Person holding a pencil in front of a blank piece of paper, symbolizing the frustration of feeling like you're bad at drawing.

Why am I Bad at Drawing: Overcome Doubt and Unlock Potential

Do you ever look at your drawings and feel disappointed by what you’ve created? It’s easy to get frustrated when crude scribbles emerge instead of graceful lines and dimensions. Thoughts like “Why can’t I draw better?” or “I must just lack natural talent” frequently arise. 

But the truth is – drawing is a skill that can be learned and mastered through purposeful practice over time. This comprehensive guide tackles the common doubts holding you back from growth. It then lays out concrete steps to shift mindsets, build foundational competence, and unlock your inner artistic abilities. 

With the proper techniques and belief in yourself, beginner drawings can transform into impressive artwork. Read on to start your drawing potential blossoming.

Want to check this Post: What is Drawing?

Is Feeling Like You’re “Bad at Drawing” Actually About Innate Talent?

The short answer is no; being bad at drawing is not predestined or hardwired. Perceived lack of innate talent may be contributing to feelings of deficiency. Drawing is a learnable skill that gets better with targeted effort, just like people learn languages, instruments or sports with practice over time.

With a growth mindset that skills can be built, you can improve at drawing regardless of any natural born “artistic ability.” Progress won’t be instant or magical. But it will come through regular, deliberate practice and quality learning resources.

So why do many people feel hopeless at drawing without inherent gifts? There are a few common root reasons explored next.

Do I Just Not Have Talent Like Other People Seem To?

Seeing others, especially at a higher skill level, dash off impressive sketches with seeming ease can be demoralizing. The automatic comparison leads to thoughts like

  • “They make it look so effortless, and I must just not have any talent”
  • “Artistic ability comes naturally to them but not me”
  • “No matter how much I try, I’ll never draw as well as people with raw talent,”

But this is a destructive and inaccurate mindset. Every exceptional artist practicing today has worked hard to develop his or her skills over the years. Yes, some people may draw a bit faster initially and build early motivation from rapid gains. But for most, advancement happens slowly through determined, dedicated effort.

Outsiders usually see the result of years of hidden work behind the scenes. Often, the artist needs to remember the long journey taken. The key is realizing the development curves differ, but solid technical competence is achievable with patience and commitment.

So, shake off discouraging thoughts of talentlessness when seeing unique art from others. Instead, I feel inspired that so much is possible through practice. Your learning and growth are on a personal path.

Is Comparing Myself to Advanced Artists Fair or Helpful?

This ties closely to the perceived lack of innate skills. When looking at the incredible drawings of advanced artists, it’s very tempting to harshly critique your work in comparison. Thoughts might include:

  • “Their work is so polished and skilled; mine looks like a toddler’s scribble!”
  • “I’ve been practicing for months but still can’t draw anything close to that quality”
  • “There’s no way I’ll ever progress to anywhere near their level”

However, we must understand that directly comparing early work with fully developed skills is completely unfair. Of course, there will be immense gaps right now.

A better mindset is realizing you’re still in the early stages of your artistic journey. The advanced artists focusing on jealousy and awe were also total beginners. Every masterpiece in a gallery or social feed began as hesitant, clumsy first lines at one point long ago.

Instead, compare the quality of your current work against your previous pieces, which is a fair assessment of progress from a baseline. 

Are proportions more accurate than a few months back? Do sketches have better shading and perspective than last year? Breakthroughs might feel small, but that momentum builds skills incrementally in key ways over time.

So avoid unfair comparisons, especially early on. Celebrate tiny wins in your work and know that primary skills development requires patience.

Could Inconsistencies in Practice Be Slowing Progress?

Many people dabble lightly in drawing as an occasional hobby in fits and starts. Doodling only every so often when inspiration randomly strikes rather than a concerted effort to improve. Without regularity, key muscle memory doesn’t sink in for essential techniques. Fundamentals like smooth, confident line work, accurate perspective, intense anatomical poses etc, require repetition over time to internalize. These can feel shaky and clumsy without that mileage.

Sporadic practice also means losing touch with concepts taught in a past tutorial or class. Without immediate reinforcement, methods explained just weeks back can slip away half-remembered. This leads to having to frequently relearn instead of systematically building atop foundations.

Deliberate, consistent practice is truly key. Set aside dedicated time to practice skills, use targeted tutorials, analyze work critically, get feedback from peers, etc. Carve out even 30 minutes daily to draw rather than just occasional sessions. This regular reinforcement trains muscle memory and cements fundamentals. Solidifying one layer of basics at a time over weeks leads to aggregating severe competence.

So, for stalled improvement – take an honest look at consistency. Building actual capability requires regular dedicated practice, not just hobby dabbling from time to time. Small investments daily or weekly pay dividends over months.

What If I’m Too Self-Critical and Harshly Judge My Drawings?

Many people struggle with intense inner critics judging work harshly:

  • “I spent 2 hours on this sketch, and it’s still terrible!”
  • “I can’t get anatomy/perspective right despite trying – I’ll never be decent at drawing!”
  • “After this failure, I feel like giving up for good…”

Be wary of extreme perfectionism and raw self-criticism after finishing drawings or throughout the effort. This fixed mindset erodes satisfaction from the learning process itself. Each mistake or struggle seemingly confirms a suspected lack of innate talent versus just being part of the learning curve.

Conversely, a growth mindset finds reward in incremental progress, not just perfect end products. Small wins like smoother curves from line practice or better proportions capture a healthier outlook.

Harsh critiques also limit potential experimentation in style and creative risks critical to development. Fear of potential failure leads to rigid copying of reference photos rather than exploring new forms of visual expression.

Actively shift from an overly judgemental inner voice to more patient self-talk:

  • From: “I’m completely hopeless – 3 hours in and still a mess!”
  • To: “It’s not perfect yet, but I see some parts improving – onto the next piece!”
  • From: “Another failure – maybe I should just quit…”
  • To: “I learned where I need more work – now I can focus practice there.”

With experience, you’ll also spot areas for improvement more objectively without emotional parts of ego bruising. But early on, stay gently encouraging even in the face of stumbles. Creativity and skills blossom best without intense self-criticism.

If I’m Struggling, Where Should I Start to Improve My Drawing Skills?

If reading the questions above sparked self-reflection on certain obstacle areas – fantastic! Awareness of root issues allows for efficient targeting efforts for improvement.

These following tips can help get real momentum regardless of current abilities:

Learn Core Drawing Fundamentals

Solid foundations must be laid first before more advanced methods:

  • Accurate line control & mark making
  • Proportions & relationships between elements
  • Essential perspective & conveying depth
  • Light, shadow & shading to define forms
  • Anatomy, poses & the human figure
  • Compositional layouts & flow

Without fundamentals, attempts at portraits, landscapes or conceptual art will suffer. Start simple, even if humbling. Be patient, putting in the reps to ingrain core competencies.

Invest in Deliberate, Targeted Practice.

Casual doodling will lead to something other than real growth. Carve out blocks of time devoted specifically to:

  • Studying tutorials focusing on weak areas
  • Drilling repetitive practice on essential skills
  • Thoughtfully assessing work to identify poor spots
  • Getting input from peers on ways to improve
  • Repeating concepts until firmly internalized

This focused practice builds solid capability over random hobby attempts.

Connect with Advanced Artists for Learning

Beyond solo study, and colossal value comes from engaging with more advanced creatives. Groups like learntodraw or Discord servers create welcoming spaces for all skill levels to interact.

Seeing their step-by-step progress demystifies lofty end skills as impossible innate gifts. Their journeys faced similar early struggles, too.

Gently seek critique from seasoned artists, identifying areas for improvement. Celebrate small wins and breakthroughs mutually. Art thrives in the community!

Stay Encouraged – Progress Takes Time

Expect occasional self-doubt even months or years into your artistic journey when advancement stalls. Periods of quicker visible progress inevitably give way to plateaus requiring perseverance.

But more growth lies ahead if determination persists. Pay attention and implement targeted tweaks, then keep practicing. Build on each prior breakthrough, even if it is subtly.

Your future talented self will thank today’s determination through the long creative marathon. Each small gain compounds on the last until one day, skills finally bloom beautifully.

Chuck Jones

Still Feel Hopeless About My Drawing Skills After Trying To Improve?

Even with dedicated effort over weeks using the methods above, feeling hopeless about progress sometimes naturally creeps back in. Using new approaches can feel intimidating or clumsy. Comparing against others may still sting, too.

First, ignore snap judgments during initial struggles adapting new methods. Stick it out through short-term discomfort, fielding unfamiliar skills.

Also, I appreciate that innate talent can only transform abilities overnight. Have realistic expectations about reasonable growth timelines. Building competence takes immense patience and commitment, measured over months and years.

Most importantly, focus less on the endpoints and instead find reward from engagement in the learning process. Each discovery should spark excitement, not judgments of still being inadequate. Find adventure in exploring techniques rather than demanding talent.

Along the long road ahead, routinely reflect on how far you’ve come already against past work. See the visible evidence of your previous successes and current progress. Use that to inspire taking the next step instead of getting lost in worry about some fictional finish line.

Stay confident in your long-term creative potential, trust the ongoing results from regular drawing efforts, and let motivation flow from falling in love with artistic exploration vs perceived talent levels.

You can get progressively better at drawing regardless of innate skills – if dedication to growth persists despite self-doubts.

Closing Thoughts

Think back to childhood when drawing felt free, experimental and fun before critical inner voices emerged. That willingness to engage creatively for sheer joy still lives deep inside. With the right mindset shifts and targeted practice, rediscovering – then nurturing – that drive within is very reachable.

Quieting self-limiting beliefs opens up the intrinsic motivation to learn drawing. Small wins in visible progress build momentum and confidence to invest more consistently. With enough patience and trust in the long-term compound effect of those efforts, creative expression through drawing blooms incredibly.

This starts with ignoring discouraging thoughts, nurturing a growth mindset, targeting weak spots through practice, plus connecting with supportive communities. So explore freely, make learning rewarding itself, and progress naturally follows.

Years from now, you may even become the advanced artist that new learners see as impossibly talented. Pay forward what you learn to them when they feel similarly overwhelmed and unsure of their potential.

Your drawing journey is waiting. Now, boldly take those first strokes forward, armed with self-belief and enthusiasm for artistic adventure ahead!

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What makes a bad drawing?

    pencil sketch of a bad drawing of a women

    A bad drawing is usually too simple or complex without any clear purpose or meaning. Additionally, in a bad drawing, an artist might have used poorly the elements and principles of art. A lousy drawing does not successfully communicate the artist’s idea to the viewer. Finally, a bad picture often lacks originality or creativity.

  2. Why am I getting worse at drawing?

    There could be a few reasons you might feel like you’re getting worse at drawing, even if you’ve been practicing regularly. It’s possible that you’re not taking the time to study your subject matter and analyze what you’re trying to draw. Also, burnout is a common reason people feel like they’re getting worse at something, even if they’re still putting in the effort. Take breaks and return to your drawings with fresh eyes to avoid feeling discouraged.

  3. Can a bad drawer become good?

    Yes, anyone can improve their drawing skills with practice and commitment. If you’re feeling discouraged, try studying the work of your favorite artists and look for tutorials online or in books. Also, take breaks and analyze your drawings to see what areas you need to work on. With time and effort, you can become a better artist.

  4. How do I make my drawings look less flat?

    If your drawings look flat, it might be because you’re not using enough variety in your line work. Try experimenting with different thicknesses and weights of lines to give your drawing more dimension. Additionally, you can use hatching and cross-hatching to create shadows and depth. Finally, consider adding highlights and lowlights to give your picture more dimension.

  5. What are some good things to draw?

    There are endless possibilities for things to draw, so keep exploring and practicing to improve your skills. Some good things to draw include still lives, landscapes, portraits, and figures. These subjects can help you practice various skills, from line work to Shading. Also, find exciting things to draw in your everyday life to help you stay creative.

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