I think this predicament is common and that it’s something that many professional and hobby artists deal with and that yes, it does get easier in time but not with age (as we know when watching children sketch…They’re so darn carefree!). Something I have been dealing with for a long time is why, even though I love art and get inspired by nature and constantly look at other artworks and read various art books, I don’t draw and paint half as much as I should. Why all the procrastination? Why all the anxiety and fear at the beginning? What’s the deal brain, I thought this was what you wanted to do!
Silly brain…I think it’s just overwhlemed. By inadvertantly putting pressure on what i’m about to produce, my vision and thoughts that i’m going to capture by drawing, by judging it before i’ve even made a mark….I create a dream artwork before the real artwork even has a chance to begin to create itself and it will never match up to all the half formed ideas that are in my head, merging together.
I think the best thing to do when you’re scared to even start to sketch is to stop thinking of it as a finished piece of artwork and think of it as an exploratory journey. What am I looking at? What an interesting leaf! The way there is a rhythm going through all the branches is relaxing to look at, how does it look if I try to capture it with these kind of marks. Hm, not so good, i’ll make a note of that and remember it for the next sketch I do. How big are these leaves compared to the ones in the background? How will my mark-making change? How much space do they take up compared to the foreground leaves?
Knowing different drawing techniques is still a must, but sometimes we forget that they’re just advice to help us, things people have learnt in the past through trial and error and have passed along as a good way of achieving a particular task. As an artist, you’re allowed to have your own trial and errors and to find your own way of capturing things that you’ve discovered on your own exploratory journeys. The creative jumps and experiments that you make based on your own tastes and judgements help to create new processes.
So don’t be scared to start sketching, there isn’t a need for fear or anxiety here, just curiousity and a desire for discovery. Plus, you don’t have to show anyone if you don’t want to but it can fun to chat about your discoveries and errors with other artists. Share the journey you’re both on and laugh at things that didn’t go quite right but look kinda funny now…