I hope everyone is doing great today! I was going to write a post continuing last week's one on design language...but instead, I think I'm going to try to channel the spirit of the day.
For many of us who are either students or new professionals, this career can feel like a fight to the death. Oh, we love it, don't get me wrong, but it is a *struggle* Learn stuff, make finished pieces, engage with your fan base, write blog posts, go to life drawing, be original, study from life, and all the while be happy and upbeat, because you are "Living the dream."
Some days, the dream smacks you in the fucking face (forgive my language). You do your best to live up to what you feel like is expected of you, and you don't get the job...or you get laid off in the first round of cut-backs...or you get a bad grade, or a bad review, or sometimes worst of all...dead silence for months. We know we shouldn't look for external validation, but man, sometimes...yeah, sometimes.
This is an incredibly difficult field to get into. We talk about the technical difficulties, the skills, the work effort, all that stuff...but that's the easy part for most of us. The hard part is the emotional difficulty. The feeling you're getting nowhere, or no one cares, or no one EVER WILL care. The feeling that you have to be at 110% all the time.
Look - Olympic athletes take days off. Professional football players sit on the bench when they are injured. It happens. You're going to get injured at some point. You're going to get hit directly in your weak point, whatever that is, and it is going to drive you to your knees in pain that most people will never understand.
Seriously...I know it sounds like new age bullshit, but that's where your wellspring for creativity comes from. Protect the source.
After that, remember, your life's goal should not be to reach the goal....your life's goal should be to live the most fulfilling life you can while trying to reach your dreams.
Take a break. Take a breath. Take a bath. If you just took a huge ego blow about having enough finished work, don't try to make finished work. Go sketch with a brushpen. Get some good ideas, get excited again. If you're a runner and you blow out your knee, you don't keep running....you rest for a while, and then you go for a swim.
Don't let your fears be an excuse to do nothing...depression is a serious issue, and beyond the scope of this blog post - but if you feel too down to do anything at all, get help. If you feel fear about doing something you feel inadequate at - go do something else for a while.
This has been a tough year for a lot of people. You're not required to be optimistic all the time. You're not a failure for being down, or scared, or angry, or for being so envious of the people who look happy that you want to wipe the smile off their face with a hammer.
For me, I haven't been able to paint since the election. My entire drive to do so died. I did no art at all for a week that wasn't part of my job....and now I'm drawing again. I'm not making pieces that are going to get into my portfolio, but I'm working on my human figures, and I'm letting myself heal. Does it make me uneasy? Oh yeah. My contract runs out at the end of February, and there is a part of me screaming that I should be making brilliant new paintings and impressing everybody with my design acumen.
Deep breaths. Make your art honestly, from a place inside that means something to you. Don't frantically try to pump out work 'cause you *have* to. It won't be any good anyway.
To mix my metaphors, when you are flying across country and you have to layover in Chicago, once you stop cursing the fact that O'Hare sucks, you don't get mad that you aren't eating up the miles to your destination. Pauses can be part of the process.
Ok, enough from me :) I hope you're all in Turkey comas, watching big dudes run into each other for an oblong "ball", and I hope you all love yourself, at least a little, no matter what your relatives are like.
Thanks for reading :)