I have so many personal projects I want to start that when I sit down to draw I often end up in “paralysis by analysis”. I think about everything I want to create, and become so overwhelmed that nothing gets done. The less I draw, the more frustrated I become.
Sometimes it’s easier to work on a project for a client because the idea is fleshed out, all you just have to draw. When you’re drawing for yourself, you can come up with so many reasons for NOT drawing a particular project, that you’re stuck in the planning phase forever. It’s not enough for me to only work on client projects. Working on the projects I feel passionate about is what wakes me up in the morning.
Recently I’ve been thinking about where the resistance to drawing what I love as come from. I did some “time travel” and found a few particular moments.
One of these moments was when I was in University. I was sitting with some friends in the animation studio and we decided to take a break and look at art online. We shared artists we loved, and one that I shared was an artist who drew rather pretty girls. When we looked at this artist’s work, a friend of mine said “Drawing girls is easy. Anyone could do it, it’s just a bunch of curves”. I was mortified. I loved drawing girls and my drawing station was filled with pinups. I felt so ashamed, as if she was talking directly to me (she wasn’t but we love to project don’t we!). I became so self-conscious of my pinups from that point forward, I just couldn’t do what I loved anymore. Even when other people told me they loved my work, I couldn’t get those words out of my head.
I was searching for something else to work on, which should have been easy because there is an infinite amount of things to draw. But when you’ve had the rug swept out from under you it’s hard to just jump onto another project. I tried to focus on drawing other things I loved, just to get back into the habit. For me this was anything in the Fantasy genre. Then one day in a drawing class one of my teachers said “don’t add sci-fi or fantasy to your portfolio”. I understood what he meant, and why he said that. I knew he was talking about portfolio worthy pieces, not personal work. But I was still so fragile from my last ego blow all I could think was “oh no! Everything I do is cliché!”
I was young and easily impressionable. I was so concerned about not being cliché, lame or drawing things that were “easy” that I paralyzed myself into not drawing at all. Drawing became stressful. I had embodied a feeling that if something was fun to draw, it must not be mature. Real art had to be hard and painful, otherwise you were just playing. I know this way of thinking is crazy now, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized how that feeling has followed me for the last decade!
In an effort to turn off this negative thinking, and nurture my inner child artist I’m going to spend some time drawing things that I really love drawing. I think by allowing myself to have 100% fun with a project, I can get my focus and discipline back. My current personal project is a series of pinups of subculture girls. I have such a deep love for different subcultures, in particular the Goth subculture. Even though my fashion choices are quite diverse these days, I will always consider myself a Goth at heart!
I don’t want to spend any more time looking back and thinking about the work I could have done, I want to move forward from here. I’m starting my art making process by drawing things I love to draw. I won’t critique the work until it’s done, not during the process. After I get my flow back I can start to work on those bigger (epic) projects, for now expect to see Jaymie working in her element.