Be honest. Have you ever gotten tired of drawing your favorite subjects?
Everybody has something they love drawing. That subject is their go-to subject. It comes above every other subject they might ever consider drawing.
Some artists love still life art and assembling the elements of a still life is as much fun as making the art.
Others are drawn to animals and prefer pet portraits or wildlife art.
Still others specialize in human portraits or landscapes or urban scenes.
There’s nothing wrong with that. Everyone is born with special interests and everyone gains life experiences that sharpen those interests or introduce new interests.
But what happens when you grow tired of drawing your favorite subject?
When You Get Tired of Drawing Your Favorite Subjects
Don’t be like me when that happens! You’ll end up stifling your creativity!
You see, I’ve been doing horse portraits for forty years or more. For most of that time, I thought I’d never do anything else. I saw no need to. I loved the look of horses, their long manes and tails, the way they moved and even the way they smelled. What else did I need?
Then came my first look at the Flint Hills of Kansas and all of a sudden, the idea of doing landscape art leaped into my mind.
At first, I resisted it. I wasn’t a landscape artist; I was a horse artist.
Then I decided to pair my horses with landscapes. That made sense, after all. Horses are part of the landscape around here. A big part.
That idea produced a couple of nice colored pencil pieces, but no more.
Since then, I’ve struggled to draw anything.
Yes, there are lots of fun pieces resulting from experimenting with my first set of artist quality watercolor pencils or new papers. And there have demonstration pieces for blog posts and tutorials.
But what I call “serious art” has dwindled to the point that it’s now been nearly a year since my last finished piece!
So what’s going on?
I haven’t really given that much thought because I have been busy doing other things. Things that need doing like writing and designing tutorials and improving the weekly newsletter.
I’ve also started writing a book based on the best posts from this blog. So it’s not like I’ve been sitting on my thumbs waiting for inspiration.
But a few days ago, a radical thought popped into my awareness.
Why am I waiting for inspiration to make another horse drawing when what I really want to do is a landscape?
You know, when you’re an artist, that’s one of those thoughts that pretty much stops everything in its tracks! You cannot not give it serious consideration.
I look across the room as I write these words and I see the line drawing of Thomas clipped to the sample of Clairfontaine pastelmat.
I received the sample this summer but didn’t know what to do with it until after Thomas had passed to the other side.
Now, I have the following dialogue with myself every time I look at the drawing.
“I wonder how that paper would work with a landscape?”
“No. That paper’s meant for Thomas’ portrait!”
And then I remember that stunning thought from a few days ago.
Maybe it’s time to move on.
I still haven’t taken that line drawing off the Pastelmat, but the idea grows more appealing every day.
And yet, I waiver between wanting to keep doing what I’ve always done (because, well, that’s what I’ve always done) and doing something I want to do more right now. It’s difficult to let go of old habits even when there’s the possibility the letting go isn’t permanent.
I hope you’ll forgive my rambling this way, but I know that when I struggle this much with something, there are others out there wrestling with the same dilemma.
That’s perfectly all right! It’s part of the growth process in life and in art.
So what should you do when you get tired of drawing your favorite subjects?
If you’re torn between making another drawing of a subject that’s been a personal favorite for years (or decades) and doing something new, don’t fret. It’s not unnatural. It may instead be a sign of growth.
Let go of that old habit and try your hand at the new idea. Maybe it won’t go anywhere, but maybe it will.
Maybe you’ll discover a new Old Favorite.
At the very least, you may discover ways to improve on drawing that Old Favorite.
That’s what I’m going to do.
Let’s try it together and see what happens, shall we?
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