Anyone else on here a parent who is trying to get better at their art?

  • I don't know if these sort of topics are wanted here, but I thought it would be a great place to ask for advice.

    I am married, and have 3 year old little boy. I either have to wait for him to nap for a short bit, or draw and paint when he is asleep at night. I am fully commited to getting as good as I can, and am wondering if any parents on here have any tips on how to set aside time to draw, and maybe share your schedules while raising your little ones. Thanks for your time!

  • Hi Eric,
    I am a mom of three and have been home with this balancing the freelance/family dynamic for many, many, years. When they were very young, I would get up early and try squeeze in time but the most uninterrupted time was in the evening when they were in bed. You need to find the time that works best for you and then dedicate yourself to it. Daily didn't always work for me, but if I promised myself 5 days a week to set the time aside and then a few "days off" I found it to be less pressure. Don't turn on the tv or get on the internet if that will cause you to procrastinate, draw first. The push and pull between art career and family is always going to be there, so you need to figure out the schedule that works best for you. Good luck! 🙂

  • Pro SVS OG

    Hi Eric,

    I'm married with an almost 8 year old and a newly 5 year old. Since the kids were young and even now in the summer when they are always home with me I would work earlier (6am) before they got up to steal some time and then I would take them to the YMCA and just run them around in the gym, park and pool etc so by afternoon they were snoozing! If by chance they didn't sleep, we'd do quiet time and they could look at books/color etc while I was drawing.

    Prior to the early bird routine I would work late at night, but by then my brain would feel fried, so I found the early routine more productive and consistent.

    I love my littles but I'm looking forward to them both being in school part of the day and having more time to dedicate to my work. It's going to be an exciting year!!

    Hang it there, your little one will be off to school before you know it!

  • Pro SVS OG

    Hi Eric,
    I have two highly inspiring, highly energy-draining kids, 4 and 9 years old and a day job on top of that. I always work at night - we have a very strict routine and they are in bed by 8 pm. I work between 8 and midnight, every day - that is a solid 28 hours a week. I have been doing this for the past five years, and this allowed me to get through art school. Now, I am really a bit tired, so I have asked for a reduction of my work contract (my day-job, I mean) - as of next week I will be working only 2 and half days a week, so I will have time to work on art while the kids are at school and kindergarden - that is going to be heaven for me!
    My husband is very very supportive: when I had some big projects he would take the kids to his parents or away for a weekend to give me more time. On one infamous weekend, I painted non-stop for 40 hours...never want to repeat that again.
    Anyhow, the biggest advice I can give is to eliminate TV, games and internet (at least the non-art related part) from your life - the amount of time you gain with this is incredible. Aside that, I find my kids a great source of ideas and inspiration - and I draw them often!

  • SVS OG

    Hi @Eric-Castleman! I also have two little ones - very energetic little boys aged 2 and 4. They definitely make it difficult to keep up with the art, particularly because both myself and my husband work from home - work and home life is all mixed up in one big bundle!

    When each of them were babies, doing art was really impossible, because of the constant feedings and night wakings (they weren’t good sleepers and very clingy too)…now they are old enough to have some childcare in the daytime, so that helps with the day job. My personal art though, I have to save until the evenings…like @smceccarelli I work every evening once the children have gone to bed, from about 8.30-11.30pm… Similarly, I’ve also cut out all TV…my husband has free rein of the remote every night 🙂 I think the best thing is if you can get into a routine where you fit in the art at the same time every day…that way it doesn’t feel so much of an effort.

    I’d still like to fit in more art during the daytime…when the children are at home, most days I don’t get to pick up a sketchbook until 8.30pm. ..and by that time in the evening it’s not quite the ideal situation for doing things like drawing from life, location sketching etc..that part is missing from my daily routine. So I’ve got a little A5 sketchbook, and I’m going to try and take it around with me more, draw the kids, etc. I don’t know how successful that will be, we’ll see 🙂

    The other thing that helps me, is when I’m looking after the kids, I can’t draw but I can still think and plan what I will draw later…I can still visualise, ponder techniques or whatever is on my mind…if all the thinking is done beforehand, then when I get to the sketchbook I can get started more quickly…it’s not a substitute for drawing of course but at least if things are on your mind, then the habit of doing art doesn’t slip away…

  • Thank you all for your input. What seems to be clear after reading your replies, is that we need to start giving our son a solid bedtime. Right now he sometimes naps for 4 hours in the afternoon, which causes him to stay up a bit later, and it makes my schedule very unpredictable. My wife agreed that we need to get on a stricter schedule so that I can have a set schedule and stick to it.

    As of right now, I am able to get my work done, but it is very much up in the air everyday as to when I will get time to sit down and work. So I think that was my main issue. Thanks for your input!

  • SVS Team SVS OG

    This is a great topic to see the life of other artists on the forum. I have 4 kids one of which has special needs so we also keep to a strict schedule for bedtime. During the summer months however they get to stay up later. My oldest is 13 and basically tries to stay up all night. I get to work from home three days a week so I try to sketch for about an hour in the morning before I start my day. If I commute downtown for work i will sketch on the train. Once everyone is in bed (kids no later then 9 and wife around 10ish) i will get my art on till about midnight. So a total of about 3 - 4 hours a day. So days I do nothing with art to recharge. On the weekends I will spend a little more time.

    There is a common theme here, we all work late at night when everyone is asleep.

  • It certainly is tough. I've got (4) kids under 7 years old and really the only time I have to work on art stuff is either early in the morning (5 - 7am) or after they go to bed (around 8:30 to 9pm)--I have a full time, non-art, job.

    The main thing is: you've got to be extremely dedicated and goal oriented. The other thing, that @Dulcie and @smceccarelli mentioned: you have to cut out the entertainment such as TV/Movies/games. Music, podcasts, and audiobooks are great and can be done while drawing/painting.

    But I definitely found I was frustrating myself by taking up my free art time with gaming.

    It was hard (had a bit of an addiction)for me but I just had to decide what was more important: getting better at art and finishing pieces or winning another game match or leveling up a character.

  • SVS Team SVS OG

    @mattramsey Nailed it on the game part, my oldest always asks me to play xbox with him. I give it 30 minutes and thats it. Otherwise i would be there all night playing.

  • I have a 13 year old and a 16 year old.

  • SVS OG

    I have 2 1/2 year old grandson that I babysit while my daughter works. I watch him 4 days a week and I am gone all day on Wednesdays with another commitment so I use the evenings to try and get things done or Mondays. Today I got a lot done but some days I am so tired I fall asleep at the table! Ha! That's not bbecause i'm old, it's somethign I inherited from my mom :-). I am still working on trying to work more on art-the hard thing is that I started my own self publishin gbusiness so that I could be assured I coudl publish my books. The businessy part has been the real challenge and it takes up more time than I like from art. I have got a lot of it settled so that I can focus more again though, so that's good. I waited until I was old (I did have some classes under my belt pre-family though) to improve and I still have a lot to learn! 🙂 Hang in there!

  • SVS OG

    @Eric-Castleman I'm 35, married with 5 kids. Ages 10, 9, 7, 4 & 3. The struggle is real. My goal is to draw every day if possible. I don't want to be dried up and rusty when we get to a point where I can actually devote some real time to my art. Most days, I can at least do some sketches after the kids are in bed. My husband and I will sit in bed and watch an episode of something on Netflix, but I'm usually drawing. Other than that, I fit it in when they are outside playing or while they're doing crafts and things. Its not easy, but Its worth it.

    The biggest thing that helps is adjusting my expectations. As long as I know I'm going to get interrupted, its easier to not get frustrated/discouraged when it happens. And, I also know, that most of what Im going to get done, is practice, not finished pieces of art. Its just the season.

  • I have a 17 year old, and a 2 year old.
    Both boys (I know, that's quite an age gap)
    It has been a struggle,
    spending time with family.
    -but still taking the time to sharpen my skills.
    I try to set time aside early in the morning
    I drink my coffee, and draw daily.
    (And sometimes late at night )
    It can be tough, especially with young ones.
    I just try to work around their sleep schedule.

  • This is a really good topic. Thankfully my son is now 17 years old. It was always a challenge to get art time in when he was younger.

    One thing that helped me was (and still does) that I carried a sketchbook, usually a small one, around with me at all times. If things slowed down and the son was playing independently then I could do some sketches. Plus I could always draw my son which was great for learning how to draw children. I would often involve him with my drawing time and we had a lot of fun.

    Nap times were great for getting more involved work done. It was so hard when we finally couldn't do naps anymore! However, after naps were over, we could settle into a more normal work schedule. I would usually get work done at night and sometimes in the early morning. Once school started things were even better because I could start working more like a 9 to 5, though still often working in the evenings.

    Being sleep deprived is the hard part and I would suggest that you take your art at a consistent but slow pace. Plan and have goals but make sure that they are attainable. A goal is no good if it gets you nowhere. Don't try to do it everyday and take a lot of breaks. Having young ones is such a wonderful experience and so I also suggest to really engage with your children and seek different sites and experiences with them. Your family will enjoy it. You will enjoy it. And you will be feeding your mind with things that will get your creative juices flowing.

  • Got a great tip from Lee White's business class on time management. I too work in the evenings when everyone is asleep, but find that sometimes it's hard to focus on which task to do first, or next. The Pomodoro technique is one Lee recommends, I have been using it and find that I am more productive within my limited time to work. I use my cellphone as a timer and take short breaks in between work sessions. Good luck to all of us, wouldn't trade my kids for anything but want this dream as well.

  • 2 teenagers,one dog,one cat and a hubby...😊 love them all dearly,but I've asked everyone,excluding pets! That I'm not to be disturbed when I'm drawing.I let everyone know that Im about to go into an art vortex,I ask for any last requests,apart from drinks and snacks,they can get those.Then it had better be a limb hanging off,fire or death that distracts me,or there may be some !

  • Pomodoro?

  • Wishing well to all our family members with art ambitions,good to know we're not alone....

  • I'm 39 with 4 kids. Eldest is 19 and recently moved out to go to uni then there's the 16 year old, the 9 year old and the 4 year old. Recently became a single mum during the week as well so that's thrown an extra spanner in the works.

    This thread is such a help. I often feel like I am struggling with this stuff on my own - other people make it look so easy. I started Lee's class but since the summer holidays have had zero time to do anything. I'm going to get back on it and try to get a routine in place too.

  • This has been so helpful. Thank you everyone for giving all of us different ideas. Since starting this thread, I have tried implimenting many of the suggestions here, and it has really helped out a lot. I hope the best for all of you who are in the struggle with me 😉

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