Are you trying too hard?

Burnout is a thing. The daily grind when you are trying to improve your art can take a significant toll on your mental health, so every now and then it’s a good idea to stop, take a break, and reassess where you are.

You might need a break from art

You might need to take a break from art

In previous articles, we saw what to do if you don’t feel like drawing, and talked about overcoming the “My drawing sucks” phase. However, if these feelings linger for too long, it might be a sign that you are burned (or burning) out.
This is very unlikely to happen if you draw occasionally as a hobby, but if art is your focus and you’ve been trying to hammer down your weaknesses for some time, or simply have been rather constant at it, then burnout is a possibility.

When you are burned out, not only you don’t feel like doing art any more, but the sole idea of engaging in the activity makes you sad or irritated. Your self-criticism increases, you don’t like anything you do, and to make matters worse, you just don’t have any more ideas on what to draw. Heck, you can’t even make yourself be productive in general.
You constantly feel like you’re not good enough, and really want to do something else.

Well, do.

Art should be a positive component of your life. While keeping consistent and embracing the challenge are necessary for growth, you don’t have to ruin yourself in this pursuit. So, if you need a break, take it.
Consciously choose not to draw or paint for a week, or a month, or even a year.

This might seem counterintuitive if you are trying to improve, because – yes – if you take a year-long break your skills might decrease a little bit. However, having gone through a burnout myself, I noticed the improvement in attitude towards what you do outweighs the slight loss of dexterity, which is in any case not so hard to recover.

Mind you: this must not be an excuse for being lazy.

If taking long breaks becomes a habit, then you should probably reconsider your priorities. Use a longer break to assess whether or not improving your art skills matters in your life more than other things, and structure your days accordingly. Use it to rediscover what made you fall in love with the craft in the first place, to get inspired by things you like.

If you then realize that art is indeed what you want to do, but see that you very easily burn out, you might want to try out different mediums, experiment with other subjects, or just reduce your drawing time every day.

Maybe you can’t run, but you can always walk. And walking is better than standing still.

Want more? Here are some ideas to get you started

Character Design Prompts

– Lunar Alchemist
– Celestial Sorceress
– Ghost Guardian

Creature Design Prompts

– Thunder Titan
– Astral Nymph
– Plague Creeper

Environment Design Prompts

– Bright Meadows
– Burned Village
– Crystal Canyon

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Artist of the week

Le Yamamura

Le is not very famous, but he certainly produced a number of impressive artworks in the world of creature design. Most notably, he published an awesome artbook a few years ago, and was featured in the 3dTotal “Fundamentals of Creature Design” book.


Monthly Challenge – Smaugust!

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