First, apologies for my last rant. I've been very stressed lately.

What I guess I meant to ask, was that if I'm doing everything wrong, how do I start over? I'm actually decent at drawing detailed small scenes if I have a lot of time, but any drawing with more than a couple characters, even if they're literal stick figures, makes me freeze.

I suppose it's sort of like rendering tons of entities at a time in a game. So how do I actually come back to when I was five? I tried drawabox but it didn't work for me because it assumes I have a natural grip on my pencil, which I don't. I know I must adjust my grip anyway, but what can I do while I'm trying to fix it? Sorry again for rambling,

  • 3
    Hi Frustrated. If you're meaning to adjust your last question, please edit that one. If you're meaning to ask a new question, please don't refer to another question. This will keep the different questions isolated, and allows users to help you more easily and focused.
    – Joachim
    Mar 15, 2019 at 10:55

1 Answer 1


These are the ways I start over:

  1. Walk away and leave the work out of sight for a few days.
  2. Sketch out the scene on something that does not matter. Do that 10 or even 20 times. For example, I bought a roll of paper (40cm X 50 metres) for $5 and allow myself to waste this sketching out small compositions and tonal studies in charcoal (6x4") before I commit to working on a canvas. Sometimes I'll do 30 studies and eventually break through to a sense of flow and connect with the art again.

What causes this?

I have found freezing is also caused by a fear of commitment, that is, worrying about being unable to undo errors, being imperfect, or worrying about wasting materials like paper or paint. Sometimes it simply means I'm not sure what to do next. Being judged by others is a big one: I've stopped asking for feedback from family members.

Other solutions in a highly-regarded small book "Art and Fear"

I bought a copy of Art and Fear. Here's a quote from it: “Fears about artmaking fall into two families: fears about yourself and fears about your reception by others.”

― David Bayles, Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking

We will always have these fears!

Ask the art what it wants. Dialogue with your art

This is an approach derived from arts therapy (McNiff, S, Art as Medicine, Shambala Publications, Boston, 1992) (I recently completed a Grad. Dip. in this field). In its simplest form, settle yourself down, look at the work and gently invite the work to tell you what it wants.

Final note about art classes, and working on more than one work at once

Find a drawing class where the tutor can help, but to do that, speak to the tutor before you enrol and ask if they can help you. My experience is some tutors are very good at understanding how to manage our relationship with our art. One of current tutors has me working on three works at once, on small cheap canvasses. This has worked for me, and help me loosen up, and not get so attached to the one work.

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