Left: Bulldog (Pentel Pocket Brush Pen and gouache), in a 9 x 12 inch Fabriano Venezia journal. In keeping with today's topic I'm showing you a sketch that has all sorts of "issues": value issues, old paint issues, contrast and center of interest issues; and drawing issues. But when I look at this sketch I don't focus on them except to say, "Here's something to fix at the eye because this angle doesn't work, or these three spots are where I need to have more contrast to make that pop." In this way I can take all the learning from this drawing forward, instead of getting hung up on what didn't work in the sketch. I'm ready to get right back to work and have another go. Click on the image to view an enlargement.
I've written before about how important it is to talk constructively and positively with yourself if you're going to talk to yourself about your artwork and creative ventures.
Well a while back a reader wrote in and described her drawing as "ordinary competence" and talked about her "egregious mistakes."
I only have my notes to go by, because I couldn't find the original post (much less the comment). But I did save my response because I knew I wanted to write to all of you about this. I see this tendency in my students all the time. If you did it in front of me I would comment on it. And tell you to "snap out of it."
My point today is that if we use those types of words (negative, dismissive, damning even) when we talk about our work, we tell our minds a message that feeds the internal critic. It's the fast track to a work stoppage.
So I'm urging you to participate in some vocabulary renewal!
When commenting on our art or creative endeavors it's best to use specific words that say things like, "his nose isn't long enough (short enough/wide enough)." Then we can actually see a way to fix things.
Always choose your words to help you find a way to fix things in your output. (Output here is anything creative.)
Hold your critical mind to specifics. Don't allow it to get away with, "that's not real looking," or something equally vague that hits at whatever your particular issue may be. Insist instead that your internal critic be allowed only to make comments that can be ACTED upon—so that the situation can be remedied.
You'll find competence, however you define it, will be must faster to come. So keep working on that tolerance for mistakes—what you are really working on is your tolerance for practice, growth, insight. It's easier to work on tolerance for those things because they are all positive. It leads immediately to more work, which is more practice. Try choosing your words consciously today.