Progress, not perfection, is fine on paper, but when it comes to the crunch, what does it mean? It might sound a little crazy, but being a perfectionist with your art, can be really detrimental to you improving and moving along to the next level. And I sympathise that it’s not easy to say something is finished, when you look at it and tweak it, and then tweak some more and so on.
As an artist, it’s quite likely in your nature to strive for perfection, but in this article, I am going to try and persuade you that it is not always in your best interests to do so.
The ethos behind being an artist is to grow your skills, to always be striving to improve. This is especially true when you are you are at the beginning of your journey and looking towards your art as an income.
To be able to price your artwork effectively, it needs to meet certain standards, so it’s understandable that each piece will need to be ‘perfected’ in your mind, but just how much is this strive for perfection stunting your overall ability to improve?
Did you know that 90% of learning is done in the first two thirds of your work?
Yet you spend around 50% of your time working on the final third of it.
That’s a considerable amount when you think about it. Let’s look at this in terms of actual time and really simplify it even more. Let’s say I have completed a portrait and it has taken me 40 hrs in total.
Essentially, that means, I spend 20hrs on the final third of my drawing, yet I’ve already gained 90% in terms of what I will learn from creating this piece.
That is a lot of time, for very little reward. And the reason for this, is that I will spend far too much time completing each section of my portrait, to what I perceive as perfection. When in actuality, I could finish up way sooner and start my next piece.
By doing that, I am straight back on to learning again and furthering my skills and knowledge, rather than utilising all my time on too much perfecting.
Volume Over Perfection
This is what you should be aiming for, as this is a sure fire way to improve your skills and reach where you need to be far sooner. And I’m not suggesting you become a machine, endlessly churning out sub-standard work like a conveyor belt, but do start to analyse exactly where your time is going and ask yourself if a little less time could be spent on tweaking, and whether your time could be better spent, by moving on to the next project.
Over the course of a year, if you measured two artists at the same level, who do you think would have improved the most? The artist who completed 25 pieces that s/he spent too much time perfecting, or the artist who completed 50 pieces?
With some time management, you can achieve and learn so much more, if you allow yourself to move on and start that new piece.
You may also be interested in this article ‘Do What You Love’