It’s weird isn’t it, you’ve been drawing and you feel like your work is getting better. Then all of a sudden it’s like your 3-year-old self has control of your drawing arm and made you create the monstrosity you see on the page.
Don’t panic, it’s completely normal, but there are a few reasons it might be happening:
Because you are experimenting
If you’ve been experimenting in your sketchbook, maybe this is why your work looks worse (at least to you). If for example you’ve gone from drawing in great detail to very loose or you’ve changed your style, your work may look worse because you haven’t yet mastered that look. It’s important to keep stretching yourself in this way otherwise in the long term your work will remain stagnant. Although you might find you are taking a step back at the time, experimenting can improve your work in the future.
Because you’ve switched medium
If you’ve switched medium, again you may not have yet got the knack of the different feel to the materials. Even something as simple as switching from a forgiving pencil to ink can make a huge difference to the way your work looks.
Because you switched subject matter
We all have subjects we prefer drawing, from people to landscapes to still life. If you switch to drawing something different, it can do one of two things. Sometimes it injects a freshness into your work, but other times it can take a bit of getting used to. If it’s the latter for you, you might not like what you create at first.
Because you are having a creative block
We’ve spoken about creative blocks in depth in a recent podcast. When you are experiencing a creative block, sometimes you might force yourself to draw. The results can seem laboured and not up to your usual standard.
Because you aren’t drawing consistently enough
How often are you drawing? Drawing and art really is a case of use it or lose it. If you are only drawing very occasionally, perhaps this could be the problem. You draw, but not consistently enough for your work to improve significantly.
Has it really got worse, or are you just lacking confidence?
This is something we find very hard to see in ourselves. Sometimes we create things we don’t like and yet ironically they are the pieces that other people seem to love. So it may not actually be that your work is getting worse, perhaps it’s just different.