How To Get Back Into Drawing

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Written by Juha

It’s been weeks, months, years. It feels like a lifetime, it feels like there’s this creative burn inside you, but you just don’t know where to start.

This is the exact thing I experienced not too long ago. I created my greatest drawing a year ago. It was intense and took so long to draw it.

I was exhausted, and so I took a break (a few months or something) until I landed a commission request that I could not decline. It was for Lindsey Stirling, and the job was to create album art for her Artemis album. 

It was an exciting project to take and something that I truly enjoyed, but in the end, I felt empty and exhausted again. I also had other ventures and things to take care of at the moment. So yeah, art was left on the sideline.

I didn’t draw for half a year or so. And I felt it. I felt like part of my core was missing. I was incomplete, and thus I wanted to get back to drawing again.

So here was my way of getting back the creative flow, becoming inspired again, and getting myself back to drawing again.

The creative flow and how to get it

The very first thing that you need to have in place is the creative flow or juice. You are an artist, and you want to get back into drawing again. It’s that inner desire that is dwelling in you, and you feel like you need to get it out. 

Drawing is the way, and creative juice is the thing that moves your hand. As a creative person, you feel the need to express yourself and the emotions inside you. 

Creativity is in you, and you might remember that it’s not always easy to tap into the creative flow. You kind of need to put yourself in a place of creativity for you to be creative.

The best way to get back your creativity is to look back at your older artworks. It will more than likely give you a feeling of, ok, I was able to do that.

I am able to do that again. So it’s about the confidence of being able to be creative.

Drawing itself is the easy part, you have it in you, forever. You might be a bit rusty for sure, but you still know how to move your hand correctly and how to draw those smooth lines. So no matter how long break you take, you always have it in you. The skill to draw.

So it comes to being inspired and motivated to draw. And the best way to that is to look at your previous artworks and become confident in yourself and in your abilities to draw.

Picking something old and drawing it again

So you have checked your previous works and saw that you were able to draw them at some point in your life. Well, now it’s time to draw them again.

I find it relaxing to pick something old and draw it again. Maybe change the concept a bit to try some new ways to depict the same idea you had previously.

I picked something old (left top corner) and produced something new from it (right down corner). This was done after having a six-month break from drawing.

The point here is to give you a jump start to your drawing habit again. You are in a rusty shape, so you need a “quick win” for yourself, and the best place is to start drawing something, you’ve already drawn before.

This way, you don’t need to think about how to draw, or even what to draw. You can just draw the same thing and see if you still got it. If you are still able to draw and have the skill in you.

However, I can already say that you still have it in you. I wasn’t especially gifted for drawing, but I’ve always kind of had this subtle control in my hands that I’m able to draw.

Related: Draw this again

Draw something familiar to you

When I had my massive break from drawing. I picked something I like to draw (anime character portraits facing forward). I didn’t, however, start a new drawing and go from there. Nope. I picked something old and recreated it to a new drawing.

So yet again, I didn’t start from scratch, it would have felt too exhausting. Remember you are just getting back into drawing again, it’s not like you drew a few weeks ago. It could have been years or months ago.

So, don’t push yourself too hard and try to be as creative as you’ve been previously. The creativity will start to flow again in you, but first, you need to do some creative work to get the creativity to flow in.

In digital art, it’s easier to draw something again, as you can just pick something from the art folders you have on your computer. Then just continue from whichever point you want.

If you work in traditional media, just use your older work as a reference.

When you draw something that is familiar to you, you are tapping into your strengths right-away. It makes the whole drawing process so much easier. You are more confident, and you can progress with your drawing pretty efficiently.

Whenever I start a new drawing, I have this small voice saying in my head that I’m not good enough of an artist. I know it’s silly, but it’s the sound of doubt, and the less doubt you have in yourself, the more you can show yourself that you can do it.

And the more you prove yourself and your doubts wrong, the easier it is to get back into drawing.

Reference images and a dose of inspiration

Did you know it’s pretty hard to draw from your imagination? It’s not like we all have a photographic memory, where we can just visualize a picture in our head and describe in detail how it looks.

Whenever I start a new drawing, I go and find myself a bunch of reference images on the topic I’m planning to draw.

Reference images help you see how something works in real life, or how someone has drawn something.

Reference images help you see the details that you might have forgotten about an object, or that you might not know how to draw.

Let’s say you draw a rose, you probably can already see an image of a rose in your mind. However, you might lack the very fine details of how a rose looks like. And even if you would see some details, it’s totally another thing to transfer the image in your mind to the canvas.

So do not feel like it’s cheating to use reference images. On the contrary, you are doing yourself a favor and to the art community as a whole, when you check from a reference image that the drawing you created is somewhat tied to realism. If you choose to go that route, the realism route that is.

I use reference images, and I know a handful of art “masters” that use reference images, even though they have drawn for decades already.

So to make the transition to drawing again, smooth as possible, do rely on reference images and pick up the pencil and start drawing.

Remember that you have the skill of art already in you, you don’t need to learn how to draw again. What you need to learn is how to tap into your creative side again.

It’s that creativity in you that makes the drawing easy, you know how to move your hand, now it’s time to learn how to get inspired and transfer that inspiration to the canvas.

Drawing is fun, it gives you freedom, it makes you go into the flow, it frees you from thoughts, and there’s only you, your imagination, and your ability to create something that the world has never seen before.

You are an artist, tap into it.

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