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Feeling down and uninspired? It sucks, and happens to the best of us.

When Negative Emotions Impact Your Art

We all have off days.

Sometimes these days can turn into weeks.

And sometimes these weeks can turn into months.

Being swept up by creativity involves being inspired in some sense. It requires a specific state of mind—one typically unaccompanied by feelings of melancholy.

When the stresses of the day-to-day get to you, it’s difficult to channel your “feeling down” into making meaningful art. But it’s especially difficult for someone of the beginner-artist status to do so. Art can be meditative. . . when you know what you’re doing. But if you’re still struggling to get the fundamentals down, art can feel more like a chore when in an uninspired state.

It takes a lot of energy to create. And even more mental and emotional energy to face the fact that you’re not very good at art. So, from this perspective, skipping out on a drawing session when you’re “in a mood” might just be the most practical thing to do.

These are the thoughts that have been swirling through my mind throughout the past few weeks. For context’s sake, I’ve been unemployed for close to 4 months. Did I use my unemployed time wisely? Not entirely. When ridden the with social and financial anxiety inherent in the job hunt, any productive task—from practicing art to going for a run—just becomes multiple times more difficult. Traction inspires traction; and the lack of brings about the reverse.

Motivation comes in waves.

And artists from all over the internet will tell you that if you really cared to practice your craft, you’d do it without letting a lack of motivation bring you down.

But what if your lack of motivation comes from a low emotional state? Does this really mean that you simply don’t care to improve in your art? That you’re not mentally strong enough to power through when the going gets tough?

Hearing these messages can be just as discouraging as they are encouraging.

It’s difficult to deal with feeling uninspired for weeks on end. Yes, power through to a degree since the world keeps turning no matter what state you’re in; however, recognizing how you feel and forgiving yourself for feeling are just as important, if not more so.

And let’s remember that it’s easy for people to tell you to power through an illustration when they’ve been drawing for over a decade. Because these experts, whether hobbyists or professionals, can literally shut their minds off as they create. We beginners don’t have this luxury. Rather, creativity takes plenty of thought when you’re just starting out, so pooling all artists into a single category isn’t a solid basis when discussing this topic.

I’m not condoning anyone to sit around and stare at a wall when falling into a melancholy emotional state; nor am I saying follow through with fire and tenacity. What I do condone is to recognize your feelings, tell yourself that they are important, and find a middle ground that works for you in the moment. Just remember that when something that’s meant to be an enjoyable hobby begins to feel like a chore, it might be time to take a step back and focus on the things that are less mentally and emotionally draining—at least until your craft sparks excitement in you again.

What’s important is for you to keep in mind that everyone has a different method of coping with stress and anxiety. Sometimes negative feelings can inspire beautiful artwork; other times they can inspire nothing.

Both are completely valid.

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