same kindness to yourself. Especially when dealing with a monster like depression that might be saying you don't deserve it or there's no point. Try to give yourself that kindness regardless though. You very clearly care about your art, otherwise you wouldn't be here seeking advice. You want to continue improving and creating despite what you're going through. That's admirable, and it's not your fault that you're struggling with it. It's the depression.

    However, if it has become this difficult, I think a form of self forgiveness you can give yourself is to let go of trying to improve right now, as hard as it is to do that. Not forever, just temporarily. If it feels like everything you draw right now sucks, then ok. If you're like me and a little bit of spite helps lift your mood, you can purposely draw art you think looks aweful. Basically, try to find a way to draw without any expectations. If it looks amazing, cool. If it looks like a five year old holding a pencil for the first time, cool. Just be proud that you picked up your pencil today (or whatever art implement you use). If you can't even do that today, that's cool too. You tried. Be proud of that, and understand that the fact you tried even when you feel like this is amazing in itself. When you feel a bit better, you'll be able to do more. Look forward to that.

    As I mentioned, I've been dealing with this myself. Actually, I've been struggling with coming to terms with the fact that I'm disabled and sometimes just can't do what I love or even need to because of it for a while now. It's infuriating to be staring my notebook with a pencil in hand and not even be able to lay a mark down because of reasons outside my control. It's infuriating to not be able to fill sketchbooks like I did in high school. It's difficult to not feel like "I'm just not trying hard enough" and "everyone else can do it, why can't I" even as I spend hours doing just that. Trying. That's why self forgiveness is so, so important when dealing with this. It's a skill that needs to be learned and built upon, just like how we build up our understanding of the human body with figure drawing. Keep working on it. I'll be here, working on it too.


    Mysty Nyx... thank you. I cried a little reading what you wrote. I.. really wish I could actually express how helpful your response was. I relate to so much of what you've described of your own struggles. And I wish you heartfelt luck in your own journey. Though I guess we both know it's not easy in the slighest, haha... I'll take your advice to heart. Thank you, again.

    And Polyvios, and icouldntthinkofaname, thank you for your responses and advice as well. Your advice is just as helpful, and I'll do everything i can to put what I can into practice. This has been an incredibly constructive thread for me. I honestly didn't think I'd get such kind, helpful responses when initially starting the thread. It truly means a lot.

    Sorry, hope this doesn't come across as grossly over-emotional, lol. I just really appreciate the help.

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