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Types of Artist blues, what helped, what didn't

Journal Entry: Fri Mar 15, 2013, 12:46 PM
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There are several artist blues I know of, since I have experienced practically all of them during the past few months since 2011. I will write about how I got them, how I overcome them. What helped, what didn't.

Some of these blues are professional freelance blues, happens to those who are making their own series/productions and when there's money and risk involved.
Some of these blues are shared by all artists.

Pre-production blues
Before the production even starts, the fear of it failing caused me to think about failing instead of success. It makes me hesitate about actually working on the project before I even produce anything.

:bulletgreen: What helped- Refocus on what I am making the project for, what's the true message I try to convey with the project, make that shine, and try to choose a cheap launch platform that makes it cost-effective.  

:bulletgreen: What didn't help- trying to level up on art skill. It helped with my overall art as work for hire, it didn't help with my production actually being produced. More confidence in skill doesn't produce more desire to make my own work.


Mid-production blues
During a project being made, usually at half way point, feel like giving up because the project just seem to go on forever and not end, and feel like I will get no where with the project anyway. (And that's usually not true)

:bulletgreen: What helped- Just focus on "I'm going to finish what i started no matter what, even if its not my best/perfect work." That vow alone makes it happen. "I want to see it end." "I already put so much into this."

:bulletgreen: What didn't help- Fans/Friend's praise/encouragement. Sadly, that didn't work, as much as I hoped it would, when they gave me room to think about it helped. And thinking about the project won't make a difference if it gets completed or not, or all the things that's not working on the project. "It will make money" also doesn't work.


Mid-production panic
Deadline's coming, I haven't got enough done. More of a panic than blues.

:bulletgreen: What helped- Focus on the tasks at hand, focus on small chunks, ask for help. Make to-do lists, try to do similar tasks first, handling similar tasks get faster as one get used to it.

:bulletgreen: What didn't help- Thinking about the big monster I have to finish. Increases panic.


Burnt out blues
Doing too many things at once, too much at once, get the blues and get irritated.

:bulletgreen: What helped- Start saying nos, start cancelling projects, postpone set deadlines. And rest for 10-15 minutes for every hour worked.

:bulletgreen: What didn't help- Feel bad for pulling out and stay on projects I shouldn't have stayed on, it only burns me out more and drag people down with it.


Market reaction blues
After work being published, ended up on the wrong side of the audience, due to various mishandling by publishers/companies, got torn apart instead of praise. Rendering all work feeling pointless.

:bulletgreen: What helped-  Forgiving those who attacked me harshly. Even though it's only toward my work at first, some of these attacks turn out to be personal. Forgiveness of the "audience" and letting go is the only thing that work.

:bulletgreen: What didn't help- Friends telling me "to get over it" or "don't pay attention to them." or being told "I didn't get the worst" (YEAH don't say that to an artist under attack.)


"not good enough" blues
Just lack of confidence, happens to most artist who are in pursuit of mastery skills. Especially being compared to others, or self-comparison.

:bulletgreen: What helped- Copying master art work and practicing basic art skills, then putting the practice into use to my own work right away. Getting critiques for study art or art for others, where I am less emotionally attached, when the crit is pure discussion of skill, no personal opinion of the subject, I do better receiving. A sense of accomplishment helps to ease away the blues.

:bulletgreen: What didn't help- Getting critiques while developing personal pieces, I find in most cases only helped by 10% or less. I know it has to do with my working process and my personality. My idea either become someone else's idea when it's too early in development, (that doesn't feel good) or if I did it too late in the development there's not much to be changed or do-over becomes a hassle I just don't do it. I only ask for crit now for directional adjustment, like if I am lost at some point with my work.


"I am a failure" blues
After spending alot of time on completing a work, published it, and then not being well received or supported. An investment didn't get the return I hoped for.

:bulletgreen: What helped-  Let everyone who supported me know about my thoughts, the comfort from the audience/friends really help in this case, and use it as a lesson learned. And study market trends, target audience, etc, so I don't end up behind.

:bulletgreen: What didn't help- Dwell on the feeling alone, of course.


White page blues
Staring at blank and not know what to do.

:bulletgreen: What helped- Music, and watching, seeing someone else's artistic vision. (aka movies, games, nature) Ask for a random idea, or go have a moment of quiet time and think up a story, or something I want to study.

:bulletgreen: What didn't help- Chatting away, surf about other things unrelated, end up staring contest with the white canvas. lol

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Add a Comment:
 
:iconcaradecunha2:
caradecunha2 Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Liked the most ( or identify the most) with the "'not good enough' blues"
Reply
:icontlaloca:
Tlaloca Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2013
thank you very much for your advice!! :D
Reply
:iconviridrain:
ViridRain Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2013   Digital Artist
Neat advices !! Thank you so much, great article !
Reply
:iconthis-chick-does-art:
This-Chick-Does-Art Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
This was a wonderful post Mayshing. I don't know any artist that hasn't come across these blues one time or another. Your advice is on point; don't dwell on the past/what you can't go back and fix and keep progressing forward. I know that one of my issues was dwelling on one thing too long. Once I changed my thinking I was able to adjust my art process accordingly for better success in future works. The mind can really play with you and it'll sooner spoon feed you the doubts from outside exposure (friends, competitors, critics, etc.) if you let it. Keep it up, you're an inspiration.
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2013  Professional Filmographer
thanks, and best wishes to u.
Reply
:iconthepandahatxd:
ThePandaHatXD Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2013
This is nice. Thanks.c:
Reply
:iconthe-yuri-canon:
The-Yuri-Canon Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That was very well said and helpful. I have an extra problem with my mental issues getting in the way. Just as I was finally getting back into the spirit of things again I get told by my disability worker, psycho doc and even friends that I don't need to do anything because I am disabled after all... Really put me in a bad place when those close to me weren't very supportive... *sighs*

Hope things are getting better with your in your artist blues.

Kat
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2013  Professional Filmographer
o.o Aw that's totally wrong to say. Everyone desires, and deserves to be a contributing member of the society.
There are blind who can paint, [link]
deaf who can make symphony, [link]
and mentally disabled people who can run bread shops. (run by a friend of mine) [link]
Surely you can do something meaningful and be productive in your life. :)
Reply
:iconthe-yuri-canon:
The-Yuri-Canon Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I was doing a lot actually,doing small press stuff, conventions, lectures, activist and so much more... then I made the mistake of setting up 8 conventions in one summer... during a horrible break up... So crashed big time. Took 5 years to climb back back up to doing art and writing again, but no one allows me to forget that crash. I know I'm mentally unstable and I work around it, but recenly it seems like everyone around me just wants me to quit when I just want to get caught up after being sick for 2 weeks... *sighs*

Kat
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2013  Professional Filmographer
:hug: Maybe they can use some gentle.... er... correction? Looks like u are doing well now. :D
Reply
:iconthe-yuri-canon:
The-Yuri-Canon Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
For the moment, been having some ups and downs. Needed a bit of a break but after playing some Mugen Souls I had some new material to get myself back going again. I may needs a break every now and then but what I need more is a push to get back to things from time to time. My wife is good at doing that, she just would rather me play video games with her so uses her powers for evil. LOL

I'm so close to getting to the 300th page of my manga I'm using that right now as my push to get caught up again. My largest manga project was over 300 pages and I want to see if I can actually achieve that again. So yeah...

Kat
Reply
:iconaurorawhite:
AuroraWhite Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
It's hard to read it all when your letters are dark brown in a brown background :/
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2013  Professional Filmographer
sorry. :D the site adjustment removed my bg, now its fixed.
Reply
:iconlaiden-cerise:
Laiden-Cerise Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Awww hits the spot (T_T) this is helpful to me especially when its so depressing I can't draw anything good
Reply
:iconsonicwolvelina99:
SonicWolvelina99 Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for the advice! I'll try to keep them in mind!
Reply
:iconsonicwolvelina99:
SonicWolvelina99 Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you so much for the advice. I'll try and keep it in mind! :3
Reply
:iconguiled-dragon:
Guiled-Dragon Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2013  Professional General Artist
Great advise and very relatable! You're doing it! :)
Reply
:iconkatrina20lin10:
Katrina20Lin10 Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
cool! mine is 'same face syndrome' blues. i'm trying but i can't draw stuff without thinking that my old style would be better...
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2013  Professional Filmographer
i had that blues before, (kinda, i don't consider a skill problem blues very often.)

if u got stuck with the same face, i would go for "not good enough" blues resolution. studying someone else you admire will help you break out your own shell.
Reply
:iconkatrina20lin10:
Katrina20Lin10 Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
just "finalised" another new style. [link] tried shading too.
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2013  Professional Filmographer
saw it, have u done the style development meme I made before? I think you still need a dramatic shift, [link]

Combining 2-3 different fav artist or style of yours can be a start.
Reply
:iconrinoadestiny:
RinoaDestiny Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2013
What I've experienced since the beginning of February was a double-whammy of the "You're a failure" and "I'm not good enough" blues. Except, I think it was more than blues and it was heading straight into a collision course with some serious depression. I just had the oppressive feeling that everything I touched was useless, and that I had wasted my time drawing, and who really cares anyway? I had even declared out loud that I was willing to let my art deteriorate to nothing so as long as my writing improved. That was on February 10, 2013.

It was on that Sunday that I asked God to remove my creative ability to draw. I asked him three times, telling him that the gift was wasted on me and should go to someone better. On that day, my creative impulse started running dry, as though suppressed. Looking back - and reading your comment (Thank you - I really had to let it sit and stew, because I was so down) - I believe that I purposefully allowed myself to suppress it. I was frustrated, angry, and felt like I was falling out with so many things: my ability to keep up as an avid gamer (which is also part and parcel of my life) and that spilled over into my creative abilities. I lashed out at God and was extremely angry.

Well, since that February day, I've had these urges to destroy my artwork - all of it. To completely eliminate all that I did and to sell off my artist books and supplies. Yesterday was a really bad struggle. It got to the point where I was this close to swearing off art forever, to avoid drawing altogether, and to begin systematically and methodically throwing out my artwork beginning the following Friday when I was at home alone so that no one else could witness my decline. I even began calling it in my mind "an amputation of my soul" but I believed I could survive it, albeit as a hollow shell. I could tell I was lying to myself when I got depressed and on the verge of tears.

Then today, God worked in a mysterious way to show me that He knew what I was going through. At my work place, we recently had a new member of the staff join us. I spoke to her in length today during our break, and found out that not only was she Christian, but that she knew about the church I was attending and even our pastor. We were on a similar wavelength and kindred spirits in some regards. We both marveled at the coincidence and at how God opened doors. By the end of the work day, I felt my spirits rejuvenated and felt that God knew how to deal with my issue. I now have a sister in Christ at work - my assistant - and she is a lovely person.

It just goes to show that all of us go through our valleys (even if we've been drawing since childhood and loving it). It also goes to show that God does provide His own guidance and a way out just when I was about to permanently scar myself mentally and emotionally because of a very downcast feeling.
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2013  Professional Filmographer
what u were going thru was like an art suicide. o_O
I am glad you are feeling better now after talking to that christian sister. God has sent his angel to you.

I can say it won't be the same Ann I know if you deny that part of you.

I know when I wanted to give up on edepth, and even my original titles because they really haven't been selling all that well consider the time that went into them. God told me not to give up when I cried before Him about it.

He doesn't want to see me, or us, giving up because of discouragement and despair.

He only ever wanted me to give up on an ambition that harms me, and what I hold pride in.

Lastly, I hope this encourages you, for a writer, your art is at an amazing level where any artists can take from what you drew or paint with clarity. Most writers are struggling with stick figures, and you paint realism with layers of watercolor.

For an artist, you have pro writing skill where most even struggle to spell correctly.

As a hybrid, I think its in your best interest to utilize what you have and complete something that can be the crystallization of your dreams and struggles and inspire others.
Reply
:iconrinoadestiny:
RinoaDestiny Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2013
It was, no bones about it. I was on the verge of killing that part of myself. It, undoubtedly, would have probably led to the possibility of the real deal down the line (since if the soul is dead, how can the body live long after that?). I could see that possible future ahead, and then what I would become if I followed through and didn't off myself later (since the depression would probably worsen in time). Neither future looked good.

It's truly remarkable that she's Christian and that we had this "small world" coincidence. We were both very happy about it, and it really did have a cathartic effect for me. I needed it - I was even down yesterday morning.

I don't know if it was spiritual - because doesn't that always seem too convenient to blame the Devil - but I definitely was feeling my shortcomings. When even measuring myself against my own measuring stick wasn't enough, that was when everything spilled over, most likely. I felt like a Jack-of-all-trades ("Master of none") and that definitely made me feel inadequate in all areas of my life. Art being the major one to be hit, of course. The interesting thing was, when that creative impulse was shut down, I also lost my interest to write.

No one else knew about it. I haven't told my folks and even Kevin didn't know. It's basically the self-struggle that everyone goes through alone at least once in their lives (I've had it since grade school, but never this bad before).

Now I just need to ease back into the creativity. There's still a slight disconnect, like trying to relearn how to use your hand.
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2013  Professional Filmographer
Looks like your writing and your art is together as one piece. :)
Maybe should do another p-chat session to help you ease back in. :D

Glad this struggle is out in the light now, no more darkness yay. XD

if its something that bugs u from time to time, stay alert against it.
You are welcomed to let me know or others know
(like that sister) so we can help you get back up.
We'll be happy to help.
Reply
:iconjustria:
Justria Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
This is actually really helpful. I have a few projects of my own in mind. I've managed to pick one or two to focus on for now, but I don't feel like I'm skilled enough to pull them off the way they are in my head. But really, it's best just to do it, finish it, and learn from it, right? Otherwise, I'll never get anything accomplished.
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2013  Professional Filmographer
yep, just do it, and maybe redo it. lol
Reply
:iconkitoniss:
Kitoniss Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
this helps a lot for my own blues, thanks :)
Reply
:iconcetriya:
Cetriya Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2013  Student General Artist
I've gone through most all of them (except white page blues? for some reason I don't think I fear the white page, I love white).

I feel that I've been doing a lot of decisions that I feel are 'business decisions' when its really just fear of commitment. When I don't get the ROI I expect at the time I expected, then I quickly discard them for something new to try.

What have really helped me not feel burned out, fear of failing or just not finishing is going back to my 'roots', the basics of art, sketching more, studying more, experimenting more and keeping to what I like.

though sometimes it just helps to be disciplined and just get the work done. Keep your life and project list simple. That will keep your mind clear of the clutter and open to improvement and absorbing knowledge.
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2013  Professional Filmographer
i also never got white page blues until early this year. =p I used to not believe in it lol. its the oddest feeling, cuz my brain knows what to do, but nothing solid sticks, nothing that I wanted to devote to. It was really annoying. It tends to happen when I am supposed to "doodle" because i haven't doodled in so long. o.ob

thanks for sharing your solutions with everyone. =)
Reply
:iconandalucian:
Andalucian Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2013   Traditional Artist
Thanks for making this list.
Reply
:iconurielharden:
UrielHarden Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2013  Student Digital Artist
I have a love/hate relationship with mid production blues. For me they are different than what you get. For me it's "why does my story suck so much?" which usually leads to one of a few different areas.
1. Scrap just about everything and start it over. I've done this twice in the past five years. Both times it has yielded fantastic creative explosions and helped me create a far better story.
2. Scrap 70% of it. I keep some of what I've got but get rid of most of it simply because I come up with a better idea for what I'm working on. This has not always worked and has really slowed down my work flow.
3. Add in some interesting ideas. This is usually done cause my story feels one dimensional or my world feels like it's not lived in.
4. Modify characters. I have been doing this lately to make my cast diverse and interesting to watch.

...I had a reason for sharing all this but I can't remember what it is any more. Best of luck to you.
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2013  Professional Filmographer
i can relate. I just scrapped about several hundred pages worth of planning for my manga 2masters, too.
It's nice to get rid of cluster ideas.

thanks for sharing. =D
Reply
:iconurielharden:
UrielHarden Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2013  Student Digital Artist
I've never thrown out that much at once. The main ideas I throw out are ones that seem over used or too similar to something I enjoy (like the fact the original version of MoonFall was a blatant rip off of Ocarina of Time).
Reply
:iconandrew19787:
AnDrew19787 Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2013  Hobbyist Filmographer
This is helpful because I'm experiencing most of these blues all at once.
I'm working on the final episode to a mini animation series and I've been story boarding it for 8 months. I'm not excellent at animation or story boarding but I'm making this series so I can improve my skills in both. I'm experiencing both pre- and mid-production blues with this, and combined with market reaction, "not good enough," and "I am a failure" blues from the previous episodes it's quite overwhelming. I am searching around for ways to overcome this though, and this is definitely helping.

Another thing that doesn't help when receiving feedback is when people say I'm talented when I'm still an amateur and need direction. I'm basically self-taught and self-educated most of the way and while that is probably commendable I would like to know how and what to improve.

/rant
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2013  Professional Filmographer
animation is a tough and unforgiving medium in my view, a good animation takes so long to make, and its so hard to earn back what you invested. In all the medium I have worked with thus far, its the one that gives me the most blues at once. So i commend you for staying with it.

as for ppl saying "talented" when translated... its really saying "wow, you are doing something I can't do." That's the way I see it.

Yes, I agree that kind of praise doesn't do much to an artist who wanted to be appreciated for their vision and hard work.
But a store clerk won't get this type of praise, only ppl with special skills will get it. It's part of our blessings as artists I suppose.
Reply
:iconandrew19787:
AnDrew19787 Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2013  Hobbyist Filmographer
Makes sense, I find it rewarding just to do a drawing or art piece every now and then to feel that sense of finishing something. Film and animation is a long process and most people don't realize how much work is put into something they watch (unless they look at the Behind the Scenes stuff). Talent can only get you so far, the rest is hard work.

But yeah, it's not easy for a non-artist to fully appreciate what an artist does without understanding what they do at some level. I'll try to keep that in mind. Thanks :)
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2013  Professional Filmographer
my pleasure.
Reply
:iconjm-henry:
JM-Henry Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
One more solution for "White Page Blues" :
:bulletgreen: If you're gonna have a staring contest with a blank canvas, draw in some eyes first. ^^
(Er, the point being that you may indirectly get yourself drawing that way, lol.)

I've had that Pre Production before, I think, White Page... well, not anymore, I can't afford to!
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2013  Professional Filmographer
eyes? I really don't work that way. I usually have to place the whole head first before eyes.
Reply
:iconjm-henry:
JM-Henry Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh no, not literally! It's my way of saying you might be able to get over that block by starting from somewhere and seeing where it goes, the eyes thing was just part of your joke about "having a staring contest with the blank canvas".

I think I'll try to be a bit more straightforward with the advice next time, didn't mean to confuse! ^^;
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2013  Professional Filmographer
i see!
Reply
:iconrockleefan:
rockleefan Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2013
yes, yes YES! you nailed the subject matter. I don't think you are an artist if you never experienced those issues in your career!

::high five::
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2013  Professional Filmographer
high five. XD
That's an odd qualification for an artist haha.
Reply
:iconlilbriko:
lilbriko Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2013  Student Digital Artist
I've been feeling exactly this way and had to rant it out [link]. I'm glad you did find what works for you. I faved this page so that hopefully it helps when (and it will happen) get into another rut.
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2013  Professional Filmographer
best wishes to you staying out of the rut.
Reply
:iconlilbriko:
lilbriko Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2013  Student Digital Artist
thanks, you too :hug:
Reply
:iconotaku-chan-266:
Otaku-Chan-266 Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh yea, I can relate. This is supper helpful, because I have lots of these blues and usually dont know what to do! Although, I haven't yet experienced a failed publish.....and I realy don't want to! XD
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2013  Professional Filmographer
A failed publishing is a lot crueler. On a bad day, you can feel like the world is against you.
Reply
:iconotaku-chan-266:
Otaku-Chan-266 Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Man, not looking forward to that...
Reply
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