“How can I stop comparing myself to other art students?”
I know it can be really discouraging, when you come into class and everybody hangs up their homework assignment, and you look at everybody else’s drawing, and you feel like yours is not as good as everyone else’s. But what you need to do is to just turn that around, and tell yourself, that it’s so great that you have this chance to interact with other students in class and for their work to motivate you. I really think that students learn just as much from each other, as they do from the teacher.
For example, if you always felt every week that your drawing was the best one in the class, and all you got were compliments from students and teachers, you probably wouldn’t grow very much. You’d probably have your ego massaged, but that’s pretty much it. You’d probably have little reason to want to push yourself to do better. And yeah, it’s harder when you have to step up beyond what you think you’re capable of, but that’s how you make progress, no pain, no gain.
Art is great because you get to create your own place, you don’t have to fit into someone else’s mold. And remind yourself that visual arts is not a competition the way that athletics is. For example, in athletics, it’s really clear cut whether you succeeded or not. Either you won the gold medal, or you didn’t. Olympic gold medals don’t exist in visual art, there’s really no such thing as being “the best.” Everybody has their own opinion, what’s a good piece of artwork to one person, might not be interesting to someone else.
And remember, art is not just about technique, in fact, technique can only take you so far. I’ve had a lot of students who have incredible drawing technique and they can just run circles around everybody else. But they’ve never had an original thought, and their works are just these sort of dead, stale, technically accomplished pieces and not much else. At the end of the day, your ideas are just as important as your technique, if not more. So next time you sit down and work on an art project, ask yourself, what can you bring to your artwork that no one else can do? What is your unique perspective? How can you show that?