Underneight all of the paintbrushes, thick, rough, Arches paper, under the invoices, emails, sketches, digital comps, micron doodles... is nothing.
An artist is no different from the person next to them. Their gift is about constantly channeling from the cosmos and converting into a visual language. It's magical, yes. But so are many other gifts that rock.
We are all creative and have this incredible power to invent, solve problems, and express ourselves. But we don't create constantly. We consume information, download information, digest it, process it, then eliminate or express it. There are stages where we can't create, in fact, where we even need to rest. "REst and digest"- we've heard this before, right?
It's lke eating, digesting, pooping. It's like that.
Imagine, now, that you had to produce poop for a living. So you had to feed yourself and digest quickly in order to do this, alllll day. How fucking uncomfortable!
I feel like being a commercial artist is a lot like this. Some people are fine pooping art out all day. I envy those rare few. But I have a hunch that at times even they need a break.
And the others, like me, revered artists as a child. They were told they were very talented, and something there connected. The career path sounded glorified. Oh, to work on a movie like Aladdin! Oh, to paint like James Jeam! Oh, to illustrate a book like Shaun Tan.... Oh, to be as cool as they are!
In daily life, however, it is not glamerous and there is no glory. It feels unatural and forced. In order to keep up, one must consume at a higher rate, process the information timely, and constantly produce. Part of this is due to lacking expertise, and part of this is due to naivete. Because art doesn't HAVE to be held in this kind of cage. It doesn't have to conform to these rules. In fact, it won't. Even if you try to, you'll experience its power and own will.
So I come back to self care as I realize that I want a different path. And it's ok that I'm not a constantly pooping artist. I have my own cycle of consumption, digestion, and elimination, and I feel more whole and loved when I listen to it.
Annie is an author and illustrator with books available on Amazon and local book stores. She is open for commission, too! She lives in California, and loves tea, bike rides, reading, and exploring new places.