Embracing the Flaws in Your Art

Updated: Oct 20, 2020

As I have been traveling down this creative road called “my artistic journey”, I have come across some oversized mirrors that have given me the most honesty about my work. They have shown me both the good and the bad all at once. These oversized mirrors might look normal at first glance, but when I look in them what they reflect back is more like what I would expect to see in a mirror from the circus. I swear that these mirrors are showing me a distorted view of my work, otherwise how is it where I think my work is bad others see something good or vice versa. The toughest thing to do is to look in the mirror (figuratively speaking) and be honest and supportive with yourself about what you see to help you grow in your art. I find that the best way to do this is to learn to embrace the flaws in your art. As I swallow hard in even writing this, I know all too well how difficult it is to face the fact that what you’re doing is wrong.

Embrace the flaws in your artwork, I know much easier said than done! But first, let’s agree just say it, these flaws do not define you or the work you do. You see these flaws are a part of your work right now and they’re ok. Don't let your flaws control you or your artwork because you can flip these flaws on their head and learn to overcome them. When you identify a flaw and correct it, you will learn that by embracing it and correcting it you strengthen your confidence. Let me share with you a few ways you can embrace flaws in your artwork that you believe you have.

Be Honest – Identify the Flaw

As you guys know, I love to draw fun portraits where I can go wild by giving my subjects colored hair or maybe giving a person animal ears. I have been drawing for almost two years now and I know where my limitations are or where I am too scared to look in that crazy mirror because it reflects back is not going to be to my liking. But about a year ago when I looked in the mirror, I had to be honest with myself, I was still struggling to get proportions right on my portraits. At the time I didn’t realize how wonky they were until after I was finished with the coloring portion. I was frustrated because this was just continuing to happen. I could have just accepted that this was something I could never correct and that I was just not talented enough to do it right. Instead I decided to look at this as a challenge to flip this flaw. I searched out classes and a mentor who was able to review my work tell me where I was going wrong. My mentor gave me specific drills to practice until I fixed this flaw. I have to say the drills were tough on me, but I kept doing them until I saw improvement in my work. I am happy to say that I finally conquered the proportion issue and I gained a ton of confidence in knowing what I need to do to keep this flaw from controlling my artwork as I continue to draw.

Accepting What is Wrong

As painful as it is to look at your work and admit to yourself that there are things here that are wrong--accepting that they are wrong is key. Here is the point most people stop and chalk it up to being bad at coloring or simply that they are talentless. If you have made it to this point in my story and you are still reading this, I believe it is because you are the type of person who wants to grow. This is where you stop and turn those flaws into something that works to your advantage. Look at the issue that bugs you in your work and decide what actions can you take to change it. Are there classes out there that can help you with this issue? I searched around for online classes for classes that focused only on proportions in portraits. I also took time to find a teacher that I felt could speak a language I could understand and help me through this painful flaw for me. When I came across the mentor, he was unconventional, he was blunt and to the point, all of which is what I needed to hear to get me on the right path. These actions of finding classes and a mentor with one-on-one work was exactly what I needed to flip my flaw. Like I said earlier, I no longer feel powerless about proportions because I now know exactly what to do when things start to go wrong in my drawing.

Don't Let Flaws Hold You Back

I have some faults that are just part of my character. Like I am not very thorough in my planning process before starting a project. I do some planning, but I could be so much better and probably eliminate other problems I come across during the drawing process. Still I am aware of this fault but for me I don't see this as a huge fault (my practice partner Kathy sees this as a major fault, but I can work to flip her thinking later). It is just a part of my character to make decisions as I go. I am not a planner although I see the value in it, but because I know it’s not a part of my character, I don’t let this fault hold me back from creating fun drawings.

We all love this creative outlet and we should not let our flaws keep us from creating and growing in the process. Accept you have flaws then do something that turns them into assets. Take a class or get a mentor that will guide you to grow out of your flaw. Embrace the flaws in your artwork as something that is a part of you--like a scar on your leg that you can hide by never wear shorts in the summer while enjoying the outdoors, or you can embrace it as a part of your character with a great story to tell people who ask the scar. Even if you don’t like the scar there are things you can do to improve the looks of it to make you more confident about wearing shorts, but the bottom line here is don't let flaws hold you back from doing what you enjoy doing the most. It’s time to get out there and get creative with all your flaws that you can start turning into assets in your next project.

What's happening in the Corner . . .

We are now focusing our attention on coloring eyes because it's amazing how something so small can add so much emotion or attention to the image you are coloring. Big or small, there are details that will help you color successful eyes every time.

If you are reading this after we moved on to the next technique, you can find the Practice Technique Pack for Eyes here.

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