Flipping the art switch

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  1. #1
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    Flipping the art switch

    I know a lot of you are full time artists and I guess you've got this all worked out. I absolutely love to draw, WHEN I'm in the mood for it. Problem is, fixing computers all day, dealing with a 3 year old, working out, all these things don't put me in the art mood... at all. I'm lucky if I can scrape a few hours to draw here and there. My main issue is that I have a hard time instantly getting in the mood to draw so I can take advantage of my drawing time window. Are you guys able to just flip the switch on and off? How do you get in the mood to draw?

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  3. #2
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    It just takes less thinking and more doing. In my opinion there is no way to really "switch" it on. It's just once you start you don't want to stop; but if you don't start, there is nothing to stop.

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    Yeah forget about being in the mood. At times art will be just like any other job, and you wont feel like doing it. But if you had to support yourself and your family with it, I bet you'd do it, just like your day job fixing computers.

    It gets easier to "just do it". But it takes a while, and that's where most fall off. Most don't have the foresight, the long term vision to understand they'll most likely be putting in the same hours at their day job as what it would take to make a living off art, eventually. Either that or they've just become too complacent in their day job and feel the change would be harder, and it is, temporarily.

    This is all of course if you want to make a living at it.

    It's less about getting in the mood, and more about making a habit of drawing so you aren't dependent on a mood.

    Last edited by Shaggnasty; May 22nd, 2012 at 12:58 AM.
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  7. #4
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    Yeah...just have to make yourself do it. I tend to have a lot of things going at once between contract work and personal work, so there is always something to be feeling I'm behind on.

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  9. #5
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    You could also try to make a schedule which you then just have to stick to. Of course, you have to invest a few minutes to actually think about what you want to do and when, but maybe you can do this at a time where you can't draw?
    If I have trouble to get started after a long day of university for example (which is totally unrelated to art), it helps to come home and not have to think about what I'll practice today, but just sit down and do whatever my schedule tells me ("22-24h, draw skulls"). Of course, you can adjust this to you liking, make it more flexible for example, if you don't have fixed hours for drawing.
    (Also, I'm not an full time artist, but maybe my opinion still helps)

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    The first thing to realize about the switch is that there is no spoon. I mean switch.

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  13. #7
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    I'm almost only not in the mood when I'm not actually doing it.
    As soon as I sit down and do, I get in the mood.
    That's the curse of procrastination, one of those "it's always worse thinking about doing something than actually doing it"

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    I like the "There is no Spoon" comment.

    I take the metro subway to downtown baltimore. I get 30 min in the morning and 30 min in the evening. I've been trying to use that time to do sketches or to read Loomis on my iPad.

    I like the schedule thing to come up with what I should draw. Right now I'm working on some Loomis male poses. They're very helpful. I printed them out and keep a clipboard with me so I can draw on the subway.

    Thanks for all the encouragement. I love hearing how all of you deal with this common problem. One of the things I like about being a Systems Administrator is that although it drains me energy-wise, it doesn't drain me creatively, in fact, I usually want to draw when I'm at work.

    Once my iPhone/iPad game launches later this year, if it does well, I'm considering relocating to Thailand and continuing to run the business I need about $20K US to take care of my family. Has anybody else made that switch from stable employment to doing art professionally on their own?

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    Quote Originally Posted by shiroboi View Post
    I like the "There is no Spoon" comment.

    I take the metro subway to downtown baltimore. I get 30 min in the morning and 30 min in the evening. I've been trying to use that time to do sketches or to read Loomis on my iPad.

    I like the schedule thing to come up with what I should draw. Right now I'm working on some Loomis male poses. They're very helpful. I printed them out and keep a clipboard with me so I can draw on the subway.

    Thanks for all the encouragement. I love hearing how all of you deal with this common problem. One of the things I like about being a Systems Administrator is that although it drains me energy-wise, it doesn't drain me creatively, in fact, I usually want to draw when I'm at work.

    Once my iPhone/iPad game launches later this year, if it does well, I'm considering relocating to Thailand and continuing to run the business I need about $20K US to take care of my family. Has anybody else made that switch from stable employment to doing art professionally on their own?
    Yeah I did at 30, but I didn't have a family or spouse. It took me five years to make it to full time artist at 35. I can't imagine doing it after the family starts. If you want to be an artist you have to be flexible. Fall in love with the process of making art not in love with the type of art you do.
    I paint traditionally, work in illustration, and video game development. All of it is creative in different ways and all of them use my art skills in different ways. All of them have their good and bad points so it is important to develop enough skills to keep you from burning out doing just one thing all the time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TinyBird View Post
    The first thing to realize about the switch is that there is no spoon. I mean switch.
    There is a spoon. It just needs to be hammered into the relevant body opening...

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    I use a little trick I picked up for when I don't have a deadline pushing me. I tell myself I only have to work on my current project for at least 10 minutes per day. That's all. Ten minutes. It gets me to sit down and begin.

    The trick is that after I get started I never do just 10 minutes. It's always more. I actually have the opposite problem and can't get myself to stop.

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  21. #12
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    To think in terms of a switch is setting yourself up for failure. You have to tell yourself that art is what you want to do. You should always think about art. 'how would I draw the reflection on my monitor?' Notice the world around you. Cool shadows, hue shifts, highlights... I mean everything. Telling yourself that you have the option of not feeling like it, will make you not feel like it.

    Last edited by Shorinji_Knight; May 22nd, 2012 at 12:01 PM.
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    How many things do you remember being fun while you were learning or getting in shape? When I used to run the getting in shape part was not fun and there was no switch that would make it fun. Once I was in shape and could run for what seemed like forever it was fun. As I got older and my joints protested and I went to something else and the process started over. Skiing was horrible as I learned it. I found a few things I enjoyed as I went along like being with friends or being outdoors but the process of getting successful was not fun.

    Art is not a magic thing in the beginning. The idea of being and artist, animator, etc. is magical and alluring but the reality is hard work. Hard work, especially when you suck at something, is rarely fun.

    Don't look for a switch. Grit your teeth and work your ass off, if you really want to make art and not just be an artist, and with every small success it becomes a little easier. If you work hard enough and are smart enough you may get to that point where magic starts to happen and you can't imagine doing anything else while you are making completely bitchin' pictures.

    No one is born with an on/off switch. You need to earn it.

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    Well I remember a thread in the lounge about John Cleese and a lecture on creativity. The conditions he mentions are what helps get me going more often than not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bfowler View Post
    I use a little trick I picked up for when I don't have a deadline pushing me. I tell myself I only have to work on my current project for at least 10 minutes per day. That's all. Ten minutes. It gets me to sit down and begin.

    The trick is that after I get started I never do just 10 minutes. It's always more. I actually have the opposite problem and can't get myself to stop.
    You sir, understand how my brain thinks. I will absolutely use this trick. I have zero problem drawing but my biggest issue is drawing the first line. Everything is downhill from there. Its all mental, I know.

    Shorinji Knight, bcarman, excellent wisdom, I will take it to heart.

    JFierce, don't suppose you have a link? I would like to read that article. I guess I'll search for it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shiroboi View Post
    Thanks for all the encouragement. I love hearing how all of you deal with this common problem. One of the things I like about being a Systems Administrator is that although it drains me energy-wise, it doesn't drain me creatively, in fact, I usually want to draw when I'm at work.
    The nice thing about being a sysadmin is that when things aren't going belly up you can find a few minutes here and there to doodle. Keep a small sketchbook with you and sketch. I used to fold scrap printer paper in half and doodle at pretty much every opportunity. (A lot of my job was waiting for a problem to wander in the door, though. I did a lot of drawing.) Then when you're at home, take out your sketchbook and refine your ideas.

    When you're tired and no longer want to think, methodical tasks like inking, rendering and observation drawing are very restful. You can put some music on, turn off your creative brain and focus.

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    Queen Thanks for the link. I did find it and watched the whole thing, it was an excellent eye opening video.

    Vineris, while I can't say I haven't doodled on occasion, I'm a one man IT shop for a lawfirm of 65 users and a dozen servers. If I do catch a break, I get to either fix stuff on the servers, install software or deploy one of the mountain of systems I have in the back. It never ends so I try to be proactive when possible. However, to and from work I ride the train so I get some time to do quick sketches then. Been sketchin every day for the most part. Cool to hear from other IT people / artists.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shiroboi View Post
    Vineris, while I can't say I haven't doodled on occasion, I'm a one man IT shop for a lawfirm of 65 users and a dozen servers. If I do catch a break, I get to either fix stuff on the servers, install software or deploy one of the mountain of systems I have in the back. It never ends so I try to be proactive when possible. However, to and from work I ride the train so I get some time to do quick sketches then. Been sketchin every day for the most part. Cool to hear from other IT people / artists.
    You, sir, need a PFY.

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    first time I've heard that term. Most of the time I can handle it, but I wouldn't mind having like a summer intern to help me with a glut of computer deployments.

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    What happens when you are in art mode and someone interupts?
    With "Where is my dinner?"

    Well people can say other things but you know, something like that and that person forces you to do it before you can go back to your drawing time. How would you deal with that?

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    You could get your 3 year old drawing/painting for a little while and draw at the same time they are. I have a 4 year old we sometimes paint at the same time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frostblade View Post
    What happens when you are in art mode and someone interupts?
    With "Where is my dinner?"

    Well people can say other things but you know, something like that and that person forces you to do it before you can go back to your drawing time. How would you deal with that?
    If its someone old and capable enough, just say 'Get your own.'
    I never understand people that let others turn them into doormats... you're better than that, or can be. It doesn't usually help the person that it enables either. It just makes them become more of a self important jerk.

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  38. #25
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    Totally understand that. (Code Jockey, here). After spending a long day writing code, come home and take care of the wife/dogs/dinner/etc... by the time that I actually stop, it's around 7:00.

    There's lots and lots of times that I'm not in the mood to paint. My basic tricks are: 1) I am fortunate enough that my wife allows me to have my easel in the living room. Whenever I just feel like sitting down and vegging out, I see the easel with a half-finished painting on it or sketched outline and realize that I have to get some work done on it. Once I start, though, I just keep working until I get tired.

    The other thing that I do is schedule showings, events, fairs, etc... anything that requires me to show new work. This kind of forces me to make time to work on my paintings for the show. So, when I get too lazy, I realize that oils take a long time to dry and I'd better get my butt into gear.

    Note: No kids... I totally agree that it's much harder when kids are involved.

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  39. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by marion74 View Post
    You could get your 3 year old drawing/painting for a little while and draw at the same time they are. I have a 4 year old we sometimes paint at the same time.
    My daughter is almost 4 and she loves to draw and paint. I do let her do that. I also built her her own computer and she loves to surf the web and play children's games and of course paint on the computer. She'll play on the computer all day if I let her so its a good diversion, that or her iPad. Lots of things to keep her occupied. Of course I spend quality time with her too.

    This should be a separate topic "How to occupy your children so you can get some art done".

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  40. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frostblade View Post
    What happens when you are in art mode and someone interupts?
    With "Where is my dinner?"

    Well people can say other things but you know, something like that and that person forces you to do it before you can go back to your drawing time. How would you deal with that?
    No one should be "forcing you" to do anything of the kind. If they are, teach them that they need to compromise or get them the hell out of your life.

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  41. #28
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    I think I see what she's saying. Regardless of the exact event she's discussing (Where's my dinner) there are lots of other life events that just pop up and can't be helped. My daughter needing help with her homework for instance. Nobody's forcing me to help her, but its sort of my duty as a dad to help her. I always put family first. Maybe that's why I'm not as practiced as other people.

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    Whoa... ok dinner is a bad example.

    I think Shiroboi got what I was getting at.
    Sometimes when there is someone else involved it gets a bit tough and art time has to be given up for people you love... sometimes duty comes first and it makes things difficult.

    Sometimes I think art time and couple time would clash because when you're in the zone drawing... it's not like one hour, it could be hours and your partner could feel neglected.

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    That's why I try to get all of my chores/etc out of the way before I start painting... sometimes I don't start painting until 9:00 at night (I generally get to bed around 10:30).

    My wife learned early on that, when I'm painting (even though it's in the living room), I'm working... so, unless it's an emergency, she generally leaves me to my painting. This is harder with kids, though. When I watch my nephew (he's 7), I never really get any painting time in.... but, I can get some drawing time in if I can get him interested in drawing with me.

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