My Portfolio Building Homework – Part 4

I’m feeling hyped after my last assignment where I formulated a strategy to take on the mighty portfolio beast.  But like anyone at the mouth of the dragon’s cave, I’m acknowledging a few of the fears that have kept me from realizing my action plans in the past.  Fortunately for me, that’s exactly what this week’s homework is all about!

(Don’t forget to read Jon’s exercise before reading my homework so you aren’t missing any of the great advice on facing our fears.)

Home Work Assignment:
• Look back over your strategy and plan and see in which ways you can improve them, and use them to set you up for success.
• Look at the roadblocks that you have put in your way in the past, or are currently putting in your way, and share them with the community so that we can all learn from them.

Improvements to the Plan

I realize after looking at my portfolio action plan that the dates I set were a bit hazy, as far as providing me with specific goals to focus on.  So I chose to break each image down to two dates, one for the sketch draft deadline and the second for the final draft.  This way I have until the sketch deadline to get all my ideation, thumbnailing, and studies done for each piece.  Then I have until the final deadline to refine till my heart’s content.  I find breaking the plan into time phases like this keeps me from dwelling too long in the idea and research part, which is a really bad habit of mine.  I tend to get very caught up in having the perfect idea before I ever put pencil to paper.
I’m also debating adding more paintings to the list. I thought better of it, however, because I notice one of my bad habits is to overload myself with projects until I get overwhelmed and just give up on them, especially before a big event.  More than once I’ve stressed myself out before big selling events like DragonCon by trying to go above and beyond for my gallery, which turned into many frustrated nights of staying up late to meet the incredibly unrealistic goals I set for myself.

My Roadblocks

Some mentioned in my improvements above, but here’s a quick rundown of my most common roadblocks.  Let’s face it, guys. I’ve made portfolio lists in the past here in my journal and haven’t exactly realized all of them.  Apparently I am my own worst enemy, as most artists are!
Overloading myself with projects and artistic distractions. 
(Solution:  Start simple, stupid! Don’t try to do too much at once. Focus on one painting at a time.  Minimize other projects that are just for fun.  Start with less paintings and add more if it feels I have more time.  I had originally planned eight paintings and shaved that down to four.)

Being unable to keep focus due to outside forces, like deadlines for my other job, distracting people, unorganized creative work area, etc. 
(Solution:  Stop trying to outdo every turnaround time at work, learn how to minimize distractions by speaking up about them and setting boundaries, keep my art desk clean of the piles of junk from other job that keep me from being exciting about working there when I sit down.)

Feeling overwhelmed and rushed by the fact that I am practically starting over for this portfolio. None of my past work fits and I feel like I am back at square one with my body of work and that nothing will be good enough from this point on. Worse, I simply don’t have enough time to catch up with the rest of the industry and younger artists who are already ahead of me!
(Solution: Realize that life isn’t over. I’m still young enough to realize my goals.  Slow down and take this one painting at a time.  Realize that even though I’m starting over with relevant pieces, I still have many skills under my belt from my past body of work.  Everything worth doing takes time and other artists who have ‘made it’ also put in their dues as far as practicing, creating great work, and meeting rejection along the way before finding their path.)

Feeling too intimidated by technical aspects to feel confident about painting the pieces.  For example, the idea of doing a piece with multiple figures is intimidating because I don’t do them often and I can’t afford to pay models to pose for me so I can draw them as accurately as possible.  
(Solution:  Do the best I can and try to come up with alternate solutions, like taking photos of a single model separately and photomanip them together. Maybe find images on stock searches.  Do studies in the areas that I need work on before each piece so that I can build some confidence with the skills I feel I don’t have.)
I’m hopeful that now that I’ve sat down and put a face to my fears that they become less scary.  All that’s left now is ACTION!  I am ready for this dragon, baby!

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