As someone who never found drawing fun, how do I learn to enjoy it?

1:56 AM, Thursday August 13th 2020

I've been working through Drawabox exercises for some time (I've recently posted my work on Lesson 1), and I've recently reread Lesson 0's content on learning to enjoy drawing. Unfortunately, I couldn't really relate to how it said "We enjoyed drawing as kids for fun, because we didn't care about the end result." I was one of those kids who saw they sucked, and quickly gave up on drawing.

So, I was thinking... Is there some other way I can learn to make drawing fun? I may be getting ahead of myself (I'm still learning to accept failure without letting it discourage me), but I'd still like to know. My thinking needs at least one shift, and I'd appreciate advice on making that happen.

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9:06 AM, Thursday August 13th 2020

I can really only offer my own perspective on this and everyone is different but maybe it will be helpful.

You have to figure out how to get in "the zone". That kind of headspace where you are very focused, time slips away, your mind stops flitting about, and you are just very zoomed in to whatever you're doing. You've probably experienced it before - with music or video games or a good book or a bike ride. That feeling is really rewarding and encourages you to go back; you have to figure out how to get there with drawing.

Draw without expectation or analysis. I can't tell you what kind of things to draw but try different stuff until you find what feels right. It could be abstract automatic drawing, or doodles or little cartoon portraits, or trees or literally anything as long as you don't tell yourself it has to look a certain way in the end. Personally I like to draw pages of flowers and then fill up the empty space with tight hatching, or I fill a page with random curving lines and then draw quick figure gestures over them.

Just consider every mark you put down a victory on the way to figuring out what kind of process you enjoy.

6:47 PM, Thursday August 13th 2020

That's a very good attitude to take :) I just need to find a way to condition myself into adopting it. Thanks!

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10:10 PM, Sunday August 16th 2020

Hey, I can't necessarily teach you how to have fun, but I have multiple theories as to why drawing isn't fun for you despite having a passion for it. I'll mix the word fun with enjoyment for simplicitys sake.

Skip to bottom for TLDR

First, let's establish the following:

A) There's Enjoyment

B) There's Goals

A) There's physical pleasure

B) There's mental pleasure

IMPORTANT:

The things that are enjoyable, do not necessarily have to fall in line with our goals.

Likewise, the things we hate doing can fall in line with our goals.

Physical pleasure is explained quickly.

Eating chocolate makes us feel physically good because of its taste, even if it doesn't align with our goal of losing weight.

What about mental pleasure though?

In my experience and observations, the things giving us mental pleasures (fun, joy etc) are formed by our past experiences.

Most importantly, SENSE OF ACHIEVEMENT

Things we succeed in give us pleasure. It can be internal or external achievement and praise.

Example:

Think about video games.

Playing video games is enjoyable for most people. There's generally four types of players imo:

a) Completionist

b) Competetive

c) Explorer

d) Builder

However, these players all share a sense of achievement they get when they

a) add a new piece or complete a collection

b) rise over other players

c) find new stuff

d) See their city (etc) taking shape and growing

Keep in mind games aren't actually easy. Think about how Dark Souls players keep playing despite dying over and over. Or how nerve wrecking a league came can be.

How do these game devs keep us coming back? How do they manage to make a challenging, complicated game fun? There's many examples. Dark Souls, Dwarf Fortress, Csgo, League etc

Games are the evidence that hard challenging things are and can be fun and enjoyable (atleast enough to cover the bad bits)

However, games are ingeniously designed.

I studied the most addictive games ( Wow, League etc) and this is what I found:

They have multiple small, medium and big goals to strive for. Short term, medium term and long term.

A Cs in League gives you a bit gold and XP, which leads you closer to a level. You can also kill others, take objectives, and win a game.

You can gain ranks, levels, mastery level etc

Inspect these games closely, you will see just how many things are built into the game that are meant to make you feel PROGRESS and ACHIEVEMENT.

Completion of one of the small goals, like a Cs, new item, level, finishing a quest is always close.

Theres a constant stream of progress and successes that keep you going and coming back.

However, playing video games doesn't fall in line with our goals, usually.

Its so enjoyable, but we all know that we should spend the time more productively.

OKAY SO

What about drawing?

Not everyone, actually most people, do not pick up drawing for the sake of drawing.

Its a tool we need to master to achieve our goals, whether that's creating manga, characters, worlds, designing creatures or landscapes or drawing a portrait.

We have a passion for our characters etc, but not drawing itself.

As mentioned earlier:

The things we like don't always fall in line with what we want to do.

The things we hate sometimes do fall in line with what we want to do.

This is drawing for a lot of people.

We don't actually like drawing, failure and studying , but it moves us towards our goal.

Why does drawing suck? Can I make it fun?

You CAN turn drawing into something fun.

If drawing sucks, 99,999% of the time it's because you haven't felt any big success and praise from it.

Secret is, it's our own fault.

Why?

Drawing right now is tedious because, unlike those video games you don't have any smaller goals in place and aren't seeing constant progress.

Bonus points if you have high expectations.

High expectations do you no good. They will diminish the successes you achieve, thus depriving you of the emotional high that would make drawing fun for you.

BOTTOMLINE

Something is "fun/enjoyable", if our brain has learned to connect it to positive experience, be it physical or mental.

If something sucks or hurts, our brain will make us steer away from that thing.

Something "sucks/is frustrating/boring" if it makes you feel bad.

If you had people cheering you on, praising your art, you had realistic expectations, and constant success and progress, drawing would eventually become something you like.

If you beat yourself up for your "bad pieces", tell yourself you're not good enough, your art makes you feel like inferior Trash, then that creates frustration and sadness.

Again, your brain is super powerful in making you avoid things that make (or made) you feel bad and frustrated.

This is why drawing sucks for most people, and causes them to doubt themselves and their passion.

They'll think things like :

"If I really like art, why am I not drawing?"

"Maybe I'm just deluding myself into thinking I'm an artist"

Heads up:

The very fact that you are pondering about these things and keep coming back to art shows that you care. Theres no reason to doubt your passion and potential.

TLDR

How to make drawing fun?

Just like video games, you need to ingeniously design your art practice and habits so that it can allow you to feel a constant stream of progress and achievement.

How though?

You need clear goals that you can achieve and strive towards. Longterm short term etc, as many as possible.

DaB allows you to "level up" by completing exercises, eventually moving across lectures, and completion.

You can design a calendar and cross of days on which you practiced. There's apps to track your hours.

These things can help to give you a sense of accomplishment, but arent enough.

Whenever you sit down to practice, you need clear goals of what you want to clear. For example, two DaB exercises.

You can't feel a daily sense of accomplishment if you design vague goals like

"Practice perspective today"

How would you know if you achieved a goal?

It needs to have a clear directive and goal.

Also:

Research has shown that once experts reach a certain expertise, once they realise the practice is working, they derive extreme pleasure from performance and practice feels more neutral than boring.

Of course, it will take a while for it to happen.

However, this only needs to happen ONCE.

Once you see the fruits if your labour, trust me, practice will actually feel like fun. The days of beating yourself to do it will be over.

Also, you need lower expectations (aka realistic ones)

If you have high, unrealistic expectations, your results will never feel meaningful enough to give you that sense of success that your brain needs to make drawing fun.

That's all for now. 1500 words yikes.

11:46 PM, Sunday August 16th 2020

Thank you very much for the detailed answer! :D Uncomfortable himself should take a look at it; maybe he can do something to make DaB more engaging, thus helping keep people working at it.

Everything you said makes sense and lines up with my own experience. I'll see what I can do about applying it to make drawing... at least not painful.

12:54 PM, Monday August 17th 2020

Heyo,

No problem, and thank you. I might try to reach out to him at some point to suggest some stuff, but I think it'd make sense for me to complete the course first.

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4:30 PM, Thursday August 13th 2020

What are your reasons for learning?

I have just watched a youtube video where they were saying that they had a job where they drew all day but it wasn't fun, it was a grind. Basically, he was drawing stuff for other people in other people's style. He wasn't expressing himself. When he turned to drawing what he wanted to draw in his own way it was fun again.

That said, when you are beginning it is hard work. Really hard work. Like anything. I actually like the process of learning things so it's not to bad for me but I wouldn't say it was always fun.

6:52 PM, Thursday August 13th 2020

My reasons for learning?

1) Making art for video games and comics, to help deliver storylines and such I myself can enjoy or relate to

2) Love of the anime art style

3) Pictorial humor

Of course it's hard work when you're beginning; other crafts such as programming are the same. Funny enough, when it came to programming, I was able to enjoy doing it, so long as I could see I was practicing something relevant to things I'd like to code. That was 99% of the time.

With drawing, even though I see how everything is relevant to what I want to draw, I still struggle to derive enjoyment outside the rare occasions I'm doing well. And even then, I have to be doing well at drawing something I like, as opposed to mere drills. ^^;

7:31 PM, Thursday August 13th 2020
edited at 7:35 PM, Aug 13th 2020

Welcome to the difference between art and science.

I have an IT background but I always hated it ( long story ) and found it unrewarding except in a financial and world travel sense.

Anything to do with art I always really enjoyed but was coerced into a sensible career.

They are different animals, virtually opposites. Art is ill defined, IT is utterly predictable.

If you don't enjoy it, it's always going to be hard work. Perhaps a re-assessment is needed of how you actually want to spend your time on the planet.

FWIW There is a current obsession with anime art style which I think is unhealthy from an artistic perspective. It is a very limited style that can paint you into a corner. It is several abstractions from nature.

edited at 7:35 PM, Aug 13th 2020
6:28 AM, Sunday August 16th 2020

In my case, it's the opposite; I actually found most of my IT background pretty rewarding emotionally, but unrewarding in a financial sense. It was art that caused me immense pain, hence me making this topic.

Indeed, they are different animals; because art is ill-defined, it's a lot more intution-reliant than IT, which is instead more reliant on procedural logic (which is much easier to develop in the modern age).

As for the obsession with the anime art style, you won't have to worry about me on that front; I'm well-aware that I need to know the basics before I can pull it off well, hence me following Drawabox as I am.

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12:05 AM, Friday August 14th 2020

This is honestly really tricky. I can struggle with this, too. Learning art is really a double-edged sword sometimes.

On one side, you understand your lack in knowledge and skill, which is why you want to get better and are taking the necessary steps to do so. On the other side of the spectrum, you have so many ideas floating inside your mind of things you want to draw and bring to life.

I think these things clash with each other. The things we want to bring to life won't look as nice as we want them to if we are still learning art. Sometimes this can really hold us back from tapping into our inner creative side. If we try to draw creatively, we might let ourselves down by creating something that isn't even close to what we had envisioned.

For me personally, I just draw what I love. A lot of my love and appreciation for art comes from watching anime and reading manga since I was young. When I draw the things I love I put a lot more emotion and care into it. I think it always shows and I'm usually captivated during the drawing process and proud of the end result. Try thinking about why you want to do art and try your best to tap into that. I think passion can overcome lack in skill.

6:22 AM, Sunday August 16th 2020

Damn right, it'd pretty frustrating to have so many ideas for what you want to draw, only for your incompetence to make acting on those ideas instantly regrettable. It's too bad that in my case, especially when it's things I love, drawing them without the skills hurts even more... Even when I put in a lot of effort.

I still need to outgrow the mindset about results being what really matters.

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9:32 AM, Friday August 14th 2020

I think you should sometimes try to draw spontaneously when you just scribble some random lines and make it out sg. because then you won't really have a specific picture in your head you will only get one while the process. Also, try to draw everything twice, when you creat your first work came back a few days later look at the mistakes you had made and do it again( trust me it will be better). And sometimes stay away from social media(or at least the art side of it) because it can really hurt your self-esteem. I don't know if this things will work for you but If you want give it a try ;)

6:20 AM, Sunday August 16th 2020

Perhaps I will :o How will the spontaneous drawing help, though?

9:32 AM, Sunday August 16th 2020

Well, I only can talk about my perspective but when I creat those random lines I don't really care about how they look,flow and everything. Usually when I sit down to draw something from imagination I already have a picture of it in my head and you can guess it, my art work won't look like what I wanted. But when I just do those random drawings its different, it is like what I see out of the lines I've already created and often the end result feels better. Maybe, it won't work for you and it sounds like a bunch of nonsense (maybe it is ;) ) but give it a try. What I can see is that you are worried about the end result and because of that you can't really enjoy the process.

1:11 PM, Sunday August 16th 2020

That kind of contradicts how Drawabox's Lesson 0 encourages you to power through the frustration, though... https://drawabox.com/lesson/0/2

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