A quick list of tips that helped me draw while suffering from depression:
- For commissions: I communicated clearly up-front that their picture could take a long time and might not get finished. It was embarrassing but also a relief and took away a lot of the pressure. Almost everyone was understanding and patient even when I had to give refunds.
- Made it easy to fall into drawing. Opened my drawing program and got everything set up before I went to school/work/sleep so it would be the first thing that appeared when I came back.
- Rewarded myself with a treat even if I only did 5 minutes of drawing a day. If you can just get started, the 5 minutes often naturally turns into hours.
- When nothing was turning out right, I remembered that I was the only person in the world who was comparing my drawing to the “potential” picture in my head that I wasn’t living up to. Everyone else was comparing it to “a blank page” and thought it was awesome by comparison.
- Related to the former, this image in general:
- CBT techniques to short-circuit the bad thoughts. This free book outlines basic techniques and I can’t recommend it enough: https://archive.org/details/FeelingGood-TheNewMoodTherapy
- Shrimp method for a mood boost when I felt like I couldn’t draw anything: https://xuu.es/post/30177790499/shrimp-method
To depressed artists reading: if none of these tips help you, please don’t get down on yourself. You aren’t bad or lazy… you are simply having trouble – as anyone would! – executing an incredibly difficult and complex skill while suffering from a life-threatening illness.
Take care of yourself, and I hope your days get brighter.