I’ve not been able to sleep for a few nights lately. Here I am again toiling in this journal when I should be sleeping. The past few months of conventions have been a sobering, and inspiring, few. So many questions have been echoing around in my head.
Will I be able to work as an artist for a living? Will all this hard work pay off? Where is my next job going to come from? How can I improve as an artist? How can I keep up with competition when there are so many awesome people out there?
And more importantly, what’s my plan now?
That thought is a disturbing one at times because I feel like I can only half answer the question, being one who is perpetually learning the ropes of trying to make it as a professional artist. I fear the slightest thing will cause my efforts to crumble. Yet, I have to remind myself that little achievements ARE worth something, even if I’m not quite in the ‘big leagues’ just yet. The tables I’ve been running at conventions have made just enough to cover the costs. The next few fairs and conventions are bound to only improve as I learn and evolve how I want to present myself to the world.
Every flower starts with a seed and every professional started off at this level. It’s a mantra I have to repeat to myself over and over. Even when there’s a mountain of things to do that threaten to bury my resolve. The Pyramaids began with a single brick (and lots of slave labor, but I don’t quite have that luxury).
I sense something just beyond my fingertips on the horizon, some whisper of hope brushing my fingerstips. Several of the projects I have been working on are slowly eking their way into existence. Plans for new series of artwork that really push my limits as an artist are in the works, and my eventual plan to branch into authorship as an author-illustrator are beginning to take shape as well. After so many years of searching, I have finally found the stories I want to tell, even if I’m not quite sure yet how I want to portray them or if I’m skilled enough to portray them to the standard of illustrative quality I want to be at.
It feels like with all this preparation and toiling that I hardly have time to feed the creative soul. I really plan to release the beast with these new series, but there is no time for them at the present while I am working on paying projects and on organizing the business side of things.
That fear of the future can be paralyzing too, especially when you take time away from feeding your creativity to pay homage to the baser elements of being a professional. Unlike a mere job, however, this one is tied inextricably to my need to create and to be happy. If I fail, will that die too? If I delve too deeply into the ‘mechanical’ side of making money, will that creative spirit fade?
And while I dance from foot to foot trying to figure it all out, will my future pass me by in the meantime, wondering why I’m late to the party and showing up in mismatched socks?
So I do what helps me feel like I’m in control. I make lists and feel like I am achieving something as I mark each task off:
– Get Amazon shop running
– Buy art fair displays and wireless credit card charger
– Finish the semi-secret book project
– Hit the art fair world by storm and make the old ladies cry!
– Figure out where to start with this whole licensing deal
– Take over the world!
End this blog and go to bed.
Well that’s one off the list at least! What do you guys have in mind for your lists at the moment?