Overcoming the Fear of Creating through Understanding How To Create

New beginnings are terrifying.

Whether you’re trying out a new diet, moving, starting school, a career shift, or even picking out a hobby, the prospect of change is always a little unsettling.  There’s a lot to consider.  Is this change something that will impact the rest of my life? What if something goes wrong?

Fortunately, new beginnings are also exciting.  What if something goes right?

Creating a blog is something I’ve put off for many years.  I’ve tried and I’ve failed before, because I had no idea how big of a commitment it would really be.  Now I can safely say that I’m ready, and I’m excited; even if I’m a little scared.

Maybe you’re ready for a change, too.  Maybe you’ve decided you want to jump into that hobby you’ve been meaning to pick up. If that hobby is drawing, painting, or even taking that preexisting hobby of drawing/painting and turning it into digital art, look no further.  You’ve come to the right place.

If your dream is to learn how to draw, you’ve probably at one point been in the presence of an artist while they were in the process of creation and felt that slight tinge of jealousy.  “I’d kill to be able to draw like that,” you think. But then you go home, get out the pencil and paper, and you have no idea where to start.  The white blank sheet is far too intimidating.

Whether you want to make visual concepts in your head come to life, or you simply want to learn to draw a realistic portrait, you have to start somewhere.  

Most of the time, the reason that people give up art is because they’re afraid of the failure involved.  Not being good at something immediately, especially something as personal as creation, is scary.

It’s okay to be scared, but it’s important to do it anyway.  This is how we learn and grow.  Before you can learn to do anything, you must gain the confidence to be able to do it.

Simple pencil drawing of a woman looking straight at the reader


There’s a lot to take in when you’re first starting.  If you’re brand new to art, don’t jump into trying to make a masterpiece.  You’ll overwhelm yourself.  Rather, you should focus on sketching.

What’s the difference between sketching and drawing, you may ask?

While sketching is different for everyone, the basic idea remains the same:  it’s a quick manner of getting ideas onto a page.  It allows you to get your thoughts onto paper.  You can sketch with a lot of detail, or sometimes a sketch is just a few scribbles placed in specific spots.  You can sketch something from life, such as your shoes, or you can sketch something from your brain.  Your sketch can even include written notes.  Sketching is completely tailored to you.  You can sketch however you feel comfortable, and you don’t have to worry about making it “pretty.”  If your sketch is only legible to you, then so be it.

To give you an idea, here’s some sketches from a few different artists.

While these may look like nothing, these sketches are building very important skills.

  1. You’re creating without the limitation of worrying about how something looks
  2. You’re letting ideas flow, sparking creativity
  3. You’re learning what you like to draw
  4. You’re learning how to draw without even realizing it

Sketching is exploration, and therefore sketching should be free.  I recommend keeping a sketchbook on you at all times.  Personally, I like my sketchbooks on the smaller side, so I can fit one in my pocket or in my purse.  Others like large books so they can fill the page with more details.  Again, it’s completely tailored to what you like. (bonus: sketching is useful for graphic design, too.)

This is not to say that sketching can not be a fully fleshed out idea. Some artists like to sketch in detail. This is where the lines between drawing and sketching become blurred.


Drawing is a little different than sketching, as it tends to be more thought out.  Drawings can be finished pieces.  You’ve probably heard before that in order to get good at drawing, you must draw every day.  While this is true, it’s also important what you draw, and that you draw constructively.

Drawing stick figures is not trying.  Drawing stick figures will get you nowhere.

Drawing requires some effort, but good news! Effort and skill are not one and the same. Beginners can still draw, but when one is drawing, they must take their time and care for the piece. If you try your best, you will have the best piece of art you could have possibly made. Drawing successfully requires thought, and for best results, an understanding of your subject matter and your medium. Understanding the Elements of Art & Principles of Design is essential.

While you’re learning especially, it’s important to be looking at a reference.  Whether the reference is from life or a photo, having something to continuously be able to look at while you’re making the drawing allows you to compare and adjust your art as necessary.

Simple graphite still life of two tangerines on a piece of crumpled paper: the left tangerine is peeled while the one on the right is still in tact

Again, the line between drawing and sketching can very easily be blurred, and that’s the beauty about art. It’s fluid, and not everything needs to be categorized. Sometimes what begins as a sketch turns into a full drawing. Remember that they are linked, and the key to drawing successfully is to SKETCH!

To Conclude

Guidance from someone experienced in the field you wish to grow in is an invaluable resource.  Not knowing where to begin with art can make the entire prospect feel exclusionary.  “Maybe I’m not meant to be an artist,” you may think. But I’m here to tell you that you are, if that is what you desire.  I’m here to help you.

If you have any art that you would like to show me, I would love to see it!  Please email artwork to bmartin.artdesign@gmail.com and it may very likely wind up on the blog for a critique.  Remember, the goal is to grow and help each other.

Your prompt for the week:  Create a flower.  You can use any medium you like.  Go as detailed, abstract, or as surreal as you wish.  Email the finished piece to bmartin.artdesign@gmail.com  to be featured on the blog.


4 thoughts on “Overcoming the Fear of Creating through Understanding How To Create

  1. As an artist that is always struggling with ideas and afraid to try new things, this really informative of what I want to do to improve myself as an artist. I mind as well follow your prompt!!


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