As I’ve probably said before, if you’re serious about art and you practice regularly (and put your work online to keep yourself motivated) – then you’re going to produce “failed” pieces of work occasionally.
You’re going to produce terrible pictures, abysmally badly-drawn pictures, uninspired pictures and awful pictures. It happens.
Hell, it even happened to me when I was preparing tonight’s painting. Here’s a preview:
However, the most important thing isn’t that you’ve made a terrible picture – it’s what you do afterwards.
It’s perfectly ok to feel disappointed for a few minutes, especially if you’ve put some time into your “terrible” picture. But you’ve got to stop that disappointment from turning into despair.
Disappointment is a temporary thing which is a perfectly normal reaction to producing something crappy. Despair, on the other hand, is a much more drawn-out and chronic thing that can completely ruin your creativity for at least a few hours, days or even weeks if you aren’t careful.
So, how do you stop your disappointment from turning into a full-blown attack of despair? Here are three things that might help…
1) Take a look at some of the good stuff that you’ve produced in the past: Yes, if you’re feeling disappointed, then your first thought when you do this will probably be “I’ll never make something as good as that again” or “I was having a good day back then“.
The whole point of looking at your good stuff is to remind you that you are indeed capable of producing great stuff. Yes, you might have been having “a good day” then, but all this really means is that you’re having a bad day today – it will pass.
2)Try to learn from your terrible picture: Study your failed picture like a detective examining a crime scene and try to work out what went wrong.
It might be that the perspective is off, it might have been that you just didn’t have any good ideas when you started drawing, it might be that there isn’t enough interesting stuff in the background or it might just be that you need more practice at drawing something or someone.
Yes, this sounds like the kind of trite advice that you’ve probably heard a million times before – but there’s a reason why people say this all the time. And it’s not what you might think….
The real reason why it’s a good idea to study your failed pictures and work out where you went wrong isn’t really because it’ll help you learn new stuff but because it’ll make your feel like your failed picture wasn’t a complete loss.
In other words, even when you fail– you’ll still get something out of it.
3) Put it online anyway: Yes, you heard me correctly. If you don’t like putting your art online, then be sure to show it to someone in person.
This might seem like the last thing that you want to do – since you think that your picture is horrible. But, as I’ve said in another article, you can never quite predict how people will react to your work. In other words, some people might actually like your failed picture….
This happened to me in July with a painting of mine called “Brighton- Sunset Station”. I absolutely hated this painting and I considered it to be a complete failure – but, when I posted it on here, it got something like eleven “likes”, which is probably the most that I’ve ever got for one of my pictures.
And, if this doesn’t happen and people don’t like your failed picture – then, don’t worry. After all, you don’t like it either – so you can actually agree with your critics for once.
Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂