There are a lot of aspects of art and crafts and the practice of art and crafts that make it seem a lot like a sport, or at least handled/treated like one.
For example, let’s say you practiced a sport/activity really hard, overworked yourself and got injured whether during practice or overtime. It’s possible with art too. You can get crippling injuries from practicing art without taking care of yourself.
Practice too much without proper stretching/warming up your wrists and you run the risk of carpal tunnel injury to your wrists from drawing. Back pain from poor posture, eyestrain from lack of rest. Even cool down stretches after a drawing session is important too, just like a sports practice session.
The way you practice and improve in your art too is like in sports with the right thinking, for example deliberate practice. Something that I will go into detail about how that concept applies to practicing and improving in art in the future. It involves intense focus, mental representations, feedback and refinement, towards a goal of moderate difficulty, outside your comfort zone.
Speaking of refinement, there’s a saying in art: “There’s always room for improvement.” the age old adage of practicing art. A never ending cycle of bettering yourself and your craft, which sportsmen and athletes do as well. Pushing beyond their limits, getting better at what they do.
It may seem like a stretch or just coincidences between practicing a sport and art/craft, however, once you change your thinking to your art, you will see it in a more practical, actionable light.
For example, taking proper periodical breaks during a sports practice session = taking breaks during a drawing session to stand up and stretch.
Deliberate Practice like setting moderately difficult goals of which to aspire to in sport i.e cutting down run time by a certain amount = setting moderately difficult goals in art i.e learning to draw hands from any angle without over-reliance on reference, in order to be able to draw comic panels freehand.
Feedback from a coach or yourself if you are knowledgeable enough in your sport to know what you have to do, changing your diet, etc. = Feedback from a art mentor or yourself if you have the critical eye to know what you yourself need to improve on in your art. Practicing more out of your comfort zone.
If you get injured in a sports activity, you rest till you are fully recovered and ready to practice again = if you are get injured while doing art its a sign to rest until you are ready to practice it again.
These are just some of the few common points between sports and arts, there’s actually a lot of overlap between sports psychology and the practice of art, how to get better at it, I will be writing some more articles about that. In the meantime:
I have written other articles about art theory and education here:
When Art Lecturers Don’t Show Their Portfolio
Art School Or Not Singaporean Edition
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