Undo

This Is Why You Don’t Overuse the Undo Button

By Pamela Park |
May 19, 2022

If you’re a digital artist, the power to undo a line or brushstroke is alluring, but it may also be causing unintended negative consequences.

 A couple of months ago, I went live on TikTok. I’ve done this multiple times before but always as a digital artist. This time I broke out my traditional tools. I opened my new Moleskine sketchbook, clicked the back of my 0.3mm lead pencil, and started the first line of a portrait drawing. My lines were flowing well, and were following the direction that I visualized in my head – until I made a mistake.

Mistakes are common and easy to fix with an eraser, but that’s not what I did. The first movement I made was to tap the sketchbook with two fingers. If anyone uses Procreate on the iPad, you know this is the gesture for the command, undo. I had just tried to digitally undo my traditional drawing live in front of a few dozen people. I tried to shake it off, but I didn’t stop there. Twice, three times, and a half-hesitating fourth time left me embarrassed and confused.

We all make mistakes, whether we have to use the eraser or the power of undo to fix them. But the undo button is so fast and easy that it feeds into a feeling that an artist shouldn’t have and leaves unintended consequences. And it starts with feeling like your drawing isn’t good enough.

 

Pencil Eraser

You’re killing your curiosity

Most artists tend to be perfectionists. They want their sketchbook to look beautiful and their final illustrations to look perfect. They fear even starting work because they’re worried it won’t come out just the way they want.

 

Perfectionism is not striving to be the best, it’s driven by your fear of judgment. Deep down, you’re worried about what other people think.

 

What if they think my sketch looks bad? What if they don’t like my style? What if they’re not interested in my ideas? This kind of thinking leads you to avoid the failures and mistakes that are required for deep learning and growth. You’ll either try to avoid doing new things that you’ll be terrible at (at first), or you’ll be completely devastated every time you try something,  and may even avoid doing art for months.

Keyboard

The undo button is incredibly useful, but with the wrong mindset you can fall down a slippery slope of never feeling like you’re good enough. You could argue that an eraser can cause perfectionism, but it takes time and effort to use one. The undo button is scarier simply because of its speed and ease of use. That means digital artists have to be more cognizant of becoming addicted to perfectionism than traditional artists. The risk of adopting that toxic mindset is greater.

 

You don’t need to stop using undo

My need to undo during my live portrait drawing session was a genuine mistake that I wanted to fix. Not every press of the undo button is a desire to feed into your perfectionist tendencies. There are times when you are actually striving for excellence in your work.

 

Using undo isn’t a bad thing. Any tool that helps make your process more efficient is a good one. The catch is knowing when you are using the tool and when the tool is using you.

undo

When you use undo the right way it’s internally driven. You’re trying to be an amazing artist and use all the tools at your disposal. When the tool is using you, it’s self-destructive. You’re looking to be perfect in the eyes of others – an unattainable goal as you can never control the perception of others no matter how hard you try.

 

If you’re using undo more than five times on one line, think about whether you’re striving for excellence or digging a grave towards perfection.

 

Perfection is a shield you don’t need

When you feel like you undo more than you draw or paint, it’s a sign you’re protecting yourself. You weren’t perfect enough so you keep hitting the undo button until you find the perfect line that no one can judge poorly.

 

Your art journey is a massive adventure. If you overuse the undo button and hinder your curiosity, you won’t ever take the risks necessary to make great discoveries. Mistakes and failures are opportunities for learning and without them you won’t get anywhere as an artist.

 

At the end of the day, ask yourself if you use the undo button out of fear or out of curiosity to do better. If it’s the former, confront the toxicity and turn it around. If it’s the latter, take even greater risks to discover worlds you never thought possible.

About James Joyce

James Joyce

James is an artist from Maine and resides in California. He’s been drawing for over 10 years and knows that learning to draw feels like a long and hard journey. That’s why he created Zephyer – to give artists a healthy creative process that nurtures their growth. He aims to create a new educational framework designed to help you discover the best ways to learn to draw. James uses traditional tools along with his Wacom Cintiq 16 and Wacom Intuos Pro to improve and create his designs.

 

Website

YouTube

TikTok

Save up to $100 on Wacom Intuos

Related posts:

7 Things Holding back your art, with Sam Yang

7 Things Holding back your art, with Sam Yang

The Top 10 things I wish I’d known sooner as a freelancer, by Inkshift

The Top 10 things I wish I’d known sooner as a freelancer, by Inkshift

My art SUCKED at 19. Now Marvel, MtG, Disney, Blizzard hire me

My art SUCKED at 19. Now Marvel, MtG, Disney, Blizzard hire me

Making a cute Valentine’s Day postcard with The Bun Bun Shop’s Lina Vork

Making a cute Valentine’s Day postcard with The Bun Bun Shop’s Lina Vork

Connect with Wacom on social media

Curious about which program is best for drawing vector graphics in 2024? Visual artist @studio_viv has you covered! 🙌⁣
⁣
Head to the #WacomBlog to see how Vivienne designs a book cover in Adobe Illustrator vs. Affinity Designer using Wacom One M. ✍ ⁣
⁣
Link in bio!⁣
#wacom #design #designer #graphicdesign #vector #digitalart #artprocess⁣
221 8
WACOM HACK UNLOCKED 🔓

Learn how to customize your pen and change the brush size in just two  steps ✍️

Discover all the amazing features about your Pen in the link in bio!

#WacomOne #WacomPen
439 3
For a creative professional team like @parasolisland , efficiency and productivity is key to deliver the best results to their clients 🚀

For years they were using pen tablets and pen displays in combination with high-end monitors, and today they can reduce all of that into one single device: the New Wacom Cintiq Pro.

Thanks to the excellent colour accuracy of the Cintiq Pro 27, this makes a big difference on their workflow.

Get in touch with our enterprise team in the link in bio.

#WacomCintiqPro #Animation
191 5
Exciting news for all creatives! 🚀

💫 Join Wacom at Playgrounds for a celebration of design, animation, and gaming craftsmanship! @tad.playgrounds @weareplaygrounds 

💡 Dive into artist talks, demos, screenings, and live sketching sessions.

✍️ Swing by our booth to test out our cutting-edge pen-displays and tablets, meet Wacom experts, and pick up some pro tips!

Meet us in:
📅 Eindhoven (April 18th-19th)
📅  Berlin, DE (May 25th-26th)

For more info visit @tad.playgrounds 💫

#Wacom #Playgrounds #CreativeCommunity
166 2
🌀 City Doodling: Amsterdam edition 🚲

This time creativity strikes us directly from the Amsterdam canals in the hands of @fragileart 💫

#Doodling #Creativeinspiration #MadeWitjwacom
501 0
Two ways of scrolling in the same display ✍️👀

Which one is your favourite move? 👇

Customize your Wacom One and see where it takes you!

#WacomOne #WacomPen #CreativeInspiration
464 3
We chat with @adansilvart, illustrator and artist who has been working in branding & illustration projects for different brands. 🚀

Join us while Adan shares insights into his creative journey and the vital role Wacom products has played in his career. ❤️

#ArtistInterview #illustration #DigitalArt
341 40
Today, we celebrate World Pencil Day 🎉

Wacom has been at the forefront of innovation, creating a digital pen that allows you to bring all your creations to life and have thousands of colors and textures in a single pen. ✍️

One of the features we love most about our Wacom One is that you can use any Wacom pen or any compatible pen with it.

Have you tried any of these? Let us know in the comments. 👇

Check out our special offers in the link in bio!

#WorldPencilDay #WacomOne
580 15
Friday with F like Finished work 💫

We want to see your finished pieces, feel fry to join our artwork chain using the hashtag #MadewithWacom 🚀

How are you ending the week?

#MadewithWacom #CreativeInspiration
324 1
Bedtime stories by @nlanzillo 📚😴⁣
⁣
It’s so cool to see all you can do in 3D and animation using the #CintiqPro27 🚀⁣
⁣
#MadebyWacom in a #CintiqPro27
199 4