Why Don’t I Like My Art?

I wanted to write this post for those of your who think you don’t like your artwork and I know that there are several of you. I would like to offer some advice and guidance to help because I understand these feelings.  Every term I meet a few learners who don’t like and even hate the work they produce.

Our Own Worst Critics 

Firstly why don’t you like your work?  Often it because we are judging it very harshly we don’t think it is good enough or we are comparing it with others work. I had one learner who shocked me with a very accomplished portrait which I honestly didn’t think she was capable of producing after the first session of the course.

I was amazed by how much progress she had made after ten weeks of classes.  Sadly she didn’t see the progress and achievements herself, she only saw the mistakes and only spoke to me about what was ‘wrong’ with her art.

I know it is a cliche but we are our own worst critics because we know where all the mistakes in our work are and our eyes tend to go to them. Our eyes get tired of looking at our own work and we are unable to stand back and evaluate it objectively.

Are you being your own worst critic?

Are You a Perfectionist?

Accept that there is always room for improvement.  This is what keeps many going because if it was easy then we would stop as art wouldn’t be challenging anymore.

Are you expecting perfection?  You may have some unrealistic ideas about your work and what it should be, many complete beginners expect to get proportions and perspective perfect first time.  Be realistic, it is about the progress you are making rather than producing perfection.

These ideas of having to reach some very high and often unobtainable goal can take all the fun out of art.  See my post on Why Perfectionism Could be Stopping You in Art.

Drawing well takes many years for most people
Drawing well takes many years of classes for most people

Others See Your Work Differently 

Others will often see something in our work which we can’t see ourselves.  When other people look at your work they see the whole picture not just bits that you may be focussing on.

Art is a bit like music, it is a subjective topic, some people will like your work and others won’t.  Are you being too influenced by what others are saying about your work?  When we produce work and share it we invite all sorts of opinions not always favourable.

The alternative is not to share your work, which many of my beginner learners opt for.  Not sharing your art is a shame because there is so much to gain from sharing. Finding a supportive group/tutor/art club can really fast-forward your progress if the feedback is constructive.  Try to become comfortable with criticism and just take it on board without letting it hamper your progress.

Find Your Niche 

It might be that your charcoal work isn’t that great but maybe charcoal isn’t for you?  Many of my learners and students have this idea that they have to be masters of every media and subject which is unrealistic.  Most professional artists have specialised in a subject or media so why would you expect to be good at everything?

Find your niche
Find your niche
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2 thoughts on “Why Don’t I Like My Art?

  1. Thanks for this post, Rebecca.
    Self-criticism can be crippling to the point where we stop making art altogether, but that can be just as hard to cope with!

    Here are two strategies I use:
    1. I often draw with my left (wrong) hand. It helps me to see the subject as a series of lines and surfaces rather than a particular object, and I accept that my drawing will be messy so I don’t criticise it.
    2. I like to revisit a drawing the following day, and try to learn from my mistakes so I can try a different approach next time.

    Liked by 1 person

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