Sometimes I can crack on with a sketch and everything is great. I feel confident in my abilities and proud of my achievements. Then there are those other times where I get so wound up with my disabling lack of talent that I throw my sketchbook across the room and sulk.
After a while sat staring at the lifeless book lying crumpled on the floor, I tried to explain my actions to Pete, who subtly moved from sitting at my side to hiding behind the sofa.
Trying to get through those times when no matter how hard I try that stupid pencil won't do what I bloody well want it to, it feels like I'll never be able to draw ever again. Like all the talent I've ever possessed is slipping through my fingers like sand.
That irritating little voice in my head yells like a ringing in my ears "this is what you're supposed to be able to do for a living!" It needles at my brain and my confidence until that little swell of pride I had in myself and my works bursts with a deafening bang.
The worst is the inconsistency. Being able to draw to my hearts content one day, and then the next not being able to even hold a pencil properly. The voice bullies me, screams "I know you can do this! I've seen you do it before!!" but alas, those shapes on the page just don't come together to form a whole.
My first anger-fueled reaction was blame. When you're angry, it always feels better to point the finger at someone else, rather than force all that negativity down your own gullet. I went on a long, hateful and completely illogical rant at the shortcomings of Coventry University's Illustration course before directing my aggression towards the old classic - my tools. My poor sketchbook had already taken a heavy beating, and the pencils were next in the line of fire. When anger and frustration drives you, you become blind and a little bit bonkers.
The truth is I can't really blame anything, not even myself. There is no blame in a situation like this. Sometimes, it just doesn't flow. And as crazily irritating that is, beating myself up for getting it wrong is not the way to go. Because when it comes to creativity, there is no wrong answer. And that's the part I love most. So be still tiny annoying voice in my head, I shall tolerate you no longer!
I made a list to encourage me to persist, looking back on all my creative endeavors to gather a few lessons that put things into perspective for me. If you're ever in that dark, angry, throwing-art-supplies kind of place I recommend the exercise, at the very least to save a mug or two from ending up against the wall…
The suffering of my poor little sketchbook is perhaps a lesson to me in maintaining perspective. The squished and folded pages of what used to be a very lovely and crease-free log of my art shall forever be a reminder of the importance of clear thinking. May it be the last sketchbook to suffer such a fate...