Shut Your Monkey: 5 Ways to Shush Your Inner Critic


Our community has inspired lots of discussion about how to use different art materials, make drawing part of your daily life, and how to find encouragement in your sketchbook. Out of all of these things, certain nagging thoughts can still stand in the way of you taking the cap off your pen and laying down some lines. There lives a monkey on your back and he can’t wait to criticize whatever it is that you do. Here are five key mantras that might curb that inner critic and keep you focused on what’s important: the process of the drawing.

1. Done is better than perfect.\
We’ve said this before and we’ll say again: Your inner critic may tell you that you can’t pull it off—that drawing you want to make. Is that a reason to not try at all? Start drawing. Start somewhere. put your pen on the paper and draw. Don’t think, draw. Before you know it, you have made a drawing. It may not be the perfect drawing, but it’s done. And that’s a lot better than no drawing at all.
2. If it’s not difficult, we’re not learning.\
Sure, you can doodle, just because your inner critic says that’s all you can do. But what if you would challenge yourself (and your inner critic), by starting a drawing that seems very difficult? Take your time for it. Come back to the drawing. Don’t think about whether it’s good or not, who cares? You’re learning because you’re exploring by doing something new, scary or hard. You’ll see that you will end up with the feeling of accomplishment, and you’ve shut down that inner critic.
3. What others think of you is none of your business.\
To be more creative throughout your days, you may need to do things that not everyone does. Like drawing out on the street or at the doctor’s waiting room. Drawing in public is a great way to fit drawing into your (busy) life. Others may think it’s strange if you pull out your sketchbook to draw while in line at Starbucks. But do they really? How do you know what they think? As long as they don’t tell you, what others think, is none of your business. Get out and draw! And even if they do tell you what they think, chances are they will simply be curious and amazed that you’re brave enough to draw in public.
4. It’s just pen and paper.\
Your inner critic tends to make a big deal out of things. We’re talking about creativity, about drawing. What exactly is your inner critic screaming and panicking about? Is it a case of life and death? No, it’s just pen and paper. There’s probably another page to turn to or another scrap on your desk. Relax.
5. What’s the worst that could happen?\
The hurdle to get over before starting a new drawing or the first page of a brand new sketchbook can be tough. Ask yourself why it feels so scary. Really, what is the worst thing that could happen? Just dive into that blank paper and fill it, because a sketchbook full of a hundred drawings that taught you something is better than an empty sketchbook collecting dust on your bookshelf.

So next time the monkey roars, think back to these ideas. You can even take one and sketch it in your best hand lettering on the first page of your sketchbook so you know where to look when the inner critic starts barking!

It’s hard to hear monkey chatter when you’re busy taking art lessons. You’ll find the klass that’s right for you on our kourses page.

3 mins

Stay up to date in your inbox

Stay up to date in your inbox

You might also like