From a very young age, I’ve learned that art can give you things that no other activity can.
Our bodies need food, water and rest, but our souls feed on beauty. We are naturally inclined to beautiful things, and there’s a special kind of pleasure in creating them.
That’s why artistic hobbies are so attractive and alluring. They give us room to express ourselves.
They provide a chance to bring life to a beauty that has been within our souls, waiting to show itself.
In doing so, they bring us joy and peace. Making art is a very pure form of meditation.
And it can be productive too, as we can create objects that can adorn our houses or be a great gift to loved ones. That’s why I love crafts. DIYs are some of my favorite pastimes. They’re so fun!
As we start the new year, you might have decided to pick on a new artistic hobby, for any of those reasons. After having tried a bunch of different crafts myself, here are some things I learned to remember when I’m starting something new.
1. Don’t spend too much money on it.
If you are reading this article, I might be a bit too late to say this, but I hope not.
When we’re starting new things, we tend to get a bit obsessed. We want to read everything about it, to watch tons of tutorials… and to buy everything we see that is related to it. Arts’ shops tend to offer tons of colorful tools and supplies. Sometimes, we’re not even sure what something is used for, but we still want to buy it, because it’s just so pretty!
But sometimes, our newly found hobby is just a passing phase. And after the initial excitement dies, we are left with all that useless stuff, shiny new.
So it’s better not to go crazy when buying things for our new hobby. Do some research and try to find out what are the essentials that you need to get started. That’s all you should buy for now. With time, if you find out you really enjoy this activity, you can invest on more supplies.
2. Don’t compare.
One big mistake people make when making art is to compare themselves with others.
When we are just getting started, it’s not fair to ourselves to compare our work with those of people who have been doing it for years. Nowadays, many bloggers make art full-time. They do it for a living! How are we supposed to be as good as them if we are just getting started, and doing it only in our free time? There’s no way to compete. We can and will get there, but it will take a little longer.
3. The beauty of art lies precisely in the “mistakes.”
When I was in high school, my art teacher told us an inspiring story. She said that when Van Gogh was living, the critics thought his paintings were horrendous, an abomination. He was criticized because he was breaking all the rules. To the people of the time, “good art” should be realistic and mimic nature’s “perfection.” But Van Gogh was there, stroking the brush on the canvas with all his strength, creating “blurry” and ridiculously colorful images. It was an outrage!
Well, we all know how much Van Gogh’s paintings are worth now, don’t we?
There is no right or wrong way to do things in art. Of course, there are technical aspects to every craft. How to position our fingers to play a certain note on the guitar. How to hold a paintbrush. But aside from that, it is all about personal style. What may look like a “mistake” to some could be gorgeous to others. Seek to find and then embrace your personal style.
4. Making art in itself is already awesome.
When I started doing nail art at age 15, I thought I was terrible. I would even feel embarrassed to show my nails to people. But you know what? Everyone thought I was amazing! Most of my friends could barely paint their nails on their own, and there I was, walking around with those nails decorated with weird spots that were supposed to be hearts and ended up looking like jam stains. Everyone said I was incredible for having the patience and skills for doing that.
Sometimes, we may feel discouraged when things turn out to be harder than we were expecting. We might feel like the results of our work are not good enough, or not good at all. I’m a huge perfectionist, so I have felt like that countless times. I have even given up on a couple of things because I thought I wasn’t sufficiently good at them.
But no matter how bad you think you are at a craft, the fact that you are practicing it is already awesome in itself. And people are going to admire you for it.
5. It’s for yourself, not for the internet.
But people’s expectations should not matter as much to us. Nowadays, we do too much for the internet. We snap pictures before we even begin to eat our food. We go places just to show people on Instagram that we have been there. We buy things just so we can be seen wearing them.
Sharing our art with the internet can be a great way to find motivation, learn new things, and make friends who share the same interests as us. But it must not become the sole reason why we make art.
Remember the reason why you started this hobby in the first place. You wanted it to be fun and relaxing. Don’t let yourself feel like you are obligated to do it even when you don’t feel like it just because people are expecting you to post. Don’t feel pressured to make it perfect just because everyone is going to see it. Don’t let the number of likes and comments determine the way you see your own work. If you do that, you lose all the fun of it.
6. Don’t forget to have fun with it!
This is the main point I want to make in this article. Never forget your hobby is supposed to be fun.
There was a period when I felt like doing nail art was an obligation. I wasn’t having fun doing it anymore, but because my friends at school waited to see my new style every Monday, I felt like I HAD to do it. So I kept on doing more and more complicated nail art designs. Some of them would take hours to complete. It got to a point where I was cancelling plans with friends to have the time to do my nails.
Until one day I finally said, “You know what? I don’t want to do this anymore!” And I took a break from doing my nails. I eventually went back to it, of course, because it is something that I really like to do.
But I don’t feel pressured to do it anymore. I only do it when I feel like it. Because it’s a hobby, not my job.
There is no need to keep on doing something that you no longer enjoy, even if you are good at it. Maintain your hobby while it is making you happy. If that’s no longer the case, go look for the next thing to try!
The world is full of opportunities to find and create beauty. What does your creative soul want to do next?