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  • Writer's pictureMeg

How to find an artist within yourself

Updated: May 28, 2021

Primarily, I wanted to write about how forcing yourself to draw or write or do whichever artsy activity you do can work magic. Because it really does. When I sit at my desk and decide that here and now, I will sketch something, I shouldn’t expect great results really. I often don’t even know what to draw, how to start or even which tools to use. But as long as you are drawing, you are getting better at it. This is why the idea of challenges like Inktober are awesome. The inventor of Inktober, Jake Parker, every October comes up with 31 drawing prompts for people to draw with ink. Were my Inktobers good? Absolutely not. They were awful. I hid them somewhere and I don’t remember what I’ve drawn anymore (which is good, otherwise I would probably be quite traumatised). And I still think it was a great experience. Inktober forces you to be unafraid, to draw without thinking about the consequences. You are bold, like the lines of ink you draw, you are brave and confident, you don’t need an eraser, because no matter what you draw should stay with you forever as a reminder that growth is a process and as an artist, you are growing with every sketch.

Yes, it most certainly is good to force yourself a bit sometimes. That’s the best way to progress and improve as an artist. At the same time, it would be hypocritical of me to write an entire article about the greatness of doing challenges like Inktober while I myself have by far only done three or four days of it in a row. I shouldn’t really write a handbook on how to motivate yourself if I can’t do it myself. But there are things both you and I can do without feeling exhausted or emotionally drenched for putting too much pressure on ourselves.

The first step would be getting a sketchbook and understanding the purpose of it. This is not for creating masterpieces, not for showing others what you can do with a pen. A sketchbook is for you. It’s for making mistakes, learning from them; it’s for doodling the ugliest drawings possible; it’s for trying new techniques or drawing things you’ve never drawn before. If you like what you’ve created you CAN show it to others, but you never HAVE to. It’s your sketchbook and its sole purpose is to help you grow as an artist. A small tip from me: it does help when you like your sketchbook. You can buy one with a pretty cover or customise it so that it’s nice to look at, so that you genuinely WANT to use it. Also, smaller sketchbooks have the advantage of being less overwhelming (and you’re able to carry them everywhere and trust me, life sketches from coffee shops or parks are an amazing experience).

Try to teach yourself that creating is not only something you should do when you feel inspired. Try to make it your go-to free time activity. You don’t always have to watch tv or read, there are other things to do! Don’t wait for an amazing idea to come, wait until you have a few free minutes. Make art a full-time hobby, try different techniques, get yourself a new paint set you always wanted to try, sign up for a sculpting course. Art is an endless source, try to discover as much of it as you can. I used to only sketch with pencils. Then I tried coloured pencils, and then pens. When it comes to paint, I started with tempera, then got a box of oils from my aunt. When I got the hang of it (at least more or less) I tried watercolours, next in line is gouache. Don’t be discouraged- every new technique does require some practise but I promise, it also brings loads of satisfaction when you get it.

My final advice would be: love what you do. It sounds so clichéd but it’s because it’s important to know it. Make sure you are happy when you create; force yourself to do it more often but not too much! I want you to fall in love with art and creativity at first sight. Take them on a date, buy them a new sketchbook. But don’t put pressure on yourself. If normally you draw a small cat or a tree once a month on average, don’t expect yourself to all of a sudden start drawing daily. I really wouldn’t want you to start hating art because of it.

So, to summarise it all, turning yourself into an artist isn’t very difficult. Maybe just… put your favourite paint set or a nice sketchbook on sight and try to remember that art is everywhere around us. Catch it, capture it and be creative with that!


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