"You just need more mileage"
I confess, for a time last semester I came to resent that phrase.
I guess I should clarify what mileage is (for those of you who don't know). When I talk about mileage, I'm not talking about car mileage; I'm talking about pencil mileage. It's a pretty simple concept when you think about it; the more you draw the better your skills get.
But for me that concept hasn't been as simple as I thought it would be. I would get to a point in the day where I wanted to draw, but then there would always be something stopping me. I was too afraid of making a mistake, even if it was in my private sketchbook. I was also afraid of what people would think about my work, even if I knew they'd never see it.
That insecurity extended beyond my private sketching and into my schoolwork. It was almost like I didn't want to do any sketching because I figured that I'd never really improve as much as I wanted to, or as much as I thought I was.
It wasn't until the end of last semester that I really came to terms with the importance of mileage. I have heard some people say that we all have 200,000 bad drawings in us. The important thing is having the discipline and courage to get passed those 200,000 bad drawings.
I know that there are other people who are facing the same problems that I still struggle with. It's almost like we suffer for our art, because there seems to be a constant internal struggle going on. Always wondering if what we're doing is correct or if people will like our work; it's not a fun way to spend time.
But the thing I had to realize is that you have to move on, not dwell on your insecurities. Honestly, there are only two possibilities from sketching more.
1) You get better.
2) You stay the same.
Your drawing can't get worse if you keep at it; you can't fall off the first floor.
So now I see that as difficult as it can be to conquer the blank page. If you really want to produce better art, then yes, you need more mileage.