Perfectionism, my old friend

Struggling with perfectionism? Watch me live on Twitch and let me know how it affects you.


All artists are perfectionists

When it comes to the art you just finished, you’re probably never going to overcome the feeling that you failed (in some way). As a new artist, this can be utterly overwhelming, but it happens at all stages of the artistic journey.

I think this constant feeling of failure is because being an artist is about seeing, comparing, and correcting. This process allows you to create, but also makes you feel like shit. It’s an analytical way of thinking that lets you make decisions, which lets you make art. The downside is that you can see the difference between where you are and your perfect goal.

“Comparison is the thief of joy” —Theodore Roosevelt

It doesn’t matter what you’re comparing—you could be 1) comparing your favorite artist to your current art, 2) comparing your vision for your art to the current state of your art, or 3) comparing real-life references to your art—the result is always less than perfect.

Overcoming perfectionism

“The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried” —Stephen McCranie

I notice when I am feeling “precious” with something, trying to make it perfect. I notice a sensation in myself that is a shrinking away from failure. Whenever this comes up, I literally destroy what I’m holding onto. Oftentimes, once I’ve scribbled erased a problem area, my mind’s eye can see the possibilities that the piece holds.

Don’t be afraid to erase that difficult-to-draw hand, turn that perfect eye into a scribble, or wipe the slate clean and start a totally new version. Many times you may discover you’ve drawn a beautiful thing, but that it is wrong for the piece. This is an especially good time to ease. If you drew something beautiful once, you can do it again. Lean into the mistakes you make because they will free you from your perfectionism one small step at a time.


Struggling with perfectionism? Watch me live on Twitch and let me know how it affects you.