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Creative Strategy Striving for Perfection

Sofa Sketch 1A perfectionist is a person who “strives for or demands the highest standards of excellence in work, especially in his or her own work.”

Striving for perfection can be both good and bad. The perfectionist drive is beneficial when it pushes you to do better. On the contrary, the perfectionist drive can also paralyze the creative process.

The creative process necessitates a willingness to be open to new and different outcomes, not simply one idea of “perfection.” Therefore, the goal of any drawing should be to do the best you can at that moment and then move on to the next drawing. Your drawings may never be “perfect,” but they can be successful if you set realistic goals.

When striving for perfection, look at your goals in perspective. Identify who is deciding perfection, consider your current level of skill, and make sure your idea of perfection is reasonable.

A perfectionist voice can help you improve if it says: “I want to try this again, I think it will be more successful the second time”. However, a perfectionist voice that says: “This is not perfect, it’s not good,” can paralyze your progress. Strive to improve your skills, but also be able to put aside a perfectionist voice that prevents you from being open to different outcomes, and thus can be discouraging as you practice.

One way you can push aside the perfectionist voice is to allow your drawings to be finished when you think you are 80 percent done. This way, you will learn to accept varying outcomes, and then be able to move on to new drawings.

Drawing Notes:  Keep in mind, freehand drawings are not the same as computer generated or photographic images. People are often attracted to freehand drawings because they are “not quite right.” Being drawn by hand gives them more character than photographic perfection. For example, see the sketch above. The drawing is not perfect. Several objects look discombobulated, and yet the image interesting  and not  photographically perfect.

Want to learn more about strategies and drawing techniques?  Check out my book:  Exploring Perspective Hand Drawing, Fundamentals for Interior Design, Second Edition

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