Is Procrastination Good?
I see a lot of videos and articles floating around with tips on how to beat procrastination when it comes to art and, although those tips are really helpful in beating procrastination, they often don’t say how procrastinating can actually HELP your work.
I have been a recent victim of this often scary word. Yes, as an artist, it’s one of the most feared things which can happen, especially if you have a business which revolves around you creating and producing new, exciting artworks or crafts. Nobody wants to put something off if they need to make a living, but often we find ourselves doing it anyway.
A lot of people will procrastinate on a piece of artwork to the point that they never ever end up finishing it. And this is a real shame. This is when procrastinating is BAD for your work. Stating the obvious here, but if you never finish a piece of artwork because of your constant pondering, you are never going to see the potential that the piece may have had.
So when CAN procrastination be GOOD?
I’ll write you an example.
I started a game bird piece as a Patreon tutorial way back in March this year (2017). All was going well as I had to record tutorials whilst making the piece but half way through I found my love for the piece starting to wane. The feathers became a laborious task and I used to dread spending any time on it. Dreading working on a piece of artwork is no good for anyone.
So, I did what any good procrastinator would do; I put it in a drawer and left it. In my case a “drawer” was a pile of unfinished pieces on the floor. I know, bad artist right here.
Every now and then I would pick it up, look at it and still dread completing those tricky feathers with colours I found difficult to match.
It wasn’t until 2 days ago, when I was sifting through this pile of dread that I looked upon the Pheasant with renewed vision. I suddenly decided that I would try and complete this piece.
Maybe it was my want of variation in my work again? Maybe it was the peculiar expression on the colourful birds face? Feeling the excitement in the piece again, I took to my pencils and sat and finished the bird.
Now, I’m pretty certain I know what it was that inspired me to finish the work. I had learnt new techniques and felt a lot more confident in my abilities to actually be able to draw.
Taking that time away from this piece enabled me to learn and grow to where I needed to be to be able to confidently and easily finish this lovely pheasant and give him the frame he deserves. Without time away from this piece and doing the whole procrastination bit, I doubt I would have been able to finish this piece and love it as I do now.
I fear I would have rushed the piece, ruined it somehow by hating every minute of completing the russet feathers…I don’t know about you but I never produce good work when I’m disliking the subject or frustrated by which technique to use.
So, this is an example of when procrastination can be a GOOD thing for your work. Taking that time away from a piece to learn and grow as an artist and learn new things which may enable you to produce and finish work confidently. Time away from a piece can sound like a bad thing, but in my case, it really helped to produce a quality piece of art that I can say that I am proud of.
Coming back to work on the pheasant, I learnt that I worked in a completely different way to when I began the piece. I also used a few materials that I hadn’t used for a while and found they were a perfect fit. I applied the techniques to the already completed parts of the pheasant and found it added that extra oomph that was missing.
So, my advice to any of you who may be procrastinating over a piece of work? It’s okay to stumble. Allow yourself that time away from your piece. Grow as an artist and regularly look back at old, unfinished pieces to see if a spark reignites. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you fall out of love with a drawing. Think of procrastination as a good thing to enable you to produce even better art because, more often than not, you will produce AMAZING works and surprise yourself.