I can't quit my full-time job to be an artist. The curse and blessing of being in that position.

  • SVS OG

    There are many of you guys that are so stinking amazing! I want you guys to create books, stories and comics that I can read to my children. Even ones that they can fall in love with on their own. I have been wrestling for the past year of wanting to have more time to create my work, to get better, and really give this art thing a "go." Learning more about the business side and all the other information found here make that dream more real than ever. It being more real makes it harder to feel trapped in my current position in life.

    Please don't take this post as winning. Or one of those "oh, I wish I had that problem." This is just what I am slowly realizing with my work and myself as an artist. Think of "national women's day." This is my choice as a woman and don't go all feminist on me please.

    I am a stay at home mom. I have 4 kids from ages 11-4. None of them took a bottle. That meant sleepless nights for mostly me. My husband works hard. Extremely hard. (as many of you all do). With his high demand job our home rolls aren't exactly 50/50. He swoops in for playtime after all the homework and after school things are done. and I wake up and get them all ready in the morning. Dr apps, allergy shots, carpool, practices, that's all me. He provides a good living for our family. I don't "need" to work and earn extra for our family to be comfortable and enjoy a few of the extra fun things. I will not put my husband's job and our families financial security for my personal self fulfillment.

    Then there is a beast inside that needs to make things. As an artist that wants to work, have validation it is SO hard to not be jealous of those that have nothing but time to prefect and poor into their work and promote. I felt so bitter for a while that I had to give up something I wanted so badly all my life and that my artistic growth was stunted because I had no creative energy when I was pregnant and nursing babies and chasing toddlers.

    Then my heart began to soften. Stupid time-hops on Facebook with my work and trying to dig up something on pinterest and finding work from 5 years ago. The straw that broke the camel's heart was a visit to my brother's house. One that recently moved back to a drivable distance. I saw the work spanning two decades. Work that I had forgotten I even made. Good work. Work that I was proud of. I never stopped making work. I have always created things for the people I love. That candle of creativity has always burned bright. No, not much money has exchanged hands over the past 15 years. But a lot of love has. Work that I tried my best on. That gave my full heart in creating.

    So, if your paycheck hasn't come in yet. PEASE DON'T STOP MAKING WORK YOU ENJOY DOING! Don't stop sharing it with your friends and family. Hopefully, if you need to feed your family, the right people will see your work. I know there are so many of you I am dying to get in my library. I mean that with the most sincere part of my heart. You guys are brilliant. I "real" people in your life love your work (not just the hearts and likes and up-votes), even if you create it as much as you wish.

    As one of the original painting tutorial man use to say, "Happy Painting."

    “I can't think of anything more rewarding than being able to express yourself to others through painting. Exercising the imagination, experimenting with talents, being creative; these things, to me, are truly the windows to your soul.”

  • SVS OG

    I understand this completely. I'm actually on the other end of this. I own a plumbing contracting company and work between 60 and 70 hours a week so I have to put all my creativity in the short few hours I have left during the week and on the weekends. And I think like a lot of people I hate my job.....no I despise, loathe, and detest it. I've also been freelancing on the side for about 19 years....I've never been able to really find my spot in illustration or "break in" as they say. I mostly do work I'm not real fond of (logo's, business cards, news paper ads.) I make a few thousand dollars a year but nothing that would ever support my family. I've been pretty down a few times and almost stopped illustrating completely. But I think drawing is the only thing that keeps me sane. I've had a love of it since I was a kid. Lately I've decided not to do anymore freelance jobs unless they are the right ones that I actually want to do. And work more on personal things. I think for a lot of us there is really no way we could ever stop it's just part of who we are.

  • SVS OG

    @evilrobot Providing for your family, whichever roll you have is super hard. Way to hang in there and take care of your family's needs. That's something to be very proud of.

    Free time and family time is a precious! Think of it like Lord of the Rings and Gollum. I like your way of thinking about commissions/freelance! I am beginning to do the same thing. (I'm sorry random person I haven't spoken to in years, I don't want to paint an enormous over the fireplace canvas for you for next to nothing. Have you seen my work, I use a tiny brush with watercolor on paper.) Your creative time is super limited. Do what makes you the happiest and moves that career along, or it's just not worth it. And yes, my artwork is what keeps me sane too!

  • When I first joined SVS two years ago, my first post was about how it is even possible to do this while raising kids. After taking into consideration everything everyone had to say, I started working on a very strict schedule at night time that allowed me schedule the time I needed. After about a year of this I got very used to it, and since then my life has only become much more busy, but I have not had any issues adapting that schedule to my new life.

    Here is that thread:


  • SVS OG

    @eric-castleman I just read through the thread. So helpful!

  • SVS OG

    Thanks for linking that thread @Eric-Castleman 😊. Looks like it happened around the time my first was born, which would explain why I hadn’t seen it. It was honestly nice just to read through and know I’m not alone.

    Magically last night there was an hour where both kids were sleeping and you can bet I was drawing! Usually the baby is fussy during the evenings still. When he starts having a regular bedtime though, I will have regular drawing time again. For now I get to enjoy his babyhood ☺

  • @eric-castleman Thanks, Eric, and to all who contributed to that thread about parenting and art. We're expecting our second in just a couple weeks, and I still have a good chunk of a children's book illustration project to finish. The challenge I'm grappling with is that evenings are also the only time my husband and I have to talk and plan and work on certain things together. It's all a balancing act that I find very challenging. I have been making a goal for how many hours/week to work on art and then tracking them with an app on my phone... that has helped a bit. 🙂

    Thanks @Whitney-Simms for bringing this discussion up.

  • SVS OG

    thanks @Eric-Castleman that was a really helpful thread.

    I think my schedule is pretty predictable at this point. At least during the school day. Summer will be nuts, but I think I can draw in the mornings.

    @Sarah-LuAnn tiny babies. You are truly at the mercy of their time schedule. But they truly make the best muses. What does Jake Parker say, "fill your creative bank account." Man, do kids do that! Painting my kids rooms where some of the most fulfilling things I have ever done as an artist. I should probably do work for their rooms since we have been in the house for a year and a half now. Oh well, maybe I can do it with the kids and have a collaboration piece.

  • SVS OG

    I raised 4 kids and homeschooled them. I made up stories in myhead while I walked the halls with a crying baby, little bits and pieces, drawing with my kids, etc. I didn't get too much done but I have a whole store of past things that I am now tring to bring to life. I am soon 61 years old. I have lots of time. Hopefully you will fit some time for creativity in now and, if not, there is always tomorrow! Those kids will be adults before you know it and you'll be glad you could spend so much time with them. But, it is still important to fit some in for yourself!

  • SVS OG

    Finding that balance is the hard part! Everyone says they grow so fast so I really do try to stop and just appreciate the experience once in awhile. But that doesn’t change the fact that it is also overwhealming and exhausting and making that me time really is a priority as well. My husband has pointed out to me how much more patient, happy etc I am to be around when I have time to do my art. And I also want to be a real example to my kids of working hard and making my dreams happen. So doing the art as well as the mothering I believe to be best for everyone involved. Balance is key.

    The thing I’ve realized about balance lately is it is never something you can stop working toward. If the tightrope walker ever stops trying to balance, she falls. You’re never “there”. You get more practiced, and you may learn tricks and techniques that help, but it’s always something you have to dedicate a bit of thought and focus on.

  • Man this topic hits hard and close to home. I've got twin two year olds and a 3 month old. You can guess my house is similar to a circus. I was so excited when I found SVS for the beautiful fact that I can get all the amazing information I was looking for without having to leave my house... and I can watch the content at any given time of the day, or night. I've learned to paint with kids on my lap and multitask like a boss! But it is always so nice to read, and see what others are working on and how everyone balances their time.

  • SVS OG

    @sarah-luann What a great anaolgy!

  • SVS OG

    @sarah-luann I had the same thought about balance as I read these posts. I’ve raised one son and two foster kids as a single parent and had to constantly change my “ideal routine” over the years to fit their changing stages of life and now that I’m an empty nester my struggle is with myself and trying to balance all the things I’ve waited so long to do and not let myself get distracted. The only constant has been the need for perseverance and self-discipline.

Log in to reply