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WARNING: This is going to be a personal vent of a journal entry. I don't recommend reading further if you have issue with people talking about ~*~FEELINGS~*~.

Still here? Okay. Here it goes.
I haven't done more than a scribble here or a doodle there in several months.  The commission I was working on has gone stagnant (communication has fallen through, not sure what happened other than maybe the commissioner finally got fed up with me).

I don't feel like I have anything to offer any more and it's sort of devastating.  Every time I pick up my stylus I just sort of scratch away and nothing interesting comes out, I have no ideas for artwork. Everything I try is just a repeat of something I've done before. My creative energy is just gone and I'm not sure how to get it back, if I even can.

I mean, I was never the most creative of artists. I didn't come up with anything special, I mostly just drew characters from video games. I rarely ever even told a story with my pictures, they're just portraits. Re-renderings in 2d.

People have offered advice, and I know comparing myself to other artists probably isn't going to help anything (including my ambition) but seriously - maybe I'm not meant to, or don't have The Stuff required to be an Artist. I see other people put out artwork constantly or at least on a consistent basis and I just don't know where they find the energy, time and drive to do it. Hell, even before I got a job I wasn't drawing as much as I used to when I was younger.

Maybe there's just no more art left in me.
  • Mood: Distressed
  • Reading: requiem
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medinnus Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hey Jess... feeling any better?
jess-o Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hey! I am, a bit. :) Slow progress is slow but at least it's progress. Thanks for checking in!
medinnus Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well, I do care, so there. Pttth.
Iseijin Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2013  Student General Artist
Jess, I don't know what I can say that your many, many fans haven't said already. Sometimes we tend to focus less on our own work and step back a little to compare ourselves to other artists, since they're our inspiration as aspiration, but sometimes I think we step back and back and back, and a little too far, until we lose sight of our work and progress. And at this distance our work looks small and insignificant, and we get depressed.

Walk back up to your own work, get closer to it, focus on it, appreciate the beauty that everyone says is there even if you can't quite see it. And remember why we ever started drawing to begin with, because it's fun, not to impress others. The greatness of your works shows through naturally anyway.

So doodle silly things! Draw for the heck of it! Don't make it look perfect, don't ever think "Is this good enough to show on DA?"Forget that, forget them. Draw what YOU want. Draw for YOU.
medinnus Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That may be the case. It may also not be the case.

Clearly, you have talent. You are one of the few people to ever separate this cheap skinflint from a buck, and I have never regretted the commissions when presented with the result. So lets put the issue of whether or not you have the talent to rest. So you can place me in memory - I make no mistake about me being memorable - I was the character Jon Greyhawk, "Agent of Cheese", on Wymrest Accord.

You sound... tired. Weary. The obvious conclusion is that you need to take a break. However, aside from me probably being the 327th person to suggest that, obvious solutions always make me suspicious; that said, take a break anyways. It won't hurt, in any case.

Many of the artists I know - and I used to be in the comics industry, working for Stan Lee of Marvel Comics fame, I know a LOT of professional artists - go through long stretches of non-inspiration, but at the end of the day I'll have to go with what my favorite artist in the world - and also a friend - George Perez says to artists who want to turn pro.

He said the most valuable thing an artist aspiring to be a professional is to be able to work on a schedule; one of the most difficult things George had to judge in looking at portfolios for review is that he couldn't say whether something was done in a few hours, a few days, or a few months - professionals can't wait until inspiration hits, they have to be able to produce when they aren't inspired or in the mood.

So, at the risk of sounding unsympathetic, I think this is a hurdle you're going to have to overcome if you want to be a commercial artist, and make your living at it.

Now, let me turn that around - I love to write, and I have been told that I am quite adept at it, whether non-fiction, WoW fanfic, or original stories (and we won't even mention the Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes erotica). Through my adult life - and I'm almost 50 - I've written pretty constantly. I write non-fiction for White Rocket Press (ASSEMBLED and ASSEMBLED 2), I write stuff for Toonzone and RevolutionSF, blah blah blah.

My profession is Systems Analyst for Verizon Terremark, and until recently, I did Geeky Things (tm). Then they discovered I could write, and for the last year plus, I've been writing user manuals and procedurals for products. My own personal output - the writing I do for fun - has dropped to almost nothing, as spending 8+ hours a day drains whatever impetus I might have to write, say, the background of my new paladin (Gryffonclaw on WyA) as a story. Or any other story. Or anything else at all, really - I did some articles for Toonzone when I went on vacation to Denver Comic Con.

My point (and you knew I had one, right?) is that maybe you don't want to pursue a professional career as an artist - doing it day in, day out, on a production schedule, might drain your enthusiasm as my work has drained mine for writing.

Perhaps your commission work has had a similar effect? When I engaged you for my commission work, you were very responsive and diligent - essentially showing that you CAN do excellent work on a subject that you don't care about as such, quickly and effectively. Maybe you're already suffering from "Work isn't Fun" syndrome (or whatever)?

I hope that things go better for you. I hope that the rest of your RL factors aren't contributing to your malaise. I hope the most that you stop doubting yourself. As a fellow who can write, but fails utterly at even the simplest art, I can assure you that you have the talent and skill.

Feel free to chat at me in gchat if you like, to discuss or elaborate or vent or whatever might help.
jess-o Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hey! Of course I remember you, I really enjoyed working on your commission - the portrait is still one of my favourite pieces in my gallery, truth be told! Thank you for the comment and advice.

I think you're right in the suggestion that I don't think being a professional artist is for me - at least not in the sense that I'd be doing it for other people rather than a personal project that I've managed to make money on. Drawing - or painting - for other people's money is a stressful experience, and despite the joy I've felt in successfully delivering artwork to people who wound up loving/liking it, it often turns into a hair-pulling guilt cycle because I don't work very -quickly- when it comes to commissions.

Now, about the break idea (and yes it has been suggested) - the trouble I have with that is I feel like I've been on a break from art for half a year. I don't draw at work or even use much creative energy there, so I would think when I got home the first thing I'd want to do is draw. Sadly, more often than not when I get home I have time for dinner, for a few chats, and a shower - and then I go to bed because I'm exhausted.

I don't know if the break is what I need, or if I need to be more stern with myself about setting time aside to be creative.
medinnus Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Editors are the reason I decided to not be a professional writer (of fiction); the idea of writing something is a deeply personal thing for me, and the idea of having an editor come back and say "WRONG!" is just... anathema to me. So I do other things (which I like) for work, and write as my quite pleasurable hobby.

If, after a time, you still feel creatively bereft, perhaps you might try hooking up with a co-creator for collaborative stuff.

The most brilliant, creative person I ever had the pleasure of working for was Stan Lee. The problem is that Stan, while a creative genius, falls down on the "execution" part; he comes up with great ideas, but his idea of story development and exposition is still stuck in the 1960's. However, he was great working with other writers, who would draft scripts from his outlines.

Collaboration can be very rewarding!
Aldebarran-ca Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013
We all go through stages like that, the trick is not to let it get to you .. You are an amazing artist, and have so much creativity. For myself, when I suffer blocks like that, I give myself some time to think beyond art, listen to music,watch movies, play MMOs with my hubby,or just relax with the family. The creative spark tends to reignite once I stopped stressing.
Try stepping out of your comfort zone,and draw something you wouldnt normally do, or just doodle , your muse is in there, you just need to give her a little wake up call. You have alot of people who love your work, me included...<3
Slashermovies Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013
People feel like this for a number of things they do. I find your artwork very beautiful, and I remember the Senayu picture you did for me back in our Jagged Fang guild in WoW. :) It's not about consistency when you release stuff, but when you release something that you felt was right for you personally.

Also ballocks to you not having any art left in you. You're extremely talented and should feel proud of what you've made, and shown people. However, if you really think all your stuff is beginning to feel the same to you. I would suggest just trying random stuff, that comes to your mind. No matter how weird it sounds. :) You couldn't argue that it isint unique/different from your usual stuff.

Either way, you shouldn't feel down on yourself. I find your stuff very talented to admire and it gives me a lot of enthusiasm to try and get as good as you at some point.
ChristopherRobinArtz Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013
:yoda: Hmmm... much artz left to give, you have.

We all get this way from time to time (or at least I have =p).
Thankfully I think I know something that could help.
Check your notes.

...and if you weren't aware of it before, you're welcome. :D
Keep striving and keep your head up!
A fan,
Christopher Robin
jess-o Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Christopher, thank you so much for the information in the notes. I always liked to see your artwork on the CoH forums!
ChristopherRobinArtz Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013
No problem Jess and likewise. :)
ArtBySabinaE Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hi Jess!

I know we haven't talked much, and you probably have like, noooooo clue who I am, but I have really enjoyed your artwork. I look forward to each update that you do! I think you have a gorgeous style and I think that you definitely have "the stuff" to be an artist.

If you ever want to, send me a message sometime. My friends and I like to do art challenges that we call, "ART-AH!" It was based on the war cry from 300, (THIS IS ART-AH) because we're original like that. Anyway, a fun way to get out of a slump is to participate in fun, timed art challenges. We share our pieces and take the time to critique and discuss each others work. We'd love to have you join us. It's a great way to blow off steam and get some art out! :)

And if you enjoy alcoholic beverages (if you're 21!), we also do a drink and draw every now and then. It's a lot of fun and it has made for some crazy art in the past (like "sexy dinosaurs").

Anyway, hope you feel better soon. I'm not trying to pressure you to keep doing something you don't have fun doing, but if you'd like to join in on some art challenges and give art another try, we'd love to have you join us. :heart:
jess-o Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I recognize your username, I know I've seen you around DA!

Thank you for the response, and thank you for the offer. The art challenges thing actually sounds like a fun, low-pressure way to try to jump my art engine again.
I DO enjoy alcoholic beverages, and that sounds hilarious!

I think I'd enjoy participating in something like that, will you let me know the next time it happens? :)
ArtBySabinaE Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I most definitely will, Jess! We'd love to have you join us! I'll ask and see if we can't set one up soon. We usually have them in the evening when most folks are off. Maybe we'll do a drink 'n' draw first to loosen up the nerves. ;) You'll find as the night goes on, the challenges get a little crazier, ahahaha. :heart: I'm really excited now!! :D
Hamsterloki Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013
Please don't give up! Please!

You're one of my absolute favorite artists on Deviantart, though I first discovered you on the old wyrmrest accord website when it was super popular.. I used to waste -hours- going through the art galleries of that site, but my favorite pictures were always yours. Your art style is one I will always envy, with art that is expressive and fluid, but the colours like that of an oil painting. Your art has been a constant inspiration to me, being something that I've admittedly envied as well as worked towards for years now. If I could make my own art like any artist in the world, you'd be the one first and foremost that I'd want! Your style, colours, and original designs are a really big inspiration to me, so please don't give up!!

There is so much art left in you, but like any artist, a great deal of factors can get involved and negatively affect you.. Don't let that make you give up on art forever. Furthermore, don't be ashamed of just doing a doodle every once and a while! Every doodle, every sketch, every little piece of paper you draw on contributes to your own personal portfolio..

Don't give up! Please!
jess-o Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Man! Thank you for that, thank you for enjoying the things I've done. I read your response in the car earlier so I couldn't reply sooner, but thank you. You're a huge sweetheart and I've always enjoyed the comments you've left on my art here. ♥
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