Sewing Up the Chaos

It’s that time of the year again where I start feeling antsy.  My biggest con is just around the bend, the book is almost here, and I’ve got so many things on the horizon that I’m unsure about.  Plus a nice bout of insomnia while the gears turn and turn each night trying to plan how things are going to go down.  I warn you that this is going to be a candid entry, as I’ve always meant for the point of this journal to be an honest look at my venture into being a fantasy artist.
It’s time to start planning the promotion of the book.  Will the book do well? Will I make enough from royalties to help pay for rent on a bigger place?  Will it flop?  Am I going to sell well at the next convention?  I just have no clear idea right now what being published by a major publisher will even mean, how it will effect my plans, and that is driving me a little batty.  I’m sure things will become clearer as I work with the company to learn what their promotional procedures are like, but right now waiting for things to come together is absolutely maddening.  But the publishing wheels turn, turn, turn and that is just the nature of things.  I wonder if this is how all debut authors feel when they’re in that limbo time between the finished manuscript and the publication date?
I’ve had a rocky start this year as far as convention sales, though they’ve been great for meeting other artists and not feeling like I’m trapped in a dark cave somewhere gnawing on raw fish a la Gollum and wasting my life away chained to my art desk.  Am I making a living out of this yet? Sadly, the answer right now for my first year doing this is no, not yet. I am surviving thanks to the loving support of family…which makes me feel somewhat guilty.  Next year, there will be art fairs to help supplement online sales (and HOPEFULLY licensing revenue..but still working on a portfolio for that and researching the ins and outs).
And of course questions always lead to other questions. What do I work on next?  What will bring in money (but also not make me feel like I’m selling my soul?)  Will my portfolio be good enough for the companies I’m looking at?  I’ve had a very strong urge to try to get back to writing and illustrating my own stories, but is this a gamble I can afford right now?  It’s where my heart is and all the universal signs are telling me character driven art is where I want to be, but there is still an aura of guilt that such ventures take time, even moreso than other things, and that it would be irresponsible of me to not make money now now now drawing things that take less time.
By the same token, good art should take awhile, it should be something we spend a piece with so we realize it to its full potential.  Oh how I envy the speed of other artists!  It’s something I’ve yet to achieve.  The luxury of being able to simmer overlong on ideas until they’re brought to me in a shining stork basket by the Muse is not mine anymore.  It’s been really hard adjusting to this fact too now that art is a job and not a past-time.  I feel an insane pressure to produce portfolio quality things all of the time, or I am wasting my time.  This has really put me in art block mode because I can’t lighten up and have fun with my work.  IT MUST ALL BE A MASTERPIECE or DEATH!
In a surprising twist of events, my new leathercrafting hobby has saved my butt as far as making up for table fees this year (and saving sanity as well!).  People seem more interested in it than my art, which is slightly annoying, but what good does it do me to be jealous of myself?  Sales are sales and at least I can have a little justifiable fun filling my table with a variety of things beyond prints, yet another by-product of being an experimental artist overburdened with too many hobbies and interests!
The only solution I can think of right to sew all of this chaos up is to find a way to hyper-charge my brain so I don’t need to sleep OR can somehow manage to work WHILE sleeping.  So while I ponder on that, I leave you with a laugh, for what lightens the soul better than a smile?
(Crazy optimistic OVERLOAD or ELSE!)

2 comments

  1. RMK says:

    First, epic video. Thank you.

    And I can relate to a degree. I lock up if my art has no purpose or passion. Years ago, I took a summer art course with my best friend. One of the assignments was simple: go to a canvas, and paint whatever. It was like arbitrary abstract paint splatter basically. My friend found it fun and therapeutic. I never put a brush to canvas because I couldn’t do it. I had no vision and froze. I still struggle with drawing just for fun. I’ll stare at a blank piece of paper for hours. It’s something I have to get over at least for practice’ sake. I think that’s why deadlines can be a good thing. It forces perfectionists to override that circular urge and just make something.

    It’s natural for you to have so many questions. You’re venturing into the unknown, and nothing is more unpredictable than the public’s response to art. I can attest to my utter terror at times to people’s potential response to some of my work. Indeed, the very idea of, even if I’m successful, what if the idea well dries up, also hovers over my head. At times like this, I think it’s important to remind yourself why you’re pursuing this at all, because if you can’t even picture that, you’ll always be looking back at where you came from and wondering if you made a mistake. That’s no peace of mind.

  2. Angela Sasser says:

    Thanks Mike. You’re exactly right! It’s times like this that I need to be sure I’m doing this for the right reasons and also to just suck it up and DO what I need to DO instead of thinking so much about it. Project-wise, most people wrote their own novels on the side and I am capable of doing the same thing while working on other things. I’ll just have to avoid MMO’s for awhile, as they lure me away during my night time hours I should be writing instead of playing around! XD

    As for your own projects, you have such an interesting mix going on! Don’t be afraid to push forward with them. You are so right about deadlines being good as well. Setting them means less time for me to sit and ponder away on what to do. I’m going to sit down with google calendar and start plugging them in so I have a production schedule going on.

    You’re also welcome for the epic commercial. I love it so. Facial expressions are win! Thanks for stopping by and leaving me some words of encouragement. They’re much appreciated!:)

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