A question we often ask ourselves, and a question people ask me often when in conversation about creativity, making art, and the regular habit of drawing is:
“…but what if the drawing doesn’t turn out the way it’s in my head?”
Can you relate to that question? If so – it’s probably not you asking that question, but the inner critic in your head that’s trying to scare you away from making art.
My response to that inner critic:
Oh you mean like… perfect?
I can promise you this: the drawing will not come out perfect. It just won’t. It can’t. You are going to make mistakes, and you will feel kind of insecure along the process. You will see flaws, even when others don’t see them. And that’s totally fine!
The flaws and the mistakes – those are what make your art interesting.
I’d rather look at a drawing with wonky lines or with proportions that got out of hand, than at a perfect reproduction of the subject.
Not so long ago, I used to make very precise and realistic drawings using color pencils. I enjoyed it a lot, because of the meditative effect of the techniques I used, but then I was influenced and inspired by so many artists whose styles I admire.
My creative horizon broadened and my skills expanded. My art just moved away from that realistic style. It evolved. As I was changing and growing as a person, so was my art.
I’d like to think that my art now looks bolder and more daring – and more interesting to look at. With much more of a story behind each drawing, partly because of the imperfections.
The beautiful thing about the creative process is that you’re not just using technical skills, but there’s a lot of emotion involved too. There’s a whole thought process going on while making creative decisions about choosing colors, adding more pen lines, and including or excluding certain shapes. With each (wonky) line that you put down on paper, you’re building a story – the story of your experience in, at and of that moment. You wouldn’t be able to reproduce it the next day, even if you wanted to; you’d be feeling completely different.
Your art is reflecting your feelings – not your skills or “talent” or whatever you want to call it.
Let curiosity push you
So when you catch yourself asking that ‘what if’ question above, maybe you can change the question into ‘what if I just dive in and make a drawing?‘ Aren’t you curious to see what’ll happen if you make that drawing right now?
Sure, it may not turn out the way it’s in your head, but if that stops you from even starting drawing, you will never know how it will turn out.
When you have the opportunity to make art, you should grab it! With one hand, so you can draw with the other.
You never know what’ll come out – and you might surprise yourself with the (imperfect) outcome!
Hi I'm Koosje. I'm an illustrator and art teacher in Amsterdam, where I was born and raised. I went to school to study graphic design, then worked for ten years as an award-winning professional photographer. But eventually my love of drawing and painting took over and I became an illustrator. My illustrations have been published in many Dutch magazines and in 2011, I began blogging and started developing and teaching online art classes. In 2014 I founded Sketchbook Skool, which is a flourishing community of artists from around the world of all skill levels. View all posts by Koosje Koene