“I suck at art. I am not artistic. Art isn’t my thing”
We all start off in this world thinking we can do anything, especially when it comes to making art. As children we never met a pack of crayons we didn’t like, or a pot of paints we didn’t want to slap all over everything.
Somewhere along the way though, we start to stop ourselves.
We start making rules about what we can or can’t do. Often we hand over the art making to that one kid in class who is really good at drawing, and start saying things like “I can’t draw”.
This often happens around the age of 12. Before this, we feel like art is ours and that it is something anybody can do. But then we start to compare ourselves to others, or maybe we had a teacher who made us feel like our creations weren’t good enough, or as good as the person next to us, and we just… stop.
That sucks, and here’s why:
Humans have always had a need to express ourselves – that’s why we made our mark by painting in caves and carving bones and rocks over 36,000 years ago.
It didn’t matter if it wasn’t a masterpiece – it was our way of expressing ourselves and our place in the world.
Art and music play a big part of many cultural traditions that help people cope with grief and trauma - when we cut ourselves off from it totally it can really take a tall on our mental health.
Studies have shown that when you create art, any kind of art, it can:
- Improve your physical health!
- Give you better mental health. It reduces your stress, provides a space for play, distraction and exploration.
- It also a really healing thing to do when you feel down or something really bad has happened to you. Often in these times we don’t have words to describe how we feel, but we can scribble it out on paper and get it out. Pain wants to be expressed, so putting it on paper (or in a song) can really help.
Here are some things you can do to shut out the mean voice that tells you you’re no good at art, and to just give yourself a chance to give a chance to play:
- Try a new material, like watercolor, or ink, or something that doesn’t make you think it has to look a certain way.
- Collect images, cut things out from magazines to add to paintings or drawings (check out some of our Instagram posts from friends of em) or put the cut out pictures together in a new way.
- Get over the scariness of the blank page by scribbling, or drawing a frame, or tracing your hand, and then play around with the spaces created.
- Decorate your favorite quote.
- Go on Pinterest and see what you like, get inspired by artists whose work isn’t “pretty” or “good” but speaks to you anyway.
- Or just do a doodle a week, even a day.
There are no rules, it’s up to you. That’s the best part about making art. You are in charge and you can express your truth.