Should You Draw Things You Hate?

You know what I hate? Buildings.

Can’t stand them.

The very sight of a building makes me sick.

Okay, that last part’s not true, I love old buildings. Old castles, old churches, old banks. I love being in them.

You know what I hate? DRAWING buildings. PAINTING buildings especially.

I don’t know what it is, but every time I have to draw or paint a building (which is not often), I can’t stand it. They never look the way I want them to, when I start a painting that has buildings, it’s as if my brain/creative spirit turns into a cat or a toddler throwing a tantrum where every time you try to pick them up, they turn into liquid and escape through your arms, I have to paint them over and over again- and the multiple layers of failed buildings add to the yuck factor even more.

And I believe lots of artists have something like that. That one cursed subject that they just are not good at no matter how hard they try.

Somebody who likes drawing horses might not like drawing motorcycles, somebody who likes drawing animals is asked to paint a portrait of a human and they run away screaming (with good reason. Humans are insanely difficult and only drawn and painted by masochists).

This is the work in progress of someone who enjoys suffering

So… should you keep trying to draw things you just don’t enjoy? Here are three reasons you shouldn’t… and five reasons you should. You can decide

Why you should NEVER draw things that don’t inspire you.

1. It can be detrimental if you’re a beginner and just learning how to make art.

If you’re a beginner artist especially, this is important. You’re not going to learn how to paint or draw things as quickly if you don’t enjoy it. I believe that if you enjoy drawing or painting horses, you are going to be motivated want to learn everything you can to make those horses as beautiful, believable, and something for you to be proud of as possible.

2. It’s taking away time from drawing things you DO enjoy

If you’re not a professional artist, a student at an art school, or otherwise don’t have a lot of free time, then chances are you don’t have a lot of time in the day where you have the energy to create art. If you decide for whatever reason to draw things you don’t enjoy, then that’s taking away time from drawing the things you do enjoy.

And chances are the things you do enjoy require a lot of training and skill. You might have gaps in your knowledge on how to draw those things you enjoy. Wouldn’t you rather fill those gaps rather than waste time drawing things you don’t enjoy?

3. Life is already full of “chores,” art does not have to be one of those things.

If you have a 9-5 or retail job, bills you have to keep up, student loans, then you already know that life is difficult and unfair. Not to mention war, famine, corrupt politicians, and those things you can’t control yet are constantly bombarded with. Art is therapeutic, fun, and gives you the opportunity to create and add something beautiful to this world, to create a gift for someone you love, and it can spiritual needs to if you’re a spiritual person (most artists I know are VERY spiritual in some form or another). Why why WHY would you want to make art yet another chore?

Why you should ALWAYS try to draw things that don’t inspire you

1. Sometimes, you have to.

If you do go to art school, work for an art director, or have freelance clients, chances are they’re going to want you to draw things you don’t enjoy. Sure, maybe they are better off hiring someone else who actually does enjoy drawing the things you don’t, but what if you were still good at drawing those things even if you don’t enjoy them? That would be very valuable. Another thing too: what if you, like me, hate drawing buildings, but love making portraits of people (because you’re a masochist).

2. You don’t have to do it ALL the time

Again, this is more geared at people who are trying to get by freelancing while juggling the 9-5 job. What if you tried drawing or painting things you hated… just for a week? Make a challenge out of it? You don’t have to draw the things you hate all the time, but if you did so some of the time here and there, it won’t kill you, and you’ll probably learn something… even if that something is you truly NEVER want to draw those things again.

3. You can learn new things from drawing things you can hate…

It seems that certain subjects have different rules for drawing them. If you draw animals, you have to know how to draw fur or scales well. If you draw buildings, you draw lots of geometric shapes. If you draw people, you draw more curves and soft edges (not to mention hair).

I’ve always found that learning to draw something new, or coloring in a different medium actually improves your skills when you go back to your usual subjects or mediums. I’ve learned a lot about oil painting because of the different rules I had to learn for colored pencil. I’m also finding that drawing humans requires a lot of geometric shapes that I’m learning more quickly when I draw buildings.

4. …Then apply it to things you love!

What if somebody gives you a really cool commission where you paint a relative of theirs, and the paint the old family home in the background? Wouldn’t that be cool? Creating a little bit of history there?

5. In the end, you might realize that you don’t hate it after all.

Maybe you never really hated those subjects, but instead, you were just never taught the right way to draw/paint them. After spending time learning to draw the things you hate, you might find you don’t hate it after all, you would have learned a lot more, and become a more interesting and well rounded artist!


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