I don't enjoy making art anymore. I feel so empty.

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I don't enjoy making art anymore. I feel so empty.

Postby Queerious Toast » January 4th, 2015, 8:34 am

It's been forever since my last post here.

I'm in my 3rd year of Uni. I took up Fine Arts.

I hate making art now. Every piece of artwork I've made in the last 3 years was only for school. I hated every minute of making it. I don't know what happened... I used to look forward to drawing everyday and practicing. I had so many illustration ideas. Now I have to think so hard just to make a decent illustration.

My grades were high, but I got removed from the Dean's List last sem.

I'm just so burned out. I don't know what to do anymore. I now hate the only thing I love to do.

How do I get out of this rut?
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Re: I don't enjoy making art anymore. I feel so empty.

Postby eishiya » January 4th, 2015, 9:59 am

Doing art for specific assignments (work or school) will tend to do that.

It's possible to get over, but of course there are as many ways to get out of it as there are artists. Some suggestions:
- Try photography or sculpture if you're not also tired of these. They'll keep your art-sense sharp, but they feel quite different from drawing/painting.
- Take a break from any "involved" art, but keep a sketchpad close and doodle when you feel like it. If you never feel like doodling, that's fine too.
- Pour your free time into others' art. Read comics and novels, play video games, etc. It'll be an enjoyable way to pass time, while still building up your own skills passively.
- Research non-art stuff. Look up deep-sea creatures, or pre-Industrial Era building technology, etc. It might give you story/character/art ideas, but if not, you'll still be learning. Becoming fascinated by something is a great step towards finding inspiration again.
- Learn programming. It's a useful skill that can be challenging at first, but meshes very well with an artistic mindset.
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Re: I don't enjoy making art anymore. I feel so empty.

Postby Kiyomi Nakamura » January 5th, 2015, 1:19 am

I had the same problem after my first year of college. I just flat out stopped drawing. For around about a year. I had no ideas, no willingness to draw, nothing. I was burned out so bad.

I just waited it out. Then eventually the urge to draw came back, but I had no ideas and no inspiration. So what I did was I picked the nearest fandom I was interested in and I sort of forced myself to do some crummy fan art, even though I had no real ideas or inspiration for it. That started getting those creative juices flowing again, though. :) And now I'm pretty back to normal.

Good Luck!
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Re: I don't enjoy making art anymore. I feel so empty.

Postby Oly-RRR » January 5th, 2015, 4:46 am

I think Art education does that to many people, particularly Fine Art (I majored in Illustration, most of my teachers were dickheads who thought comics and cartoons were beneath acknowledging).

Really I think you should bite the bullet, power through Uni, get out, lick your wounds and start a new chapter. But you could also try switching to something that's still art while not Fine Art if available? Or thinking about what you want from art, what you want to do - is it possible to bring it into your assignments? Or if not, can you single out some time every week to do the art you want?

It's likely that it's caused by your education, how you are being taught or how you perceive it, but it could be the root of the problem is somewhere else too. Try finding something you enjoy. Try making your own choices. I don't want to discourage you from graduating Uni because a diploma is a nifty piece of paper that might be useful and you might even get some skills to go with it but when I look back at my own past I realise that I was convinced I must graduate because it was my parents' belief, not mine. I don't know about you but I should have walked.
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Re: I don't enjoy making art anymore. I feel so empty.

Postby pushingthehabit » January 5th, 2015, 9:51 am

Oly-RRR wrote:I think Art education does that to many people, particularly Fine Art (I majored in Illustration, most of my teachers were dickheads who thought comics and cartoons were beneath acknowledging).

Really I think you should bite the bullet, power through Uni, get out, lick your wounds and start a new chapter. But you could also try switching to something that's still art while not Fine Art if available? Or thinking about what you want from art, what you want to do - is it possible to bring it into your assignments? Or if not, can you single out some time every week to do the art you want?

It's likely that it's caused by your education, how you are being taught or how you perceive it, but it could be the root of the problem is somewhere else too. Try finding something you enjoy. Try making your own choices. I don't want to discourage you from graduating Uni because a diploma is a nifty piece of paper that might be useful and you might even get some skills to go with it but when I look back at my own past I realise that I was convinced I must graduate because it was my parents' belief, not mine. I don't know about you but I should have walked.


^this, 1000% this. When it comes to art, the most important factor is always yourself as the artist.
I also agree with eishiya saying to expand your interests and possibly find inspiration from that. Burnout is so common in art schools, so please always place yourself and your needs as a top priority. It sounds like you're in a box of just creating for others, but please remember even the best pros still take time out of their days for their own doodles or drawings! I wish you the best of luck!

Ps- I too have encountered those art snobs oly is referring to. Most of them have never taken a walk outside their own medium, so if you meet them it's best to just ignore 'em! :)
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Re: I don't enjoy making art anymore. I feel so empty.

Postby pixieface » January 5th, 2015, 1:29 pm

Oly-RRR wrote:I think Art education does that to many people, particularly Fine Art (I majored in Illustration, most of my teachers were dickheads who thought comics and cartoons were beneath acknowledging).

Really I think you should bite the bullet, power through Uni, get out, lick your wounds and start a new chapter. But you could also try switching to something that's still art while not Fine Art if available? Or thinking about what you want from art, what you want to do - is it possible to bring it into your assignments? Or if not, can you single out some time every week to do the art you want?

It's likely that it's caused by your education, how you are being taught or how you perceive it, but it could be the root of the problem is somewhere else too. Try finding something you enjoy. Try making your own choices. I don't want to discourage you from graduating Uni because a diploma is a nifty piece of paper that might be useful and you might even get some skills to go with it but when I look back at my own past I realise that I was convinced I must graduate because it was my parents' belief, not mine. I don't know about you but I should have walked.



I did, in fact, walk... and never graduated. For much the same reason, as it happens. I was doing an Illustration degree, and during the second year I realised they were not teaching us practical skills useful for working as an illustrator at all, but rather just expecting endless experimentation, much like a fine art degree. People were literally graded on the thickness of the sketchbooks they turned in to accompany their projects, and on how fan-shaped they were. (The more stuff is in that sketchbook the less it wants to close.) And I kept up, for a year and a half or so...

...but then I realised I hated it all, felt constantly drained, and wasn't making the sort of art I wanted to make any of the time. And I also didn't feel like I was learning anything practical. We'd be given a month or two months to work on a brief, and again, experimentation and a massive sketchbook was the key to a good grade (not the finished product at all), and so if you wanted a good grade you worked twelve hours a day seven days a week on this sketchbook. I wanted some time for me, and my art. I hadn't felt like I'd had time to work on my art for ages. I felt like I hadn't improved... like I was wasting my time pissing about with stuff I didn't care about, and stagnating in the process. Art had become a horrible, painful, pointless chore.

I don't know if it was the right decision to quit or not. A degree might have been a nice thing to have... but I rationalised at the time that very few employers of illustrators care about a degree... what they actually care about is your portfolio. And that isn't universally true (if you ever want to work for some of the bigger employers, they won't even look at your portfolio if you don't have a degree), so maybe I'm dumb. Who knows.

This is probably why I didn't reply to this thread earlier, even though it sounded so familiar... I don't have good advice to offer, really. Nothing except commiserations, because I get how draining and frustrating it is. And hope: this won't last forever. Nothing does.
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Re: I don't enjoy making art anymore. I feel so empty.

Postby MLoreley » January 6th, 2015, 4:42 pm

Burning out on the things you love is a common occurrence, especially in anyone creative. Even more especially when you have to do it for a grade and for a short deadline. It's good rigorous practice, but it can take some of the joy out of creating. It really, really freaking sucks, and when it happens, it can leave you horrified with yourself; the thing you love to do, you don't love doing it anymore? Nooo~!

The best thing for rekindling your love of creating art is to do small things, things where you don't care about the construction or analyzing it later or whether or not the hand has the right number of fingers. Just draw something for fun, ignoring the outcome and focusing just on the process of doing it. When it's done, I even recommend sharing it with others, just in a "LOOK WHAT I DID BAHAHA" kind of way. The process of sharing art and seeing people respond to it without critical analysis can help boost the inspiration again.

But if you're burnt out, you're under no obligation to create something until you feel ready to. I certainly wouldn't want you to make any distaste for the creative process worse. But I hope you find your creative spark again soon. :)
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Re: I don't enjoy making art anymore. I feel so empty.

Postby Guest » June 17th, 2015, 1:03 pm

That happened because you did only things you were "forced" to do, in some ways.
Creativity runs wild, wants to run wild, and it probably didn't like to be "trapped" in your school assignments :)
You should take a break, it doesn't make any sense to go on doing things you aren't proud of (and get bad grades too).
Probably, the school (or the professors) is not the one that fits you well. Not all art schools are the same and so is the teaching method they apply.
Did you try to talk with your professors about this?
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Re: I don't enjoy making art anymore. I feel so empty.

Postby hadriencollider » July 9th, 2015, 12:18 am

I understand how you feel. I'm currently going to college to study human centered design (before that I was a studio art major back in 06). For my first semester learning HCD it was just mastering the basics. I've drawn and painted all my life out of my own enjoyment and to go from that to having to basically re-learning how to sketch and draw was a shock at first. On my first day our professor had us sketch a chair as we normally would and most of us, myself included, drew a chair in a very sketchy way i.e.-- loose, choppy lines, incomplete, very messy. From that day on he made us draw only in ball point pen so that we would get used to the idea of completing lines and strokes. No erasing means having little or a lot of room to mess up because you have to commit to it. And he made us practice drawing lines, ellipses, circles and squares in 2 point perspective everyday. If you can draw a decent circle using only a pen on the first try, you're doing good. And he was a stickler for having us draw so much that we filled our journals and portfolio binders to the gills--something I didn't quite catch onto until the end of the semester.

I think as artists we naturally hate being told what to create, how to create and when to create it. It takes the fun out of things. But I guess one thing to take away from it is the fact that you're there to get a degree so you can further yourself and your career. Doing drills and projects that don't interest you now sucks, but usually they pay off in the end (that's if you have great instructors or professors tho). Drawing something 50 times or more is draining, but each time you do it, you'll get better or discover something new.

And semester breaks are good for unloading and recharging the creative juices, too. I didn't think I'd want to touch a single piece of paper during break, but after about a week or so of no drawing at all, I was back in the saddle. Hang in there, the pain is only temporary!
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Re: I don't enjoy making art anymore. I feel so empty.

Postby FourStringFingerSting » July 18th, 2015, 10:22 pm

Wish I would have found this thread earlier. I knew this feeling all too well during my freshman and early sophomore years of college.

I'm going for my BFA in Illustration, and being in that major means taking a large number of foundational drawing courses the first half of your college career. That includes figure drawing (almost always from a live model), perspective, 2D Design, learning color theory, understanding form, and drawing enough still lifes to make you want to commit murder. I knew when I took my campus tour the year before I applied that this was the way students were trained. I've never been what you would call a tradionalist when it comes to art, and always drew what felt compelling to me the moment I had the pencil in my hand. I was fascinated at the amount of skill that I saw during that first tour there, and how intimidated yet inspired I was by all the art I saw up on the walls. The hard work that it takes to get to that level, however, was the part I never actually saw when I signed up for it. I knew it was there, but I didn't truly know until I was drowning in live model studies and acrylic paint how much I would have to want it to thrive in that kind of environment.

The first few years all my foundational teachers told me the same thing: You'll never be a successful artist until you follow these rules. The academic side of my studies was strangling me. I felt so unfulfilled with the majority of the work I was producing, and as such, had little enthusiasm left to create my own personal work (as well as free time; working part time and taking 18 credit hours didn't leave me with much time to sleep, let alone doodle). I knew what I was learning was important, but I felt like I was drudging through nearly every assignment that was handed off to me, and that my instructors had no interest in helping me guide what I was learning into the outlets I was really interested in. I was physically and emotionally exhausted most of the time, and I had thoughts of dropping out on numerous occasions. I decided to keep going though.

It wasn't until the tail end of Sophomore year/beginning of Junior year that I really felt happy with the work I was producing. I'd done the still life drawings, I sat in front of live models for innumerable hours trying desperately not to headbutt my charcoal drawing from lack of sleep, and I was finally given the opportunity to do some work that had some personal input. Boy did my sails fly that day.

What I'm getting at is, don't give up. If you feel passionate about the kind of art you do, pursue it. Whether the work you make is more along the lines of a fine artist, or more illustratively driven, make sure it feels right. Don't be afraid to do the hard work, of course, but never give up on the stuff you're passionate about either. Always come back to it, never bury it. My head was filled with "you have to compete with these people, because you're all going to be going after the same jobs" when I started college. I'm learning now that that was complete bullshit. Art is subjective for a reason, because everyone does it in wildly different ways. There's always going to be that one person who thinks your art sucks, and another who thinks that it's utter perfection. I'm happy I learned the foundational skills that I toiled with for so long, but the mindset behind the academic side of art left a sour taste in my mouth, and I'm happy to say I no longer have a cloud over my head about my own artistic ability. Sure, I'm constantly striving to be better, but not for anyone else but myself. I'm going into senior year now, and my instructors from junior year up until now are laughing with me, because I've figured out the secret of the art world: You have to make it your own. I was never going to be an academic model painter who sits in front of the easel 6 hours a day and eats paint thinner, and the more you realize what you DON'T want to do, the quicker you'll understand what it is that you DO want to do. Going back to the things that you KNOW you feel passionate about always helps, whether it's music, or a particular game you enjoy, or even going to a place where you feel at peace with the world. Trying to integrate the stuff I enjoy outside of art has never done me wrong when I'm trying to whip up a new illustration.

By now my words may be a waste to you, but I hope it helps anyone who's opened up this thread in any capacity. I know that feeling, and trust me when I say that the work you WANT to do is worth far more than any other kind of work you could possibly be given. I hope you're still hanging in there, and you haven't given up yet. You have my best, good luck!
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Re: I don't enjoy making art anymore. I feel so empty.

Postby Cdoom85 » August 8th, 2015, 2:34 am

Alright, I can relate to that.
This never necessarily happened to me in art, but I have gotten a little depressed over school before.

ENTER UNRELATED PART:
I'm a little new to this website, and I'm not a great drawer though. I've been practicing for about a week (straight) and I'm already anxious and a little irritated that I don't have everything I need for my comic to at least get one page (like, CMON, I'm not patient).

BACK ON TOPIC:
What I personally suggest is to ignore it and fight through it. My school may not be harder than yours but, "No pain, No gain?" Take a break for a little, not so much as just skipping all art, but focus more on other things.

Sorry I didn't have much to offer......

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Re: I don't enjoy making art anymore. I feel so empty.

Postby cornelius7 » June 27th, 2016, 8:36 am

I completely understand how you feel. I study graphic design , which Is one if the most rigorous competitive majors ever where I'm at. And I make good things, but I hate doing it all of the time and would rather be making drawings and comics. The sad thing is that now I feel that way about making comics because Ive become so obsessed with getting it finished, advertising it, and all of those things that it completely takes away from the meaning of why I started drawing and making comics in the first place! Not to mention that Ive gotten carpal tunnel and its only getting worse. So the bottomline is, im in the same boat, idk how to come out of this strange netherworld I'm in. I never thought art, my passion, my life, would become something I didnt care about
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Re: I don't enjoy making art anymore. I feel so empty.

Postby Nunumi » August 1st, 2016, 10:25 pm

Dear Queerious Toast. I just want to give you a big big hug and tell you this is NORMAL. This happens to everyone at some point. It happened to me pass college, after two years into working in the animation industry…. Took me five years to kinda find what was wrong with me. I drew all day at work at my job in animation, but I couldn't make a single piece for myself at home.

I can't tell what can work for you, but this is how I got pass this terrible block.

I had to find back the reason why I was drawing in the first place.
School and life and job tend to steal that from you, while you are too busy trying to meet other people's expectations.
They steal it from you while they teach you that some kind of art is good and some kind is wrong. Some is real art and some is false. And because every human being is designed into wanting to fit in, find his place and be appreciated, we tend to bend our objectives to what is said to be the "right thing". We want success, we want recognition, we want good grades, we want a pay check, etc.

It's when you follow that path that you loose yourself and can't draw anymore. You forget what it's like to be a kid and luv stuff for the sole sake of luving stuff. Pretty much like in that Capitain Hook movie.

Usually, what you love to draw and what you are being though at school are at odds. And that's ok, because then, you can try new things you'd never try if they didn't tell you to. But you still gotta find that little thing back. It's still there. I can't tell you what it is, because it's different for everybody. But once you find it back, that little selfish impulse that made you draw until crazy hours in the morning, cling to this. Feed it like a critter and don't let it die. And don't let other people's expectation drive you away from it.

If you become an artist for hire full time, you will have to meet other people's expectations if you want your pay check. But don't forget to feed the critter and be selfish in your work from time to time. It pays in the long run, because it's only through those selfish impulses that you can make your best work.

Took me 5 years of wondering why I couldn't draw for myself anymore, until I found my little critter back. Mine was named "story telling", but I was a 2D animator at that time, and was pursuing an "animator's dream". I don't draw if I don't write, that's it. And I don't get satisfaction into drawing other people's story. So I had to start writing again, and after a few months, the urge of drawing came back as if it never left. :)

Oh, and also. Once I got my critter back, I stopped giving a *%$%?$% about what other people think of my art. :) That helped too.

I hope it makes sense. Big hugs and don't give up!!!
Last edited by Nunumi on August 1st, 2016, 10:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: I don't enjoy making art anymore. I feel so empty.

Postby Nunumi » August 1st, 2016, 10:31 pm

One last thing! I think you might like that video from the highly missed David Bowie:
Why you should never play for the gallery.
What colour is the light that guides you?

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Re: I don't enjoy making art anymore. I feel so empty.

Postby marceraab » August 13th, 2016, 8:51 pm

I stopped trying so hard and started doing whatever my pen told me to do.
I still do commissions and work for hire, but I always try to get back to letting my mind go and my fingers do the heavy lifting.
It's kinda amazing how that allowed me to look at my own art as if it didn't really come from me (it didn't, TBH)...
I don't know if that's helpful, but that was my experience.

ALSO, THIS:
Nunumi wrote:I just want to give you a big big hug and tell you this is NORMAL. This happens to everyone at some point.
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