It does not have to be perfect. I think this is the best lesson that I have learned and experienced so far during my art classes. Amazing things can happen when you do not cling to the idea that the end result should be beautiful or perfect or exactly like you intended from the start. Maybe during the process you do something which creates an interesting composition or image even though it was not what you intended to do. Why not go with that?
My teacher told us that it is better not to focus on making a pretty picture. Make something ugly. Really, give it a try I felt how liberating this can be during the monoprint and dry point printing workshops I did at art school. Because I could not do much about a slip of my hand or if something turned out 'wrong', I felt more at ease to experiment. And it was a lot of fun!
So I am trying to keep this in mind now all the time. As a perfectionist, I am not really comfortable with messing up. I do not want to make mistakes, I want my art to look pretty. But that can hold me back. I still have not finished a drawing that I made a year ago because I am afraid I will ruin it while colouring it... (I am not as good at colouring yet as I would like to be). I often get annoyed by the sketches I make because they look wrong or ugly in my opinion and I actually think that is one of the reasons why I find it hard to sketch every day, which, ironically, would help me improve (that, and I am a bit lazy ^^'). And I would love to write stories but I often get stuck because of that little voice that tells me it is not good (enough). As if my writing could be perfect the first try!
Can you remember when you first started out drawing (or maybe writing)? When I look back at the drawings and doodles I did at high school, I see all the things that are wrong with them, but I also see the fun I had in drawing. Also, there are a lot that do look good as well. I did not give up then, so I will not stop now Some of the things I wrote back at primary school are actually very funny and a good read, so I was thinking to myself: why not keep at it and slowly improve like I did with drawing? We all start out somewhere and improve by enjoying the process, making mistakes, learning from them and fixing them the next time.
It feels a bit strange to share all of this with you guys, but I thought it might help you when you get stuck because you do not want to make mistakes. Experiencing how liberating it can be to not think about a beautiful end result all the time, and actually slowly starting to think about this less and less, is great. It still is not easy for me, but I am making progress ^^ And I can practice a lot during the next module of my art education: 3D art. It is going to be a challenge because I have no experience with sculpting at all. But hey, I'll just make something ugly