Coping as an artist?

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  mia_green_eyes 1 week, 3 days ago.

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  • #122702


    Hello everyone, I’m new to the community and to acknowledging my symptoms.

    I’m in my 20s and I’m a digital artist! I love drawing with a deep passion, I have since I was little. For me, you couldn’t punish me by saying “go to your room” as I’d likely be there, drawing, haha. However, I’m terrible at keeping up my art, and it’s driving me to a point where I’m frustrated to tears. I never finish any piece, all the drawings take an immense amount of time for me to finish (we’re talking about days, if I draw without a break which is usually the case, to weeks if I have breaks… which means I take forever to pick them back up). I have a vision and I love drawing the way I do, but once I finish all the interesting parts of my painting, I always slow down and eventually sort of drop it, even if I desperately want to finish it.

    I know the answer would be as simple as “don’t think too hard about it”, “it doesn’t need to be perfect” or “do it quickly” or whatever, but sadly none of those are helpful. As an artist, you have a certain way you do your art, and you love doing it, you really do, it’s just so sad seeing all these WIPs piling up…

    I also can’t keep to a project. I’ve been wanting to start plenty of projects, but I never finish them – if I even start them at all! I usually just do a drawing on the go, whatever hits my head at the time. But I always have the projects in the back of my head and I just never get to them…

    It’s so frustrating, it all makes me so genuinely sad. I feel like a failure, failing at the one thing I’m good at and have a real passion for. (instead of one of those impulse hobbies).

    I know this is a very specific topic and I’ll likely not get any responses, but it’s worth trying. Thank you for reading, regardless.

    Any ideas how to handle all of this? Thank you.

  • #122783


    Hi Ornithurae,

    I’m an artist as well and can completely relate.

    I’m still amazed I managed to get a degree, although I had to do it as a mature student as I dropped out the first time around.

    I have many projects I’ve started and never followed through with. I found I could do the work when I was at university because it had to be done. If I didn’t do it, I’d fail. It also helped that I was set briefs.

    I struggle now with motivation and procrastination, my problem is actually starting work. So at least you’re getting started, even if you’re not finishing.

    The only thing I can suggest is writing a brief, setting yourself a detailed project and a timeframe in which to complete it and stick to it, as if you have a deadline and someone needs it. I’ve seen other people suggesting using briefs from competitions, you don’t have to enter the competition but use it as a way of setting yourself the project and having the deadline, but you don’t have to submit the work if you don’t want to.

    Also don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re having a day when you’re just not feeling the work. Take time to do something else and then come back to it. At uni we were encouraged to go to the library and flick through books and magazines for inspiration. Sometimes you just need to give your mind a break and then you can get right back into it.

    Good luck!

  • #122813


    Your time lines seemed about right. I bounce between several WIPs to avoid boredom or stalls. Exercise or meditation to make myself happy or conversely find something I really don’t want to do that I can avoid/procrastinate while I’m finishing a project. There’s nothing like the feeling of finishing something wonderful instead of working in the wall of aweful goal I had set. Happy dance.

  • #123750


    Oh boy…I was stuck in the same rut not long ago. …and I still have a lot of Wip pieces on my home computer too. For me, I found it hard to finish something if it was just for me. I wouldn’t want to show someone my unfinished piece, but if I’m the only one looking at it and I got the parts done that I wanted most…I don’t know, I would just get bored with it. I could work more on it. I TRIED. But, it didn’t make me happy. And if it didn’t make me feel good doing it, why was I doing it?
    The truth is, I’m not much better at this. I try to stick to smaller pieces in my off time when I just need to draw or create something. But I have a job where I have been asked to draw and create things. I work in Indesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop almost every day now for work- and I made my boss give me deadlines, and I do get things done! If it’s for someone else, and they need me and my skills- that helps me. So these days, I don’t think about all the half-done wip stuff as much…it helps just to have something I’m assigned, get it done, and move it along. I do try to not start a side-project if I don’t have the idea fleshed out enough though. That probably does save some space on my computer.

  • #124178


    I thought that it was just me.:-)
    Perhaps try something like timing yourself? Set a timer for 30 minutes choose a subject and only create something within that time frame… then go back to it like an hour later or whenever, if you feel so inclined. 🙂 There’s a facebook group, if you do that, that’s called “Daily Spitpaint” and it’s full of artists novice to “professional”,as well as digital to fine arts, that post there art afterward.
    Also, maybe try getting a tape recorder or a small notepad and record/write down your ideas even if they seem silly. Then you can go back to them later when you’re ready or you’re looking for ideas. I try to do it, but it definitely takes some habit forming. Just some thoughts is all. I hope it helps. 🙂

  • #124455


    You just described my life but with writing instead of visual art. I wrote a lot in college because I had projects and assignments, but now that I’ve graduated it’s so much harder. I love thinking the stories in my head but never want to bother with writing them down. Or just write the “interesting parts” and get bored just like you said! And it does feel like a particularly deep and personal failure. I haven’t found a solution, but I wanted to offer my solidarity. Reading your post made me feel like I was not alone. And I wanted to encourage you that you are still an artist even in “dry seasons” where you don’t create. The creative power is still in you; your symptoms are just coming in between that power and tangible pieces of art. I believe in you and in all of us artists who currently feel alienated from our passions— that we will find a good stride again!

  • #124688


    Hi, I thought I replied before but I guess it did not post.
    I do artwork and writing. It seems to be one huge “batch” that hopefully will get all finished at some point. This last year I have focused on “organizing it all”. It is all digital luckily. And I forced myself to stop start new ones. This has not been an easy process to do. My brain would rather keep starting new creations !
    I think I will always have to work in “limited batches” though.
    I read that Robert Bateman cannot simply work on one painting from start to finish and keeps a half dozen paintings going that are at different stages (rotating). His would be too agonizingly detailed for me to finish (even in batches).

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