Have you ever found yourself trying to re-create something you did a long time ago? Something you didn’t think so much of back then but somehow seems so much better now? I ran across a few old drawings and was marveling at the fact that I never finished them. Why didn’t I keep going? This could have been good! It would be easy to redo it or even just continue it. But should I?
There’s something exciting (yes, really!) about doing the same thing over and over again. Every artist has a drive for perfection, and what better way to satisfy it than by continually working on the same technique or subject? There’s always just one more thing to try, one more way to look at it. Seriously, I could do cloud drawings for the rest of my life and never get bored. But another drive every artist has is the drive to grow, to expand her abilities, to accomplish something…different. Which means at some point you have to let go of perfectionism and go back to doing Really Bad Art in a new medium or technique.
Of course, it’s frustrating to start back at square one, especially when you know you still have so far to go on those cloud drawings! But there’s a fine line between perfection and stagnation. And when you do something new, even if it turns out badly, all the energy going into learning the technique spills over into areas that used to be well-established. So you find out what happens when you dump a bunch of graphite powder on that almost-finished cloud drawing and smoosh it around with a brush.
It makes a mess.
But it’s heading in a different direction—and that’s exciting!