You know that old saying “Use it or lose it”? People usually say it in reference to physical skills, but it applies just as much to artistic skills. If you don’t keep your art skills up, you might just lose them.
I learned the hard way that “use it or lose it” applies just as much to artistic skills as it does to physical ones. I used to work on something artistic every single day without fail. Even if it was just taking time to think about projects I wanted to do in the future, something artistic was happening in my life all the time. Then there came a time in my life where things got rough, and I just didn’t have the time or energy to think about art. That time lasted for a few years.
After things in my life started to get better, I wanted to get back to my art. I’d missed it, and I wanted to be creative again. Much to my dismay, I couldn’t make a single thing. I couldn’t sculpt or draw or make jewelry or anything. It was like all the creativity had just drained out of me. In a way, it had. I hadn’t used my skills or even thought about them, and they had shut down. The good news is that eventually I was able to kick my creative side back into gear and start making things again.
You can forget how to do things. Just think about some of the things you learned in school, like trigonometry or a foreign language. If you didn’t keep using those skills on a regular basis after you graduated, you probably forgot a lot if not all of it. Artistic skills are no different. If you don’t think about it and use it at least now and then, you can forget how things are done. The more skills you forget how to use the less art you’ll be able to create.
The more you do it the better you get. Just like anything else in life, the more you practice your skill the better you’ll get at it. I remember a time when macrame was difficult for me and took forever. Fortunately, the more pieces I created using that technique, the easier it became and the quicker I was able to complete a project. This is a good reason to keep practicing. Not only will you not forget, you’ll improve your skill and abilities.
Keep up with even the odd skills. Don’t think that because you rarely use a skill you shouldn’t do it once in a while. You never know when you’ll need that odd skill. Just as an example, About once every year or two I get myself a latch hook project. Why would I need to remember how to do latch hook? Well, I was just working on an Amigurumi doll, and I used a latch hook technique to put the hair into the doll’s head after it was stuffed. If I never did latch hook, I might have forgotten how to do that, and I would have been stumped on how to add the hair to the doll.
If you want to make sure you don’t lose any of your artistic skills, I suggest using them as often as you can. I know from experience that it can be difficult, but it’s well worth it. No matter how bad or stressful my life gets now, I find time to work on something crafty or creative. Whether I’m writing about my skills, thinking about them or actually using them, I do my best to keep them active. I even pull out odd things that I haven’t worked on in ages just to make sure I still can. Keep your skills active, and you’ll always have them at your disposal when inspiration strikes.