So I had a little bit of an epiphany the other night concerning my mental blocks against creating art and why I've essentially stopped (and some pitfalls of creativeness in general). Bear with me here as I ramble a bit ...
When I was young, I was drawing all the time. Constantly. It was something more than normal childish scribbles--I remember writing and illustrating a rather macabre story when I was about 7--but I loved doing art. I was OCD even then about my coloring (pencils and crayons and markers) and always tried to stay in the lines.
When Allison and I were about 9 we somehow stumbled upon a particular style of drawing people. I have no idea where we picked it up from, though upon reflection last night I think maybe ancient Egyptian art may have been an influence. It also bears some remarkable resemblances to anime (large eyes) though we'd never seen any then.
We continued to draw and refine this style for a couple years. We both wrote stories and illustrated them and drew all sorts of various collateral material for said stories. Then, when we were 13 we stumbled across anime and comic books (Star Wars of the Dark Horse Comics variety) that were done in a more realistic style than I had previously encountered.
My epiphany basically revolved around the idea that this is when I started my downfall as an artist. Don't get me wrong--I have learned a TON in the 13 years since then (holy shit that was half my life ago AAHDGFJSFHFS). I've learned about anatomy, proportion, shading, composition, etc etc, gotten a tablet and mastered Photoshop to a degree. I've produced some art I'm very proud of since then. What I meant by my downfall was that was when I pretty much stopped drawing with pure love and desire for *drawing*.
This is kind of hard to put in words. I think it all boils down to: I was introduced to this vast new world of wonderful art, and have since come to follow and admire several artists on the internet. But I became too hung up on wanting to draw EXACTLY like them, immediately. I wanted to be able to put out that kind of work effortlessly. I stopped focusing on what I COULD do, and how to get better at it, and became focused on dreaming about how I WANTED to draw.
I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting to aspire to draw in a certain fashion, but I went about it the wrong way. (Bear with me, I'm fumbling with verbalizing this.) Basically, to make an extreme tl;dr shorter--I've spent so much time amassing resources and tutorials and reading on techniques and etc that I HAVEN'T PUT HARDLY ANY OF IT INTO PRACTICE. Also I'm a perfectionist and if I don't get something right within the first few tries (hello, math and science) I get pissed off and usually quit.
I'm afraid to really draw again. I've forgotten that sketches are allowed to be imperfect and messy and bad. I forget that in order to get better I actually have to (gasp) practice and mess up. Mostly, I just wonder where I would be now as an artist if I'd never stopped drawing in that old style and just kept at it, and refined and grew on it. I'd be a whole lot more prolific, that's for sure. And I probably wouldn't be sitting here crying about how I can't draw anything from my imagination and have to use references for everything.
Excuse me while I go be emo about the artist I could have been. D:
(p.s. an example of said old style can be found in my scraps here