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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Thanked 8 Times in 6 Posts

    Unhappy Advice on working a full time job and studying on being a better artist

    Good evening, I've been meaning to ask this question for such a longest time. I hope I don't give off the impression of being emo or whiney.
    I'm just looking for some answers. Hopefully I'll be able to fully express my thoughts in this post. And thank you for reading.

    I've always wanted to draw and create for a living. But because of life and responsibilities and working a 9-5 (including overtime). I find it extremely difficult to come home and devote 15 hours on weekdays and maybe 5 hours on weekends of drawing everyday. (I know those hours are not enough). And I cant really stay up to late because i need to conserve energy to be able to work in the office. (Health isnt up to par)

    Its gotten to the point that I struggle to daily tasks. as soon as I get home because I'm so mentally and physically drained. Art is on the mind but survival and trying to get through the next day is first.

    I wanted to know how many of you guys here are currently holding a 9-5 in one field that is totally the opposite of art/drawing and working on trying to improve on their art. How are you able to maintain a balance or dedicate time with practicing on your craft and dealing with daily life.

    From what I observe here, people make the time to draw. But they're able to make the time because they dont has any many "important responsibilities"

    Some people suggested, that I quit my job. But I cant because I'm in debt especially student loan debt and its not financially wise. Others think its impossible to balance the two and I have to choose one or the other (this saddens me greatly.)

    I also wanted to add in I work Tech Support

    Your advice/wisdom is greatly appreciated.
    Last edited by White Rose; July 28th, 2010 at 10:38 PM.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Thanked 6,549 Times in 2,760 Posts
    I'm a full time artists now, but in my twenties and early thirties I worked for a living doing other things and painted in the evenings and on weekends. I worked in construction for awhile and then electronics as a tech. I would work and come home and paint and draw until midnight or one in the morning. I would send out samples to publishers and I would take the rejection letters and tack them up in my living room as a reminder that eveyday I didn't practice meant I was not any closer and those peope were right to reject me. I filled the 8x15 foot wall with them before I got my first job.
    Life is about making decisions and everybody is different but you have to put the work in to get good enough to make it. If you don't do it when you are young it is almost impossible to do when you are older and if you get married have a family you can pretty much kiss any dream of an art career goodbye unless you are already established or have someone support you. They have done studies that say it takes about ten thousand hours to get professional at anything for most people which works out to about five years at forty hours a week; at twenty hours, ten years and at ten hours, twenty years and that is just good enough to start your career.
    My advice is get healthy and then get busy otherwise you could be 45 before you have a chance to start.

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  5. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Virginia, USA
    Thanked 2,185 Times in 755 Posts
    If you haven't listened to this, I'd recommend it:

    It certainly relates to what you're going through. Good luck!

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  7. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Ardmore, PA
    Thanked 217 Times in 126 Posts
    I work two jobs for about 35 hours a week total and I have a 5 month old baby. Right now I'm able to squeeze in about 15 hours of art time per week, but I've done the math and I know I could get 40+ hours per week. So what I'm doing is timing myself and writing down the results. This way I know that the time I'm logging is actual work time and doesn't include the time I sit looking at the ceiling or whatever. So each day I try to get up and get started and work in whatever time I have and just be patient when the baby wakes up.
    Really what you need to do is be analytical about your life and look for the time you have to work. Just keep in mind that there are people who work two full time jobs and they do ok. So for you you'll have one full time that sucks, is stressfull and tiring, and another that is the opposite (unlike the people who work two jobs) Just keep at it and look for ways to get the time in and problem solve.
    Right now I'm awake and alert and able to work, but an hour ago I was dosing off while trying to do my sketching. Unfortunately I have to go to my job now, but I'm going to stop drinking coffee during the day so it'll be more effective in the morning to wake me up. Drowsiness is my biggest problem ( I'm a bartender and its tiring and the night and morning are my best times to work because the baby is sleeping, but that's also when I'm the most tired) but I just gotta keep working on solving the problem.
    Just so you know there is hope, about a month ago I was only able to get about 8 hours in per week so through hard work, determination and problem solving I've doubled my work time.
    Figure out when you have quality time to draw and make sure you use it wisely!
    My Website / My Sketchbook / My DeviantArt

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  9. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    leeds, england
    Thanked 173 Times in 106 Posts
    Fix your health id make that a top priority, change your diet up and just make sure your eating enough greens. the energy change i got when i went vegitarian was incredible.

    also don't take your work too seriously, the more you think about it the bigger a deal it becomes and the more energy itll suck out of you. Although if you hate your job theres only so far you can take it.

    but seriously, spinach.
    dan's sketchbook

    The ssg with no name.. for now
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  11. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    A bunch of different places.
    Thanked 509 Times in 230 Posts
    Third edit: I had initially written much more than this. Looking back on it, I think it better to simply say:

    Don't think that just because you can't draw very much, that you can't be improving all the same.
    Last edited by Two Listen; July 29th, 2010 at 07:56 PM.

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  13. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Melbourne, AU
    Thanked 7 Times in 7 Posts
    Yeah, it's difficult. Especially with debts to pay off, sometimes it seems insurmountable to balance your time in a way that you can maintain a full time non-art job and grow as an artist at the same time.

    I work in tech. I'm a novell administrator for a large company. I work 9-5 with a large amount of overtime included, just to save some money. I've been in the industry since I left high school and I have only now, a month ago, paid off my stupid debts I accumulated with nothing to show for them. The goal was to, from this debt-free point, save enough money to facilitate arts study in some capacity so I could devote the majority of my time to art instead creating security policies and application distribution groups. I can't see balancing the two for much longer, but I have the luxury of having no more debts to support. I may never have the money to pay for and the ongoing financial support to facilitate being able to pursue my dream of atelier study, but if I can pay rent and eat I'll be okay- and I can do that on a few nights a week hospitality job. If I don't study, I think that's what I'll do until I work out my career direction.

    The only solutions I see, from quite a similar position as yourself, are to either

    - flat out pay your debts by continuing to work your job and then take a hard left into a new direction where you can spend more time on your art, or

    - take the harder route and cut back the overtime and try and supplement your development as comfortably as possible with after hours and weekend classes and workshops (It's hard, but with the right balance is quite possible. I've attended a few life drawing sessions a week and multiple workshops while working 50 hour weeks for a year now) until you are at a point to make the career jump, or alternatively

    - just find the most simplistic and quiet tech support role you possibly can and spend all your time drawing- an unexpected upside to our common profession. You know the kind of jobs I'm talking about- after hours ISP or application support or internal support for a small centralized business. You continue to pay the bills and you get that extra time to draw in addition to an ambitious outside-of-work schedule until you, once again, have the portfolio and skills to steer your career where you want it to go.

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