Don’t let anyone tell you what to do. Find things that work for you, and try them out. If they don’t work, or if they don’t suit your style, are inhibiting, or drain energy from your day - try to find a way to re-frame it in a way that works for you and your personality. This is part of why knowing yourself is a really important part of being an artist. Set your own course.
For example, I’m a huge fan of process work because there is no right way of making process work. The value is in the process.
Of course, this advice only really works in personal practice.
If you are making work for a studio, or Freelance on the side, it might be useful to figure out a “how-to” that works for both you and the superiors in charge. Teamwork and collaboration is super important when it comes to working in a team.
The only constant is change.
We live in a capitalist world.
Just because everyone around you is trying to punt day-to-day productivity it might be a good idea to set a specific goal and set achievable milestones so that you know when you’ve achieved one of these milestones. This allows you to say - okay - cool. I’ve done this, now I can rest! Remember that your worth doesn’t depend on your worth as an artist, and sometimes the process of getting to the product is as important as the product itself. If you’re not a happy person, or constantly putting yourself down, it might get harder and harder to get yourself to sit down and make something.
Allow for flux, while keeping your eye on the prize.
For me Motivated = Joy.
When I am happy, I am motivated. When I am motivated and in flow, I am happy.
Comparison is the thief of joy.
Therefore don’t compare yourself. Or rather - if you want to compare yourself, rather find things in other peoples’ work that can inspire you. Ask yourself how they got to where they are. Having a proactive approach, rather than a passive approach, will help you to feel in control of your sense of self-worth as an artist.
For example, sometimes I take part in Game Jams. There are so many different art styles that show themselves in Game Jams, and I find the positive energy really encouraging. I often end the weekend feeling fresh and inspired! Find some kind of community that helps you recognise the unique value that you can provide.
Below is an illustration that a friend of mine helped me with. I really struggle with hard surface design, so when I was struggling, he made a sketch in pencil and I rendered it digitally. It really helps to reach out when you’re struggling!
Allow room for growth by swallowing your pride!
“As an artist.”
There are different kinds of styles and types of artists, philosophies, arts practises, and styles. I started by studying figure drawing, later studying Fine Arts, and then Concept Art. I now facilitate Figure Drawing classes and organise Workshops. I find it extremely rewarding to learn from people who are themselves learning.
I’d recommend when starting or continuing your journey that you ask yourself:
- What type of artist do I want to be?
- Do I want to be a concept artist, who makes art for movies, animation, or games?
- Do I want to make art for myself?
- Do you want to be an Instagram or Youtube artist - or a teacher, online or offline?
- What other kinds of artists can you think of?
- We as humans were born to express ourselves, so really all I can say is - go out and do it!
- Your answer will determine your next step.
Other ways of staying motivated:
- Join an art group.
- Look at others’ work for inspiration (especially within your chosen style or field).
- Try online challenges.
Written by Charlie Martinson
- Charlie Martinson