Learn to draw, but with depression

6:41 PM, Wednesday February 12th 2020

Hi everyone,

English not being my native language, I want to apologize if what I say may sound weird sometimes.

So, to introduce myself, I'm 21 and I've been coping with depression since my childhood. I'm getting help, and it's definitly getting better over the year, but there's one thing that I'm not able to improve: I don't do a lot of things on my free time. And by that, I mean nothing. It's really hurting me, and I desperately want to do something on my own.

I'm not really an "artistic person", since I've never done anything art related in my life. I'm really good with technical thing, especially computers, which is my job today. But I was never attract to programming, or things like that. I was always attract to drawing.

I don't really know why. Maybe because I find it to be the best way to materialize what I imagine everyday in my head.

But everytime I start drawing... Everything is dark. I don't know what to draw. In fact, I feel like I don't want to draw at all. It's a very strange feeling. Even if I force myself to draw, it's like very very boring. Even if I try to draw things that I like.

So I tell myself that it's just not for me. That I'm not good at that, and wanting to become any good at drawing is not for me. I convice myself that drawing is boring, that it's not for me.

But everytime, After a few days, I want to draw back. So I dream about drawing and getting good. But when I'm about to take a paper and start drawing, I panic, and I'm feeling really really bad, so I never draw. And even if I force myself to, it's the same as before.

But listen, I know that drawing is hard. I know that it takes time before getting any good at it. I know all of that. And I also hear what people say, that drawing needs motivation and everything like that.

But like a lot of things, it's easier to say than doing it. Especially with something like depression. Even if I understand that I need motivation, strength and so on, it's still very hard, or impossible to do so.

But I really feel like depression is preventing me to do what I would really like to do, and I absolutely don't know how to make things move.

Did some of you felt like that in the past ? Is there a way to get out of this torturing and infinity loop ?

5 users agree
7:50 PM, Wednesday February 12th 2020

I can tell you drawing has helped tons with my depression. I'm feeling depressed and don't want to do anything? Lets draw tons of human figures!

I guess that the issue you are having is with this expection that you need to be good to have fun drawing. You can make senseless scribbles and still be having tons of fun.

It's fear. Fear of a drawing not looking good. There's one solution to that: Don't look. There's this exercise called blind contours. You draw something but you never look at the drawing until it's done, you only look at the picture you are referencing (or person/animal/object if drawing from real life).

I suggest you try that, it may help you rescue the fun in drawing. Note that the fun is in the act of drawing itself, not in the results. So don't be disappointed by the results (I mean you weren't even looking) instead be happy you are finally drawing all those things you like.

This does mean it will take a while until you can draw from imagination. That's a hard skill to master. But drawing copies of existing things is perfectly fine and excellent practice.

2 users agree
12:31 AM, Thursday February 13th 2020

To answer your question, I'm still in the "loop" and I don't think there's any way to get out.

I don't believe that depression ever really leaves, it's always in the back of people's minds. To me, there's no choice but to work with it.

Motivation or strength isn't what you need, you just need discipline. Routine. Routine is cold; it doesn't care about whether you're happy or depressed, you adhere to it because you adhere to it - it is an absolute.

Make a rule for yourself and you assign the value that rule holds. If I say I'm going to draw for five minutes today then even by 11:55pm I will finally do it simply because I made it a rule that I always do what I say.

I am not an artist. I know for a fact that drawing isn't for me. But my routine doesn't care about my feelings. If I say "I'm going to finish dab" I have to finish it. Then I can quit. It isn't about art it's about changing the way you approach anything.

2 users agree
6:48 PM, Thursday February 13th 2020

You're getting help with an illness that takes peoples life, and you're looking around to see what cool things you can do and where your interests lie at the same time. if that isn't bad ass then I don't know what is.

From where I stand you already have grit and persistance, steadily but surely making your way through the dredgy swamp that is depression.

1 users agree
3:15 PM, Friday February 14th 2020

Ok so this is exactly with what I dealt in the past and still am in a way but it has much improved. To be warned it will be a wall of text cause I feel strongly connected to this and dunno how to say it otherwise. Also I do not in any shape or form what to attack, or to insult or to make your depression any less than it is and I apologies in advance if I make things sound that way. It makes me extremely happy to hear that it is improving and you are taking care of yourself which is the most important at the end of your day.

First things first, I was the same in terms of looking at myself like an 'artistic person', I learned to draw out of envy and to prove, mostly to myself, that either I can do it and learn or it has to do something to do with talent, god given, magical. But to my surprise I discovered it was exactly how it is, it is hard work, a skill and the magic comes in the persistence of it rather than 'having it' and everybody can learn it no matter what.

Secondly, what you describe about mostly it feels to me like expectation and hyping it up way too much. What I mean by that is, as I used to do it, see an artist on Youtube describing a how to draw something specific using method X, I would watch it get so excited that next time I will draw I will do it but when next time came I would open the video, do what he says but somehow the end result was nothing compared to his, but even worse was nothing compared to what I expected it to be, so that would dictate how the time spent was and usually in a negative way, it would tore me apart, I would want to quit, I would just use whatever excuse/words to make it negative and bad.

How I changed that was mostly to force myself to do something which I call automatic drawing where you put the pen/pencil/tool to paper and start doing random stuff without any specific goal, only to do random lines/shape for the sake of it with the end result being something abstract. So in a way the end result would not matter at all cause you can barely understand what it is so you cannot put your finger on how how good/bad it is, it just is. This will give you the confidence and the enjoyment you need on the act, the process, the lines, dare I say fun in order to continue to pursue drawing

Now to the last part, the making and the quiting. So as you said it will take time, it will mean hard work but if you quit a few days after each session how do you improve? The solution, draw every day, create the habit.

See what this does it will relieve the pressure and the fear you currently have to start each session and in a way, I hope, stop the quiting. It is a simple as deciding and accepting that you will do it each day no matter what.

How to achieve this? Schedule in your calendar a time to get reminded each day at a specific moment and when that notification hits, just take a piece of paper and a pencil and go at it.

For how long? Well it depends on you but at first go as small as possible, lets say 6 minutes, simply put a timer and when that finishes you can choose to continue (OPTIONAL) or stop, you showed up, it is good enough.

The most important is that you show up each day for the little time you said you will, with each small step a confidence in yourself is built and in the long run the enjoyment/fun will trump everything else

But what if I miss a day? Well here is where things get tricky, it is easy to just go back to torment yourself and start bullying yourself that you are not cutting for this that yada yada yada OR just admit that this is actually a reality and it will happen maybe sonner maybe later but it will happen so you can cut yourself some slack, you can always start again the next day, this is a never ending ongoing process and a missed day does not even matter in the grand scheme of things.

But what if I am not at home? Just carry a sketchbook as small as possible and a pen with you and can pull it out everywhere and just do the time. Make that also a habit.

But what if ... Ok I will stop. This was the most effective way for me to do it and break the damn loop of torment and regret, and I can confirm based on myself that this actually works so I am hoping if you choose to do it, help you as well. If you have any other questions, just fly them at me

0 users agree
8:39 PM, Sunday February 16th 2020

The only thing that helped me with burnout was drawing. It's expressive, creative and unlimited. I don't know how this may sound for a person in your state: sometimes just get over that mental block by a minimal action, like grepping the pen...off you go. Start where your're at, not where you wish things to be.

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