So, you know I’m an artist. (Right? Maybe?) I’ve been drawing more or less since I was 12. But I’ve never had that true artistic freedom and creative intelligence that other fine artists have. There’s always been something missing and it drives me nuts.
One thing that sucks about being creative and being an INTJ is that I’ve found the two often war with each other when I want to get something artistic done. I hated it when I was younger. I wanted to be flowing and creative like the INFP artists I knew. Their art came from a chaotic, emotional place deep inside them. Mine came from a need to order things and be structured. My art reflected a stiffness that I eventually realized was stemming from my core temperament. It was very difficult to step outside of that compartmentalized, regimented style to let myself be more abstract and fluid.
So what changed?
We know that the INTJ’s auxiliary function is Extroverted Thinking, and as such, it can be difficult to remove its left-brained influences from the artistic process. Te is the quintessential left-brained function. At some point I learned that it was okay for Te to play a role in how I create art. Even desirable at times. Some art is actually geared towards the ability to use extroverted thinking!
For instance, I had always struggled with advice that told comic creators to move away from the use of boxy panels and be KrEaYtUvE by having the art smeared all over the page like a drug trip. For me, putting things into boxes was the whole damn point. I knew how to think in defined, pre-planned units. Once I realized it was okay to own my left-brained analytical nature and utilize it to make art, I started making a lot more art. In fact, panels in comics are great! They create structure and organize the thoughts on the page. See how Te’s influence matters here?
So not only do I benefit from thinking of how to organize artistic information on a page (such as in comics or composition), I’m also capable of the planning and strategy that is essential to producing pieces effectively. (Not that I always get it done, yeah, yeah.) I think of a plan, organize my resources, strategize my use of time, and then produce. It always felt nice scoring higher on an art project than my incredibly talented artistic friends because I had the ability to pay attention to the requirements and execute it within the proper parameters (you know, on time).
This isn’t to say that I don’t still run into issues with being creative. I find it’s easier for me to edit or alter an existing piece than it is for me to fabricate something out of nothing when it comes to making art. At times, things that should be obvious from a right-brained perspective take me longer to grasp. I’m never going to get that free flowing, truly abstract form of art to come out of my pen. And that’s okay!
If you have a personality type that you think “can’t do” something, think again. The truth is, we can learn any skill we put ourselves to. It’s true that we may have further to go than those whose personalities naturally mesh with that particular skill, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Think of ways your personality lends itself to your particular task, regardless of what it is. It turns out that a lot of activities involve more than you’d realize. Chances are, your skills are among them.