As a child, I used to draw, by pencil, sometimes by crayons. I grasped paint and a paintbrush from time to time too. People around who saw my pictures, kept repeating me how much talented I’m, how much I’m gifted. I never really believed them. I have always seen mistakes in my artwork, my pathological perfectionism made me too see them. There were smaller and bigger errors, most of them were negligible, however, in my eyes even the smallest flaw seemed like the catastrophe.
At the age of 13, I slowly began to stop with art. I got OCD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, a mental illness which completely buried my joy of drawing. What this disease actually stands for? People who suffer from it fight with concrete, often irrational fear and intrusive thoughts which are commonly accompanied by actions. One is, for instance, afraid that his house will be robbed; especially in that case they won’t check if the door is locked. Obsessive thoughts whisper to their ear: “Look if it’s really closed. You have already done it? Then do it again. What if you don’t look once more and then burglars will come…?” The person finally succumbs to the internal pressure and recheck the door again, once, twice, sometimes twenty times, hundred times… The fear and obsessions shake with them just as a strong wind plays with blades of grass.
I’m not one of those who verify whether they locked the door. I’m haunted by intense worry that I could potentially mess up the picture I’m working on, that it’s not good enough, that my pencil strokes aren’t as precise, quality, well-done as they should be. I’m still returning to them, I endlessly correct them, rub out them, remake them… At the same time, I’m terrified of every line I have to draw next, I’m afraid I’ll do a flaw. Drawing feels like a battlefield than, fear takes place in my mind instead of joy.
The time, I was able to finish a picture, continually grew with the onset of my disorder. At the beginning I draw for days, then for weeks, moths, finally I spent almost a year on one picture without any exaggeration. I was losing the battle. I started to be utterly defeated. Eventually, I said goodbye to artwork forever.
At least I thought it was forever. The thing is, I got the desire to fight again recently. The memories of times when I used to love drawing kicked in and I suddenly wanted to hold a pencil together with a piece of paper again. Formerly, I tended to draw according to a model but then I blamed myself that my picture wasn’t an exact copy of the template. And do it with an absolute accuracy, it is… to be honest… impossible. That’s why I decided to outwit my OCD and perfectionism. I got into drawing without models!
Firstly it came to my mind I could capture my inner feelings on the paper. You know, it’s freeing to get them out of oneself and sometimes it’s much easier to express them by the picture than by words. That’s the reason why I drew 2 demons as a metaphorical illustration of bipolar disorder which I suffer from. The finished work was subsequently published here on the blog.
I began with the second picture right away the first one was completed. I managed to accomplish it with a week. It depicts 2 jumping dolphins in the sea in, it represents a connection between abstraction and realistic drawing. You’ll see for yourself… I’m adding the picture to this blog post. I think I have made much better works in my life, yet I believe I should appreciate myself. Despite the fear which accompanied me when I was drawing, despite the moments when I wanted to stop with the whole work immediately, when I wanted to let the picture incomplete, despite this all I finally finished the image in a relatively short time. What’s more, I’m returning back to artwork after years, I have to get used to a pencil in my hand again.
And you know what, I realized one thing. There isn’t any better or worse work, there’s just work which is liked by more or fewer people. I actually don’t understand why it took me so long to come to this conclusion. I can be unsatisfied with my picture but my mum, grandma, and grandpa like it. That’s why it already has a certain value. And even though nobody liked it, it would still have this opportunity inside that one day it may be pretty in someone’s eyes.
This realization won’t magically get me rid of my perfectionism and OCD but even though it brings me a significant relief, a small encouragement, small but extremely important.
Understand, I want to go on drawing. I want to try it again and again. I want to become a drawer and I used to be. Therefore I must keep my determination. And that’s something a little uplift is definitely needed for. :)