Why does my art get worse over time?

Why does my art get worse over time? Why does it feel as if the hurdle I’ve jumped over a million times feels higher? Why does making art get more complicated the more I do it? I have questions after a week-long focusing on Inktober 2023.

Whenever I begin to draw again, I feel the pull to create and create nonstop. I pour my heart into it, but it feels (and arguably looks) worse as I go on. Maybe it’s because my dull senses sharpen again. I see the flaws I didn’t before. I became critical where I was only pursuing an itch to draw. Why does my art get worse over time, I ask myself over and over again. I’m pulled in the opposite direction, and it makes me pause until I’ve stopped for too long. Then, the cycle starts again. I find myself up at midnight wondering, when will things get better?

This is why our mental health is important.

If my mind was “normal”, I’d probably feel this less. Probably is an unguaranteed quantifier. I cannot determine whether that is true because all artists I know fight demons we cannot see. So, maybe we’re all asking, when does it get better?

I draw and draw, and it looks worse for the wear. Then I come up with pieces that leave me in awe. (Just don’t take notice that I have comfort colors.)

However, I know the difference between painting my heart out from drawing to compensate for an imaginary sense of completion for immediate reward. One is simple while the other is flowery words that basically, I’m looking for likes. But the simple choice always gets the likes.

It makes me want to start over… to find that something I keep searching for when I draw, that something I found in my writing.

Why does my art get worse over time?

Starting over means starting the journey almost at zero as my skills have been refined through the years. I’m like a thrown clay made into a bowl. I can’t suddenly become clay again. (I took like one ceramic class in college.) I’ve built habits around comfortability, I can’t avoid that, and I return to them like clockwork.

Practice does not make perfect.
Only perfect practice makes perfect.

I believed tackling this style for Inktober would help me find that something because I’ve enjoyed drawing a children’s book for someone else. I’ve also enjoyed starting to make my own.

It finally feels as if I have a solid idea of the direction I want to head towards. When I started writing and pursuing deeper into the career, I was enjoying every moment of it. I still enjoy it now. With art, I wane easily. I wonder if this is the right path for me.

The more I wonder, the more I hesitate. When I hesitate, I question the choices I make in my process. In turn, I mess up more often.

Despite being aware, I’m going to continue to worry.

As it turns out, hyperawareness really sucks.


  1. Ever hear of “the GreatCourses.com”? There is a course called “In the footsteps of Vincent Van Gogh”. It is so well done. Keep an eye out as it goes on sales often enough. Might give the artist in you some “perspective” 😉

    1. Online courses have really been helpful. I’m actually on Skillshare and also take advantage of any tips/advices artists have shared both on their social platforms and teaching sites they may be on.

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