People have written a lot of touchy-feely pieces on this subject but I thought I’d get right to the heart of the matter
My advice for losing passion or drive is kinda different than most my friends so take that with a grain of salt, but I can only say what’s worked for me: Make yourself work. Doesn’t matter what you’re working on, don’t let yourself sit around not doing anything. You don’t have to take on, like, your opus or anything… but you need to be doing something with your art. You need to make a project, and hold yourself accountable for finishing it. Even if it looks like trash or its a failed experiment, its okay to make bad stuff. You learn from making bad stuff. Just keep your hands busy, keep your brain busy.
If I waited for when I felt my “groove” or had passion for it, I’d probably be out of a job because there was a 3 month period not long ago when I was burnt out and tired of drawing/writing, but I had to cuz its my job. I did good work I was proud of, regardless of being in my groove. I just had to find a motivation that wasn’t passion for those 3 months… which turned out to be “fear of not getting paid” and “refusing to drop quality.”
I am not of the opinion people should only work when they feel inspired. Sometimes, you just have to do it. You have to sit down and work. You have to find a reason to keep going at it during the times when the passion isn’t there, cuz the passion will not always be there.
like I said, take my advise with a grain of salt. This is what’s worked for me and how I function.
This is very good advice.
I also find that it can help to do a *different* kind of art to build up your groove. I got burned out on digital art after I had 3 big projects plus working full time in a one-month span, so I took a break from photoshop and did a lot of mixed media arts & crafts. I had another friend take up glassblowing when she lost her passion for jewelry-making.
"Ahh your art is great, you’re a natural!"
Nah son it’s just years of practice and hard work.
"Oh my gosh you have a natural talent!"
NAH SON IT’S JUST YEARS OF PRACTICE AND HARD WORK.
"You have a gift!"
"No, really! There’s no way I could draw like that, no matter how long I tried!"
Not with that attitude.
I just don’t get it when people say they don’t have the “talent” for art.
Because i feel like that shows a lack of understanding how much work people put into their crafts. I mean, yes it possible to be unable to do something— a tone deaf person probably won’t be a good musician. But a colorblind person can be a painter. It basically comes down to finding your weaknesses and practicing until they’re no longer a weakness (for me, that was the ability to draw hands), drawing in such a way as to hide that weakness (when I couldn’t get a handle on body proportions I would just draw portraits of people’s faces), or emphasize that weakness to the point of satire to show you’re not afraid, which is another way of turning a weakness into a strength (like I couldn’t paint with smooth brushstrokes so I would full on impressionist paint splotch that shit).
It’s work, hard work and requires a lot of patience and practice but you can get there. ‘There’ being the place where you can look at something you’ve created and go “Hey… that’s actually pretty good.”
But for you to draw a picture— without any training, without having practiced recently (which, let me show you some of the h̶o̶r̶r̶o̶r̶s̶ things that I’ve drawn after not drawing at all for 6+ months…) and when you don’t like how it turns out, you decide that means you don’t have the talent for it.
What, do you think artists come out of the womb with perfect skills? We don’t. Some very very few artists are naturally talented— that 16 year old classmate you had that could do photo-perfect portraits, maybe— but they’ll never advance past ‘good’ into ‘great’ without practice and hard work.
That’s what it takes to be an artist. They have these sayings:
1% inspiration and 99% perspiration
20% talent and 80% hard work
and my favorite
10% luck, 20% skill, 15% concentrated power of will,
5% pleasure, 50% pain, and 100% reason to remember the name
These sayings exist for a reason.
If you’ve got other things you want to dedicate your time to, and that’s fine. That’s good, even. We should do the things we enjoy! But if art is something you admire, something you aspire to, I don’t understand why you’ve written off even trying.
Maybe it’s laziness— because I don’t know how many times I can emphasize that, for art, hard work and dedication means more than talent could ever aspire to.
Maybe it’s a fear of failure. If you don’t try, no one can say that you didn’t succeed? Except that art isn’t something you “win” at. You measure your success by improvements made.
20 years ago I was drawing stick figures and balloon people.
10 years ago I was drawing above-the-waist anime portraits with mismatches eyes and faces always in 3-quarters perspective.
5 years ago I could only draw people standing or sitting in rigid, awkward poses, and what are backgrounds anyway?
I’m still working on the backgrounds but at least I think about them now. And my hands and faces are rad.
I say it again: You measure your success by improvements made. Not by holding up your art to someone else’s dubious standard. Like a swimmer races against their previous best time, an artist works to make each piece of art better than the last one they made.
So maybe you tried to draw a dude in a tuxedo and you think it looks like balls.
I say unto you, look at pictures of tuxedos and tutorials of how to draw suits and pictures of dudes in suits and maybe youtube videos of guys in suits walking down a catwalk so you can see how the pieces fit together. And your next drawing of a dude in a suit will look better.
That’s succeeding at art. That’s being an artist. It has little to nothing to do with “talent.”