Just got this done a couple days ago.
"Ink" for 2023 Folktale Week.
Forum wide moderators
I left Instagram after I finally realized I simply wasn't interested in investing my efforts there. I just wasn't a good fit as I had no motivation to make Reels or try to appease the algorithm. It took me far too long to come to terms with the fact that I was really just using it as an archival repository and posting on automatic pilot out of obligation.
I transferred all my work to Pixelfed. Removing myself from the very large ocean of Instagram (where I came to realize I couldn't control comparing myself negatively to so many others) to a much much (MUCH!) smaller pond ended up restoring a bit of my own self-confidence. Pixelfed doesn't have a profit motive nor an algorithm, and "removing myself from the Instagram narrative" was ironically what I needed to start feeling like I had agency.
I don't feel as much pressure now. I don't feel as demoralized. I post without the nagging feeling I'm not doing enough. Of course, I have a significantly smaller number of followers (in a year I have a third of what I grew on Instagram over 5+ years though), and fewer people see my stuff but in the end it's actually a bit of an even wash. My reach on Instagram wouldn't go anywhere without significant effort anyway.
Pixelfed will never be the behemoth and centralized hub that Instagram has become, but after the personal epiphany I had, I'm just... a happier poster. My chances of being "discovered" on Instagram were non-existent anyway, so I didn't lose anything. And the work I'm sharing is reaching actual eyes not bots.
It was a good choice for me. It's not everyone's cup of tea.
I'm participating in Folktale Week this year, but at my own pace. My day job as a college theatrical costume instructor comes first, and we had a production go up this week so I was busy. Instead of looking at it like a negative (which is what I usually do) I did the requisite mental gymnastics to invert the situation to an opportunity instead, and decided to embrace "The Slow". I'm a big fan of Lee White's "Slowvember" concept, so I'm stretching things out and using the inspirational guides from Deb Stein's StoryCamp Disco and the prompt words when and how I want to use them. So far I've re-conceptualized my adaptation of the Little Red Riding Hood tale, done a ton of really interesting research that is influencing my story development, and even done a couple inspirational illustrations.
Here's the one for "Lost".
Achievement unlocked! Today I completed my "100 Birds" project that I've been working on since the beginning of summer.
I'll be making greeting cards, merch, bookmarks, notepads, and potentially a coffee table book. I already have a 2024 Art Calendar out.
I did this project based on Jake's "100 Things" advice, and I'm really happy with it! Each bird took between 1.5-3 hours to draw and paint in Procreate, and many of them I did for my livestreams. I learned a lot and my process evolved and got more specific, regular, and repeatable as I went on. I'm now much more familiar with how to achieve what I want.
I'd recommend the "100 Things" experience for everyone. This was the second time I tried to accomplish it, having failed at 70-something (?) with a series of "Hands of Family & Friends" that I just got too bored with... Birds had more variety and I felt I had the opportunity to be much more expressive, and I'd finally developed the drive (need?) to really want to get at least one set of something actually done. This worked out for me.
I've been able to give the birds away as phone wallpapers on my social media accounts as they're completed, as well as advertise the available prints further down the road, so each image has paid off twice. Lots of adjusting for print applications, though, so if you do something that has a lot of light/dark contrast and intense dark color, be aware you're going to have to adjust things a lot.
@Heather-Boyd It has been a long time! Had a bit of a detour this past year. My brother needed a kidney and I was thankfully a perfect match. Everything went well and I’m getting back to making art again. Yay! Hopefully make something worth posting soon.
From one person leaving an unfulfilling job to another doing the same, I feel you.
I'm 54 and leaving teaching after 20+ years in higher ed and theatre-making to pursue an art/illustration career. I gave myself two years of prep, and this last summer between academic years was a good dunking in the growing pains I'm going to experience.
It scary, but I have a supportive partner and that makes all the difference. He went through a similar career transition when the bottom fell out of journalism and small periodical publication. So he knows it takes time. But the two years notice I gave my work has really helped me (and them) and everyone else I know come to an understanding that the end is nigh. And that has generated a bit of optimisim and lots of expressions of hope and interest in what I'm doing.
The biggest challenge I'm experiencing is having the patience with myself to understand just how slow the development of a career in the art field can be. What was an appropriate window of lead time to buckle down and make something new of yourself is much longer now--significantly longer than even 10 or 15 years ago. Every step forward is in constant flux... For example, 10 years ago book editors might have received 1000 queries a month--now some say they sometimes get 10,000! Big Social media has not only changed the game but is also changing itself. Covid also changed everything.
So just be prepared... Have your plan and follow through, but be prepared for growth to take much longer than it used to. There are many many exceptions to this, to be sure, but be prepared to ultimately need to make your own path. Examine where the advice you are listening to comes from with a critical eye, as their experience will rarely be yours. Take what you can and forge what's right for you, and be willing to try to play the game especially at the beginning.
We're all finding our way. And each step can feel hard-won and not enough at the same time. I'm still getting used to that ironic duality myself.