Letting go of perfectionism is something I actively work towards every time I pick up a pencil or paintbrush. As someone who used to let the frustration of “imperfect work” cloud my enjoyment of creating, I made it a priority to shift my thinking! Here are a couple things I like to keep in mind that have helped me release expectations and reconnect with the joy of my process.
Accept you are not a human printer
Imperfections are a sign of the hands that created the work! There is beauty in having a human element—a human mistake—in your creations. I find that leaning into that and allowing my mark to show has released many of my expectations of what my work “should” look like.
Appreciate what you learn from not creating that “perfect” piece of art
Failed work is never truly a failure, is it? It’s understandable to be disappointed if the work you produced doesn’t match the exact vision that led you to create it in the first place. But whether you love the end product or not, the process of creating is never wasted. It is guiding you toward a new vision, a new technique or a new work that is pushing to make its way into the world. Making mistakes is a sign of growth, so I’d be more worried if you’re not creating imperfect
The finish line might be closer than you think
I’ve often noticed in those late end stages of a piece, when I’m worried about getting the highlight just right or correcting one small error, is when my friends and family start congratulating me for a piece well done. This serves as a good reminder that I’m getting caught up in details and haven’t stepped back to appreciate the full picture enough.
You can always try again!
If nothing else sticks, remember this: there’s always tomorrow, a new canvas and a chance to start over! Iteration is a key part of most creative processes—maybe this creation is only your first draft on the way to your masterpiece.
By Jana Rolland