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.
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.