Starting out with drawing with depression/anxiety

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Starting out with drawing with depression/anxiety

Postby Faerieflower » September 3rd, 2018, 2:26 am

Uhmmm.... hello *waves shyly*

I want to become really good at drawing and make lots of people happy with what I do, but right now I struggle to get any kind of practice done. I'm depressed and very insecure, I also have anxiety issues. But I do have a lot of free time!

Is there anyone who has been trough similar stuff who could give me any advice? Or maybe someone who's up for just chatting with me? =)

Just to give an example. I sit down, ready to draw and then feel overcome with fear and then I usually just get up and walk around for a while but it rarely helps. When I force myself to draw it usually becomes worse. But, there are also times when forcing myself to draw actually helps and I end up drawing something that my boyfriend says is really awesome soooooo..... It's not completely hopeless! =P

Thanks for reading!
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Re: Starting out with drawing with depression/anxiety

Postby eishiya » September 3rd, 2018, 10:07 am

I'm in a very similar situation to yours. What I find helps is forming habits. I have a very hard time starting to draw, and doing practice drawings, etc usually feels so pointless that I just don't do it, even though I know they're good to do. However, I've got a weekly webcomic, and because it's something I have to do every week, I get it done. I sit down and I do it, because it's a habit, my brain is used to certain days being webcomic days.

Set a continuous block of time aside every day to draw, at the same time. It doesn't even have to be every day, it just has to be consistent. During that time, you don't have to draw, but you should have your tools accessible, and you're not allowed to do anything else. It's a time to relax, imagine, and maybe doodle a bit. In time, you'll get used to having this art time, and it'll get much easier to just sit down and draw during that time. Doing more purposeful drawing (studies, commissions, etc) will be easier when you're already mentally ready to draw.


Another thing I want to add is I think it's possible your attitude towards art might actually be making things harder for you. Make art for yourself first and foremost. Draw the images you want to exist, and work on improving so that you can draw them the way you want them to look. Draw to please yourself. Artists are rarely happy with their current skill, but it's possible to be happy with how far one has come, and to be happy with achieving various goals with specific drawings.
No matter how good or bad you are, these will always be lots of people who like your work and lots of people who dislike it. The ratio of like to dislike also never really changes all that much, because skill is just a single part of all the things people like/dislike about an artwork. So, don't make your art for them. Make it for you.
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Re: Starting out with drawing with depression/anxiety

Postby Faerieflower » September 3rd, 2018, 10:34 am

Thank you for your reply! It's very good advice, I hadn't even thought of simply creating a block of time every day. Most of the time I just kind of try and draw once I exhausted my other distractions which isn't a very good habit at all =P So I will definitely try that =)

One thing though, I didn't want to say this in my original post because I didn't want to sound selfish... but... The reason I want to draw is actually because I really believe it will make me happy =) I like making other people happy too, but that's just the icing on the cake ^_^ And I like cake. I have a lot of ideas too, I keep a journal of them so that I don't forget. And my boyfriend and I want to create a comic together also. I'm definitely not lacking in incentive! I understand perfectly well that it is all mental. But my problems are deep rooted I guess. So it can be tricky to get around it or work with them.
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Re: Starting out with drawing with depression/anxiety

Postby Valigarmander » September 4th, 2018, 8:28 pm

I have depression and anxiety as well, and a major depressive episode was actually what drove me to get off my butt and start working on a webcomic like I'd always wanted to. Drawing is and always has been one of the best things I can do to relieve stress and overcome depression.

I think eishiya's advice is really good. Having a time of the day or week set aside when you're supposed to draw can be really helpful if you have a hard time getting started. And I do, too. There are days when I feel too lazy or depressed to pick up a pencil. But I find that getting started is usually the hardest part: once I'm sitting down and drawing, whether it's working on my comic, or drawing an unrelated picture, or even just pointless doodling, I always have a good time. You just need to give yourself a little push to get started sometimes. Even drawing just a little bit each day can help.

This is more for the writing half of making comics than the drawing half, but in my case when something upsets or depresses me, I try to find ways to turn it on its head and make it into a joke for my strip. Turning something that makes you sad into something that makes you laugh takes the power away from it. It almost feels like you're conquering the depression, you know?
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Re: Starting out with drawing with depression/anxiety

Postby Faerieflower » September 5th, 2018, 2:06 am

Thanks for replying! I love your comic, I've been binge reading it ever since I discovered it 2 days ago or so ^^

I will definitely try to work with it like that as well. Turning things into jokes, or at least try to use it artistically somehow.
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Re: Starting out with drawing with depression/anxiety

Postby MemaiShirosaki » September 5th, 2018, 3:56 am

Fellow anxious/depressed mess here, one other thing I do, on top of setting aside some time to draw, is to reward myself. So when I set out to do work or just even draw for myself, I always try to make the process a rewarding one. When I get a page done or finish something, I tell myself, "okay! You're entitled to that cookie in the fridge you've been eyeing!" Or "Ok, you're done drawing! You're allowed to take some time off to pamper yourself tomorrow!"

It definitely helps when habits become hard to follow up on (and speaking from personal experience, it's really discipline), so having a proverbial carrot at the end of the stick helps give myself a little extra nudge. Also, when I finish my work, I tend to feel really good, so following up that good feeling with a little self-care incentivizes you to keep it up!

Hopefully that helps XD
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Re: Starting out with drawing with depression/anxiety

Postby Faerieflower » September 5th, 2018, 9:04 am

Thanks! It's great! I can now create a three step plan to victory =D

Step one; get cake to reward myself
Step two; eat cake

I think I forgot something, but I'm sure it's fine!

I managed to draw something today, it's not much but it's better than nothing =) it's a little 3 panel comic but I'm not sure if I'm confident enough to show it here ^_^;
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Re: Starting out with drawing with depression/anxiety

Postby MemaiShirosaki » September 5th, 2018, 9:12 am

Hey, we're a friendly bunch, promise! Feel free to share it in the Creative Showcase and we'd be happy to lump on the love ♥
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Re: Starting out with drawing with depression/anxiety

Postby Faerieflower » September 5th, 2018, 10:15 am

I think I will, it's good for me to do that anyway. Take a little risk and all that =P (because this is soooo risky!)

edit cus I'm not allowed to double post, I made something and I don't feel very confident about sharing it, I'm also worried it's too dark for this forum or something, you guys can PM me if you want I dunno what else to do =[
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Re: Starting out with drawing with depression/anxiety

Postby Bloomer » October 21st, 2018, 7:17 pm

This is over a month old but eh. I have depression and anxiety myself, but drawing has become kind of a coping mechanism rather than a hurdle. There was actually a section of my Q&A where I explained how my comic was made out of mental desperation. (CW: NSFW, sensitive subjects) As dark as it sounds it seemed for me the best solution to keep me from attempted suicide at the time was to draw a comic about a character who wants to end it all.

Unfortunately I can't give you any better advise than what's already been given. What's always helped me to stay with drawing is to not really care about what, for who, or how much I draw. If I don't feel like drawing that day, or working on a page, I won't. I'll do whatever the hell I want. Taking off the pressure of feeling the need to "perform" really helps with productivity. If drawing is something you really want to do, experiment and figure out what works for you to get you into the groove of it.

Faerieflower wrote:edit cus I'm not allowed to double post, I made something and I don't feel very confident about sharing it, I'm also worried it's too dark for this forum or something, you guys can PM me if you want I dunno what else to do =[

Also I don't see why you can't post your strip, but if you feel it's too dark just put it in a
Spoiler! :
spoiler.


Good luck with drawing!
Last edited by Bloomer on October 24th, 2018, 6:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Starting out with drawing with depression/anxiety

Postby Faerieflower » October 24th, 2018, 2:28 am

Bloomer wrote:This is over a month old but eh. I have depression and anxiety myself, but drawing has become kind of a coping mechanism rather than a hurdle. There was actually a section of my Q&A where I explained how my comic was made out of mental desperation. (CW: NSFW, sensitive subjects) As dark as it sounds it seems for me the best solution to keep me from attempted suicide at the time was to draw a comic about a character who wants to end it all.

Unfortunately I can't give you any better advise than what's already been given. What's always helped me to stay with drawing is to not really care about what, for who, or how much I draw. If I don't feel like drawing that day, or working on a page, I won't. I'll do whatever the hell I want. Taking off the pressure of feeling the need to "perform" really helps with productivity. If drawing is something you really want to do, experiment and figure out what works for you to get you into the groove of it.

Faerieflower wrote:edit cus I'm not allowed to double post, I made something and I don't feel very confident about sharing it, I'm also worried it's too dark for this forum or something, you guys can PM me if you want I dunno what else to do =[

Also I don't see why you can't post your strip, but if you feel it's too dark just put it in a
Spoiler! :
spoiler.


Good luck with drawing!


Thanks, and why would it matter I started this a few months ago, it's not like my issues suddenly went away =P

I liked reading your QnA, thanks for sharing.

I like your attitude on it too, I always worry waaaaaay too much about drawing, I will try and draw a few things and share them here on this forum. Maybe that'll be good for me.
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Re: Starting out with drawing with depression/anxiety

Postby eishiya » October 24th, 2018, 6:57 am

If you feel sharing them in this thread specifically would help you, you can, but the place where users are supposed to share their work is the Creative Showcase. If possible, please use that. You're welcome to link your Creative Showcase thread from this one :D

And just in case you wanted mod confirmation: There's definitely no problem with sharing dark content, as long as it's within the ToS (i.e. isn't porn, doesn't contain hate speech, etc). Putting it in spoiler tags with appropriate content warnings is always a good idea, e.g.
Code: Select all
[b]Warning[/b]: content/trigger warnings here
[spoiler]your art in here[/url]

You can make a single warning and a single spoiler tag for all your images in a post at once if you want, you don't have to make them separately for each image.

You can also post dark and potentially triggering comics on the main site, but similarly, you should include content warnings so that people know to avoid it if they should (it's not required to include the warnings, but it's a good idea!). For comics, content warnings should go in the tags and in the description.
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Re: Starting out with drawing with depression/anxiety

Postby featherpencil » October 24th, 2018, 12:05 pm

Hello, I usually don't post on forums but your post is something that I struggle with as well. I am by nature very competitive and I have been told that I am very harsh on myself. It can get to a point where I will cry the whole night, thinking how useless and unskilled I am despite practising every day. I have started to learn to love my progress more than loving my artworks, I find that it has worked quite well even though at first it was very painful to look at old art. I still get competitive and would always want to draw when I see other people's works, but I have come to learn that learning is more important than results. I don't know if this will work for everyone, but I hope it can help you in some way. I do understand what its like to get depressed over one's own skills, and if there is any piece of advice I could share, never stop drawing. Just try to draw even if you feel really down because it will seriously help you in the long run. Also, find a safe and nice community that will help to boost confidence whilst teaching you on how to improve, it can help a lot as well. For myself, my friends were really a helpful source in making sure I don't spiral into a terrible depression over my skill-even if I think I'm nowhere near what I want to be.I also think its good to set different goals of what you want to achieve from your artworks, so it can be stepping stones, so for example, i have this high expectation on digital colouring and I'm still nowhere near the speed and skill level I want to be at, but I also want to have a unique art style, people that have distinct features, expressions that are clear, a good eye for composition, and stylistic panels. Because I have all these other sets that I want to achieve as well, it helps that when I'm down that my colouring is still (according to me) shit, I can back up and see that I've improved on some other parts. I find this method really helpful for me, so maybe it might work for yourself as well. Also try not to compare with others, i know its hard, i am guilty of this and it can get really bad for me. However, I try my best to flip my switch and learn any cool tricks or different styles that they offer instead of pointing it back at my lack of skills (again, i think i lack a lot because i know where im lacking, maybe people may find my works nice but i know what i lack and that tends to overpower the positives that my works have). I'm mainly sharing what works for myself and I still struggle with trying to be kinder to myself, but changing some perspectives have helped me a lot and hopefully it can help you too
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Re: Starting out with drawing with depression/anxiety

Postby Faerieflower » October 25th, 2018, 2:28 am

Thanks Eishiya and Featherpencil :)

I'm planning on starting a little comic or something, it won't be very dark but I will keep in mind to add appropriate tags and stuff like that :)

I'm not sure if I am also competitive, but I definitely compare myself to other artists who are SO MUCH better than me, for starters because they've had 10 or 20 or 30 more years of experience.. It's kind of unfair to myself to compare myself to people like that, but I also have a lot to aim for which is nice ^^

There are a few places, communities, I'm looking into. Smackjeeves obviously being one of them :D

I will try my best today and I hope to upload something fun. I have most of it figured out in my head and some on paper already anyway.
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Re: Starting out with drawing with depression/anxiety

Postby ShaRose49 » October 25th, 2018, 6:29 am

I encourage you to move forward with your comic! It sounds like you have a supportive boyfriend and I’m glad.

I can definitely relate strongly to your depression and anxiety issues, I even gave up drawing for a long time because of my fear and some lies I believed. I wanna tell you that sometimes the fear doesn’t leave right away, and it can take a long time. But if you’ll move forward anyway, in spite of that fear or those terrible feelings of hopelessness, you won’t regret it. It will get better. Speak hope into your life, say the opposite of how your feeling. Feelings can be liars, and fear is probably the worst one.
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