It feels good to feel uncomfortable sometimes
At the time of writing this I am 6 days into my 30 Faces in 30 Days Portrait Challenge. This is something I signed up for in May and have been eagerly waiting to do with a nervous tension. I took part in this because I wanted to learn something new, to develop my portrait skills and master realistic faces. While I have been doing art for years (just on a tiny canvas) I still had a feeling of nervousness doing digital portrait art.
I have been doing my art on my iPad using the app Procreate for a while now and have done many Pet Portraits, abstract paintings and anything else that has inspired me. But I have always wanted to improve my skill painting faces. I’ve always thought portraits are the hardest to paint as the human face is so distinct in it’s features and symmetry, that making a face look ‘correct’ is so difficult. So I was delighted when I came across this https://get.sktchy.com/.
So what have I learnt so far? It’s early days and I’ve not learnt ‘How to draw a face’, what I have learnt is far more important than that. I learnt I could draw a face, the thing that was stopping me before wasn’t a lack of ability. It was a lack of confidence in my ability to draw a face which made it such a struggle. This was just after 6 days.
I was able to draw something that looked like the reference photo and feel proud of it. But this wasn’t an easy learning curve, I didn’t start the challenge and suddenly find it a breeze. This course was for experienced artists, specifically experienced portrait artists, weathered professionals who have sold their artworks or amateurs who already have portrait experience.
If you’re anything like me, when you begin to get into something you start by following loads of people doing what you want to do on social media so you can see their work and be inspired and learn from it. This app works in a similar way, every day you are shown a new artists video sharing their style and application process . Some are great at explaining their process, telling who ever is watching how they create their masterpieces, others are not. There are some styles I liked, some I wasn’t keen on and a lot I didn’t enjoy at all. Each one is different and some very so far removed from how I had been painting my portraits and took me completely out of my comfort zone. I was having to adapt the desired end result to fit with my style, while also seeing examples of everyone else’s work, I was learning how to allow a new way thinking to my influence my work.
This gave me far more confidence than I ever could have imagined! It was like being at school when you thought you were the only person who was struggling in class. The frustration at not being able to do it perfectly turns to embarrassment and chips at you confidence. The thing is, you’re not the only one who can’t do it. You’re not the only one making mistakes. You’re all in the same boat learning something new, so when you can see other artists you realise you’re not the only one not getting it perfect first time.
I hear all the time how the Be Inspired Online Membership has changed the lives of so many nail artists, not just because their nail art is better and they are becoming more and more successful. But because their confidence has grown, they believe in their skills rather than doubt them. Their realisation doesn’t just come from me, it comes from the support of other group members and from being able to openly ask for help from their peers. I have always appreciated these comments, I do what I do for the edification of my members, but right now, I truly appreciate the value of their words.
I am them right now, I understand their struggle. It has been far too many years since. Was taken out of my comfort zone like this when trying to learn something new. So far when. Have been investing in myself it is to further understand something I already have a knowledge of or a feeling of confidence in. But this portraits course has given me the opportunity to remember what it was like to start to pursue something that I was unsure of, that I didn’t fully believe I could do. I see what my members mean now I’m walking in their shoes.
So even though I’m only just past week one, I am enjoying this strange uncomfortable feeling, the fear and dread as I start and the slow dawning realisation as I get deeper into the process and the painting begins to develop.
As you process your nail art and find that all there are are grey clouds in front of you, blocking your vision of what this design could be. I urge you to keep going, to persevere through the fog ignoring the ugly shapes you can only half see. It is too easy to let this blanket surround you, to take comfort and not try to keep going. You will not be the better artist you can be by staying in your comfort zone.
In fact, try something different, embrace the strange and what makes you feel uncomfortable. Look at someone else’s style and see how it can take you forward. 3 out of the 6 portraits I learnt from and will continue to use them with my own style to help me grow and develop. I have learnt these from these very talented tutors, not how to draw, but instead how to leave a mark and for it to make a difference.