In very unceremonious fashion, I'm back. Somewhat.
It's been practically a month and a half of not touching pencil to paper at all. Well, truth be told, I tried ending my break around three weeks ago by starting a piece, and while the idea was decent, the execution was... not, and I got so upset that I didn't bother making anything again until like 3 days ago.
While the break itself seemed unnecessary, it did bring up some major issues that I wouldn't have found out until I stopped creating for a bit. The main problem being that I just made art this complicated mess that ought not to be so complicated.
When I came back to attempt a piece three weeks ago, the thing that caused a lot of issues is simply all of these stupid brushes I managed to accumulate. Namely, that I kept overthinking as to when I should use which brush—the same problem that I encountered nearly a year ago.
Really, brushes are simply tools to solve art problems. And what I found for myself is that I was getting distracted by problems regarding the tools themselves, when I ought to have been more occupied with the problems of my piece, and how to fix those instead. After a certain point of layering stroke after stroke, all of the textures and shapes of these custom brushes become practically unnoticeable.
So I got to the point where I was just like, "why even bother?" Just use one dumb brush and call it a day. At least creating art wouldn't be unnecessarily complicated as I made it out to be.
I had to modify a round brush I created a year ago so it acts similarly to Photoshop's round opacity brush, because before it kept on doing weird blending shenanigans and I didn't want to have to deal with anything more than what was necessary.
Now I'm back to this basic brush, and I really don't have an excuse to overthink now. I know how to control it already. That's the main problem I had with all of these other brushes: I had a hard time controlling them. And in reality, the difference between me using this brush and having like a pack of hundreds of brushes is negligible. It may look "different", sure, but that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make if it means that creating art is more intuitive and simple.
Another thing that I found out about myself is that I'm straight up terrible at improvising. I have to have an idea in mind, and know how the piece is supposed to look like, before I can start. If I don't, then it's a recipe for disaster: not only do I not know what I'm supposed to be aiming for, I'm not motivated in investing my time into something that doesn't captivate me. And that's mainly where most of my motivation to create comes from: seeing something in my head that I have to see physically.
When I made most of my better work, I had a clear picture of what I wanted it to look like before I started. Of course, I may find out that certain things from my head don't look good when laid out on the canvas, so I make adjustments accordingly, but the idea itself is a major reference. Even the work in my doodles page had some sort of game plan going in, else it wouldn't have been remotely presentable.
I should really just invest in the process portion of creating art. Sometimes I get so caught up in the result that I end up hating the process and in comedic fashion it also destroys the result. Go figure. At least if I make the process enjoyable, then I can get something out of it, even if the result is garbage.
But of course, that's more of an idealogy than anything. In reality, it's not at all fun to create something that looks bad, even if the process is hassle-free. It's just how it is. The thing that I have to remind myself is that I'm not devoid of any tries. Art isn't a "three strikes and you're out" type of thing. The amount of tries that you have is only determined when you finally give up.
So if it turns out like garbage, try again next time.