Procrastination: everyone struggles with it, professional artists and amateurs alike. As a result, days and weeks go by and you don't pick up your brushes. Here are some tricks that work well for me and my art students.
1. Organize your art supplies in a way that makes it easy to sit down and draw.
If possible, have a dedicated space at home. If not, store your supplies in an easily accessible place and do not have too many of them! Starting is usually the most difficult part, and a lot of artists get stuck right there. Once your art supplies are laid out on your desk in front of you, it's very easy to start drawing.
The same trick works for other areas of life: if you don't feel like running this morning, make an effort to put on your running shoes without committing to going for a run. You'll notice that once the shoes are in place, the mood has changed and you are ready to go!
2. Get rid of perfectionism and fear of making mistakes in your drawings.
Easier said than done, I know. But try shifting your perspective on mistakes: they are the only way to learn. Drawing is not about getting the picture perfect right away, it's about experimenting. Try looking at your project with curiosity and playfulness. And try seeing mistakes as a means of learning.
3. Break up your project into several sessions.
We often put off working on a sketch because we think we do not have a long enough period of time. Well, tough luck! We never have the time. So dividing your project into stages and completing one stage at a time works great. You can make a pencil sketch at first. Next time you sit down at your desk, you can do some painting. The next session could be adding details with pencils. Do not expect to complete the sketch in one sitting.
You don't have to create a complete project every time you sketch.
You can use my PDF tutorials to see how a sketch is broken down into a series of steps. You can stop at any stage and then pick it back up the next day. Leave your email address in the box below to get one of my free PDF tutorials.
4. Use music to set the mood for sketching.
I use an app called Tide to help me focus. It plays the same melody during a set period of time. If you use it repeatedly, you brain becomes conditioned to going into art mode at the first sounds of that melody. Alternatively, you may want to use some other sounds or maybe smells (incense or essential oils) or create some other sort of ritual.
5. Promise yourself to only draw for 5 minutes.
You can't be expected to create a masterpiece in 5 minutes, right? So the stakes are not very high. This is just a 5-minute sketching session, no big deal! To make your expectations even lower, take a cheaper kind of paper and just fool around for a few minutes.
Another way to beat procrastination is sketching with a teacher you trust. Taking a class on Skillshare, joining a live webinar. I have got a lot of classes for watercolor, gouache and alcohol-based markers. Here are a couple of classes to get you started (click on the pictures to see the classes on Skillshare):
If you are not on Skillshare yet, use my referral link to get your first month free.