Art Slump. Next stop: Drawing frenzy.

If you are an artist of any kind, you’ll know this feeling. Suddenly nothing works. Everything you draw turns out like crap. You longingly think back to those wonderful days – maybe just two weeks ago – when everything you touched just magically turned out brilliant.

Welcome to Art Slump!

I go through those about twice a year. It’s become easier in recent years as I’ve found faith in the fact that these things pass. All of their own accord without you doing anything. Most often in recent years, the slump happened at times when I didn’t have time to draw anyway. And the funny thing is: Just wait for that slump to pass. You don’t even have to actually draw fifty crappy pictures before the next one turns out fine. You can just not draw them, wait a week or month, and bang! There you are.

The tragic thing is when an art slump catches you in the one week of the entire year where you have unlimited time to draw and loads of ideas. Which was last week. And nothing, literally nothing worked, as no less than six ripped-up Maglors in the dustbin can attest. (In all likelihood, they’re sitting there like the late princes of Stormhold from Stardust, discussing my failures.)

I’ve had a lot of lively discussions with fellow artists over the years, and it’s always a small consolation to find that you’re not alone with this. It’s not only that you’re not alone, you’d be a complete oddity if it did not happen to you.

A wonderful artist, Marc Dalessio, has put this into a very candid graph that is to true I couldn’t believe it when I first found it. It says that every artist’s perception of his own skill meanders around his actual progress, resulting in times where he’s completely in the flow and everything works, and those other times, where he feels he’s going backwards and whatever he touches turns to… well, you know. The reverse Midas touch. It happens because your ability to see improves faster than your actual skill, you know you want it to look like that, and you just can’t get it to.

(c) Marc Dalessio.

So, if you know this feeling and feel frequently down because of it, take a look at this graph and take heart. It’ll be over soon. And pray that the holidays don’t end before the curve picks up speed.

7 thoughts on “Art Slump. Next stop: Drawing frenzy.

  1. With photogs it morphs to being utterly bored with your own photography. The photo-a-day dictum becomes helpful: If you can’t find anything interesting to photograph, then find something ordinary and try to take an interesting photograph.

  2. Hi Jenny!
    Your sketch of Maglor by the waves made me want to draw Maglor by the waves too. The problem is that I gave up on drawing about 4 years ago, that was actually the first time I’ve put my hands on drawing again. My sketch obviously turned out shitty, but anyway it turned out to be important to me; I’m planning to finish it and paint/color to fix it in my room. :)
    Hope that your muses come back to your hands in a short time. Who knows if seeing that even passing through a bad phase you can make someone useless for drawing sit to draw again after some years doesn’t cause some willingness in them? I’m hoping to see you wonderful art in soon. Namastë.

  3. That image of 6 somewhat ephemeral Maglors just cracked me up: presumably they’d all have different ghastly rents where you’d attacked them?

  4. I always find it happens when I have no work and I’ve got lots of time and have planned to work on my own stuff. On the other hand, it can also happen when I’ve got masses of work and feel way behind. I normally just have to walk away, do something completely non-arty and come back to it. Forcing the sketch never works for me

  5. I had a professor that said for every two steps forward you take in improving, you always take one step back. Like the ebb and flow of a wave.

    I find when I get like this, I always kick back faster by taking a couple of “me” days to recharge (but not too many), and then I sit down and have a planning session. The planning session jumpstarts me to start my work again the following day.

  6. Pingback: Es wird ein Hase, 5 1/2 Jahre später… | Till Felix' Allerlei

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