Progressing as an artist while maintaining a good relationship/social life
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  1. #1
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    Progressing as an artist while maintaining a good relationship/social life

    Like many people on this website I'm trying to juggle a 9-5 job (one I don't like!), a girlfriend, a band, friends and my family (I have no kids), all while trying to make enough time to better myself as an artist and persue a career in art.

    I aim to do a GOOD 15 hours of work per week done on my art. Sometimes reaching this many hours a week involves having to outright lie to friends, family or my girlfriend just so I can have some free time to get work done.

    I don't feel 15 hours a week is enough to get to the level I'd like to but currently that's pretty much the maximum I can achieve without giving myself less than 6 hours sleep a night!

    So how does everyone else deal with these problems without upsetting other people too much?
    Is 15 hours a week any where near enough for me to be seeing a healthy progression with my work? Is something else going to have to give?

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    You should explain to your friends / family / girlfriend that you need some extra time by yourself to work on your art. Don't be worried about upsetting them (although you'd stil need to respect that they want time with you), but it's your life and they should respect your choices.

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    you progress faster when you dont have a social life, unless its one with other artists doing art things while hanging out

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    LOL! I totally understand you man, It`s impossible to have a healty social life while making REAL advance in your skills; I became used of people getting mad at me because of this very reason.

    Right now I`m soooo focussed in my art that I almost stopped going out with friends and girls, and even rejecting jobs that are unrelated to art; people get so angry right now... my social life has suffered a lot... but I`m getting SO MUCH BETTER!! I`m producing the best stuff I`ve ever done and never been more creative; and makes me feel so good, art is my addiction.

    But you have to get out once in a while you know, I have to; or else I`ll be going crazy, but no more than on friday and saturday nights.

    The Light and Dark Arts of Cristian Saksida
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    A boy asked Aristotle how he became so wise and knowledgeable. Aristotle silently led the boy to the ocean. Both wading in, they reached a point where the boy could no longer touch the bottom. At this point, Aristotle grabbed the boy's shoulders and submerged the boy. He held the boy as he struggled and fought to come up for air. The boy believed he was going to drown at Aristotle's hands, but at the last moment, he was freed and Aristotle silently walked back to the beach.

    Once both were on shore again, Aristotle asked the boy, "What did you want most while underwater?"

    The boy replied, "I wanted to breathe!"

    Aristotle said, "When you want knowledge as badly as you wanted to breathe, that is when you'll receive it."

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    Having accepted that there are a finite number of hours in each day which makes doing everything a difficult proposition, how you divide that time is surely a simple matter of prioritising your commitments? Sleep and work are essential. Give the greater share of your remaining time to the things you value most highly. Easy.

    It would be good to think that your friends, family and girlfriend would want to support your artistic efforts. Any situation where you'd have to lie to any of these groups in order to work on your art seems very peculiar. Follow Dumpling's advice there.

    How much time is 'enough'? The more good practice time you put in, the faster you will develop. Again it's a simple matter of prioritising your art against the other stuff in your life.

    While I wouldn't advocate rejecting your social life entirely, I think it's inevitable that you will have to make sacrifices in order to dedicate a worthwhile amount of time to your art. How easily you're able to make those sacrificies will probably tell you if you're cut out for a career in art.

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    I don't believe you need to forsake your loved ones to do art. I'm not as good as others here but I have been doing art professionally for a while and here is how I managed to get more art time:
    Make more of the downtime you have, like drawing on the commute (not if you drive) on lunch breaks at work, if you like watching the news, eat in front of the tv, or use meals to spend quality time with friends or your loved ones, streamline chores, that will leave you more time for art. For exemple, I almost only go on CA and other forums during lunch breaks so I'm not tempted to spend hours on them at night. Be honest with the people you love and show a real effort to be with them. but tell them that you need to get to drawing for x time that day and stick to it.

    In my experience sketchgroups are fun and a good way to make contacts, but I don't get much good art out of it.

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    Introduce your friends and family to MMOGs! You may never hear from them again.

    But seriously, start taking your sketchbook everywhere. There are many dead minutes in a day that can be filled by drawing. Try to do things with friends and family in larger groups. That way you can sketch things around you while everyone else entertains one another. Eventually people will get used to you drawing whenever they see you and it won't seem odd.

    You may need to decide between art and the band, though. If one has a full-time job, one can't also have two full-time hobbies.

    *** Sketchbook * Landscapes * Portfolio * Store***

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    most human who are so call normal spent a whole of their life 80 year to be a human!with their friends ,family
    good relationship/social life will cost you huge amount of effort,and 15 hour is not much if you still want more

    i am stupid that i can't cope with all this,so i chosen to trim off all the relationship until i finish my uni-course,although i might never be able to pick up thing again

    Last edited by Chison; November 2nd, 2009 at 02:16 PM.
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    I tend to not hang around people who don't understand art, so that hasn't been a problem for me. If they can't be fine with the fact that I need a certain amount of time to pursue my CRAFT, then they're not worth me being friends with (that's how I feel, not saying anyone else should do that). Thankfully, my friends all do art too so we can work together. And my family doesn't require things of me so..that's not a problem.
    But my priorities are Art - FAmily - Friends, in that order, which isn't the same as other people.

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    Relationships? Social life?

    O fond, distant memories, these.

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    I've cut down on almost every aspect. social life, high school work, sleeping, threw away the tv and video games, rejected all sorts of hobbies. I've hurt a lot of people in the process.
    I miss em all, but I won't be able to forgive myself if I won't do art full time, because on the upside, my improvement rate got faster, wayyy faster.

    I would be very careful to expect an art career from a limited amount of work though, art is very demanding a you make it, or don't.

    Just as a point of reference, I've gone from 3 hours a day to 6-9 hours a day.
    I'm trying to keep the 12 hours routine, but it's hard to do daily.

    EDIT: Alright that came off a bit odd, I should've said that this routine isn't permanent. I will be moving far away after I finish high school, so these "contacts" will disappear anyways.
    I wouldn't advise anyone to do this permanently. And I know I can trust my social skills later on, that's an important factor.

    Last edited by Vatsel; November 4th, 2009 at 12:04 AM.
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    yay i have the same problem. but i figured that theres nothing more important than a healty social life, a good relationship with partners, family and friends.

    I dont have much friends, and i would never start to neglect them because of anything. I want to have maaany kids ;-) what else remains?

    But i take my moleskine when i go to my gf or go out somewhere. I draw the people i see and i scribble in the subways.

    And still i'm improving.

    Maybe not that fast, but i dont want to be a kickass artist with no friends :|

    Maybe thats my personality-structure, i'm not a practising-machine, i don't draw 4 hours straight (mosty).

    Of course when I have the time I'll put in the hours. I did the vilppu videos in my semester break, when everyone else is busy. I gave myself challenges.

    Its not important how fast you go, as long as you don't stop-

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    People shouldn't be getting hurt if you broach the subject tactfully and respectfully. THEN if they get hurt and put the guilt trip on you, you know they're not your real friends.

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    Art is a hobby for me so I am not as pressured as you to put in the hours but I still want to progress fast enough that I can see it (progress) in the short term. I work full time (non-art related) and have a steady girlfriend and other things going on in my life which take time. I've chosen to sacrifice things such as playing video games in order to have more time for art.

    I agree with Kfeeras that "Its not important how fast you go, as long as you don't stop". As long as you're putting in an honest effort, that's all you can do.

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    "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." -- Confucius
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    I see your Aristotle, and raise you one Hippocrates:

    Life is short,
    [the] art long,
    opportunity fleeting,
    experiment dangerous,
    judgment difficult.

    In the future, everyone will have 15 minutes of privacy.

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    Yeah. It's a sacrifice. On the other hand I don't think cutting down completely everything (including hobbies) so that you can only draw is a good solution. Drawing imaginative stuff requires not only skill but personal vision which depends a lot on who you are as a person, what you know, what experiences you had. In other words by turning into drawing robot you remove from yourself many things that separate you as an artist from any other artist. That's the only most valuable thing you really have because there's obviously tons of people who can draw or paint well.

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    its all about balance, cutting your social contacts (and skill) would seem to be very silly for a very industry based upon team work so often.


    as for the friends thing, make art a part of what you do all the time, of my friends (in art college) i'm the guy who draws all the time, just because i sit and sketch in my moleskine.

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    Are you using your 15 hours a week wisely?
    Like Matt Dixon said, prioritize the things that are important that you want to do with other people and maintain a social life, but also the time you spend working on the art, it needs to be used well because you only have a finite amount. Make sure you are studying anatomy, composition, color, line, etc. to really make the time spent work towards making you a stronger artist.
    Otherwise, learn to juggle. And remember that sleep is for the weak.

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    Luckily i can survive with relatively little social interaction. However, it is essential to have some of that if you want to stay healthy, so instead of compromising that i'd recommend changing jobs. If you can't find any art jobs, get a job that will allow you to draw while you're at work. Night clerk at a hotel, gas station or toll booth will allow you to draw a lot. But working late could also get in the way of your social life, so then you'd be back to square 1 if you're not careful. tech support or phone sex could also be an alternative.

    Look for jobs that involves waiting and/or doesn't require much mental effort while allowing you to stay stationary.

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    The problem with trying to manage time to do everything is that... it`s a waste of time!! (ironically)

    I tried so many times to "manage" my time, I even read books about it and its useless; I`m a mess, I just can`t put order into my life, I can`t mantain a "routine", I really don`t know how some people do it but I can`t, I wish I could.

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    Seems the answer is right in front of you then. Stop yearning for a routine and simply DO. Forget schedules and guidelines. Just act. And Jessi Bean is right, sleep is for the weak.

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    You don't specifically need to wave your hand around to learn. Sometimes it's good to take step away from your sketchbook and just look what's around you. How people walk, react, act, talk. Being friendly with others gives you a better concept of how human mind works, which is always a plus towards realistic/interesting character design. Knowing the differencies in walking patterns and habits gives animation a bit of 'edge'. A lot of times I make more of this type of notes when I don't have a sketchbook around me to scribble random things onto (like the bones in the arm :P damn anatomy, why are you so addicting~ ) Or just small notes of how the light reflects on the surface on the chairs of your classroom. It would take a lot of time to draw all of them; but less than a minute to realize the multiple shadows and highlights on it.

    Likewise hanging out with friends can be a really great relief from practising/working too much and will refresh your mind, so that next time you do pick up that pen, you'll study twice as good.

    Time is a good thing to think about too - for example - is it better if it takes you 2 years to get to professional level with 8hr each day a week studying every day compared to it taking you 2.5 years to get to the same level with 8 hours but two days less in a week - with the expection of on the other occasion you have friends and a lovely gf, and on the other expection you only have one or two friends?

    But that being said, procrascination is your worst enemy. With this thinking it's easy to think "oh, it's not so important right now... I'll meet friends now, and do art later, 'cause I still have 5 years until college is over." You'll soon notice that you're on the last year and have not done much anything. :P
    The point is to not get caught into studying too much, but to find the suitable working rhythm for you and for your studying needs.

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    If you are a happy person that socializes easily and are assertive then you might want to sacrifice some parts of your social life.

    If you are more timid and do not socialize as easily then giving up on your social life might be one of the worst things you could do.

    Perhaps I'll make myself unpopular by saying this, but I think there are more important things in life then art.
    Doesn't mean you should be drawing as much as you can tough.
    Just take your sketchbook with you when you go out with friends, you might even impress some people

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    BlightedArt is offline That annoying itch you just can't seem to scratch Level 11 Gladiator: Essedarii
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    Don't lie to your friends. Just explain (you'll feel better, and will be more productive). And you can still accomplish a lot in 15 hours depending how quickly and how hard you work during that time. List what you would like to accomplish in those hours and keep the checklist nearby when working.

    Edit: PieterV has a good suggestion with taking your sketchbook places (or even a moleskine that can fit in your pocket with a small pencil. I do that, and just doodle things I see inside it while having a coffee with friends or something)... it's really interesting when people come up to you after they notice you drawing them too.. and the feedback can be very fulfilling and helpful. I still get drunk with mates sometimes... but I'm always the one that sits there drawing while it all happens It's actually really interesting seeing what things my friends have drawn in the moleskine during those moments too... though that sort of thing obviously isn't work!! ... but it's fun which definitely keeps me going... and outside contribution (no matter how immature or badly done the drawings are) can help you get new ideas too.

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    Social life is an illusion, drawing (or whatever medium you work in) is something real and solid. After a few hours spent drawing you're left with something physical, an object you can hold in your hand. After a day around people you have nothing.

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    It all depends on how serious you are about your art. I'm not saying 15 hours is insufficient, I don't know your goals or when you hope to achieve them, but if that's all you can spare it sounds like you are putting many other things before your art. Fifteen hours is less than 9% of your week - is the other 91% filled with things that are more important?

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    It is very difficult to do the juggling act. The bitter truth is that while you are spending time doing other things, you could be working on your art. While you are working on your craft, you are missing out on time spent with friends and family. There is no way around that.

    No matter how you organize your time, it is important to be in the moment at any given time. That means if you are working on your art, think about your art, not your girlfriend, family, friends or job. If you are hanging out with your family but you are drawing in your head, you still miss the important things. If you have to be there, be there. Don't just show up in a physical sense, show up completely. That eliminates a lot of the frustration of feeling like you are in the wrong place at the wrong time. One of the biggest issues with the juggling act is not the physical location of your body, but the mental location of your mind. Training your mind to follow your body.. yeesh.. that is so much easier said than done, but practice does make perfect. When you catch yourself wandering around in your head, you are on the right track.

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