Let me start by saying: I LOVE to draw – even though my latest blogs may suggest otherwise (they were about procrastination, creative blocks, and my “flopped” book). What shall I say: this is a place for me to get thing off my chest. And you don’t have to do that as much if you are in a góód creative flow, apparently!

I am now slowly regaining that flow, partly thanks to my weekly scheduled creative Fridays. However, as we write, it IS actually Friday and I’m writing a blog instead of drawing. Maybe I have finally become a procrastiworker…?

But I couldn’t resist: yesterday I noticed something that I immediately wanted to share with you. Something happened to me that also happens to many participants of my workshops. A little context:

Our lunch spot: de Vondeltuin

Why can she make it work, while I can’t?
My mega-talented “colleague” Karlijn van de Wier was in the area for an assignment, and we spontaneously decided to have lunch in the sunny Vondelpark. “I know a photogenic spot!” I texted happily. “Ah great, then we can draw a bit while we’re there”, was her response. I quickly threw my drawing supplies into my bag and happily hopped out.

We chatted, we ordered, Karlijn started to draw, I took a few bites of my sandwich (food always comes first) and eventually also picked up my pen. And then I made a mistake: I looked to my side. You should know, Karlijn always has a pretty solid pace. She is also the queen of drawing coffee places. Where her page was already filled with a complete scene with perfect light, my page showed some kind of childish barn. And although I’m absolutely not the worst at drawing – hello, Karlijn and I are planning a collaboration – I was nevertheless intimidated. By my own, sweet, and equal-levelled colleague!

Make excuses and do anything but draw
I started making excuses. First eat lunch. First wipe the table clean. Are there any messages on Instagram? Clean the paint box. I can always continue at home. Shall I make an Instagram story about you, Karlijn? Handy, right? Karlijn saw through my excuses flawlessly: “You do that mainly because you are not satisfied with your drawing, and you want an excuse not to continue, don’t you?”. Busted.

What goes wrong in your mind in such a situation? I recognize it in my workshop participants: that disappointed look when someone is sitting next to them who is in a (better) flow. Wanting to hide their own work. Procrastinating and turning the page frustratedly to start all over again. It doesn’t make it any more fun. And that is exactly what drawing should be!

Comparison is the thief of joy.

Excuse #1: I’ll eat lunch first! 
Mijn resultaat van de middag

Turn frustration into fun!
And trust me, nou nééd joy, if you want to get better at drawing. The more you practice, the happier you will be with your result. The happier you get from that practice, the more you do it, the better you get. It’s as old as the road to Rome, we all know it. Then why is it so difficult?!

I’m just saying: even I know that struggle, GIRL. I actually TEACH it, and I still fall for this trap now and then. But I also learned to recognize it quickly, and to pull myself out. So what happened? I picked up a pen at home, and transformed the page into something more pretty. No, not a new page. Just worked through the frustration.

Because no matter how bad it feels: you have to go through that dead point where you prefer giving up. Making mistakes / seeing something not work out as you intended is super annoying. But you learn a lot from it. These three things may help during such a moment of frustration.

1) Don’t look at others too much. Surprising, isn’t it? And yet we – I too – keep doing it. I keep repeating it to workshop participants: be inspired, not intimidated. The overall scale of creative development is not linear. You can be amazed by a certain skill of someone, while you yourself may already be very developed at another point. You don’t have to be able to do everything at once, as long as you keep practicing sómething.

2) Keep going, even if it’s turning into a disaster. (Spoiler alert: that’s often just in your own head). Made a mistake? BEAUTIFUL: now is the time to experiment and learn. And you guessed it: you learn the most from exactly that. Use the page as an experiment: how can I make something fun out of this? Go wild with crazy colors, weird perspectives, extra dark lines … The frustration is already there, so you might as well make a party out of it. You may discover a style or technique that suits you very well. And, does it still turn beautiful after all? Bonus points!

3) Start with the right material. Sometimes “less” is actually helpful. My drawing skills and watercolor skills got a mega boost from… going back to basics! During a holiday I decided to bring only the materials listed below (except for the white marker, which I added later). Due to the limitation, I no longer had to think so long about what to draw. No more laying out pens, no more trying out paper, no more determining which format best suits this picture … Do you already feel the procrastination decreasing? Just draw. Worked like a charm. Bonus side effect: you become familiar with your favorite materials at lightspeed, which gives you extra self-confidence. Total win!

Scroll down for my material tips + 10% discount!

Therefore, listed below, one more time my favorite materials in a row. Let it be clear: you don’t need much to get started, so you better get rid of those excuses right away.

Will you let me know in a comment which excuse bothers you the most? And how are you going to make sure that you no longer have doubts?

Speaking of not doubting:

using the code Gouden2020, until Oct 2nd you get

10% discount on EVERYTHING

at Handletteringdoenwezo.nl. Plus you get all kinds of free extra’s with your order, so worth checking out (but make sure what the conditions are if you’re not in the Netherlands, because I’m not sure!)*

* As you might already suspect, this is a collaboration with Handletteringdoenwezo.nl. If you buy an item with the code – I will receive a small contribution. You don’t pay anything extra, and I really use the materials I recommend myself: they are 100% my favorites. Let’s just say win-win! :)