Anxiety in the Studio

  • Hi,
    Maybe this has been covered in another post but I thought I would throw it out there anyway.
    After listening to the recent podcast "Am I too old to Get started?" I started thinking about things that come up for me in the studio, questions that stop me creatively. Those little conversations that come up in my mind when all I really want to do is be focused and do some artwork.
    One of my issues is the feeling of overwhelm I get when I come into the studio ready to work. I'll sit down and pull out my drawings and say "what do I want to do today. What can I develop into a finished product or portfolio piece?" I will see a drawing and say "oh I love this character" and want to develop it into a finish. But here's another and another these are all so great. I draw a lot, several pages in a sitting, and I have tons of notebooks full of drawings stacked in my studio. These are 'in the zone' kind of drawings, a lot of following the line where it wants to go kind of things, but it generates good stuff and often it's a source of ideas for me. Before I know it I have these feelings of anxiety and I'm overwhelmed. I end up not doing anything. Except filling another notebook with drawings.
    I understand the importance of drawing in your notebook, that kind of dynamic drawing is necessary for developing your ability ,finding your style. But it's just one step in the process. At some point you have to make the jump to drawing on topic, drawing for purpose, applying your craft , having the ability to do that, if thats what your going for. I guess I'm talking about being intentional and thats where I need to focus if I want to build my portfolio .
    So a few things came up for me , as I was writing this, so thanks for that , I think maybe one thing I can do is not look at my drawings first thing in the morning trying to decide what to draw. But try to set up tasks for myself the night before, so when I roll into the studio in the morning , I can pick up where I left off , sort of bump start me into the creative process.
    I'm going to be in an inquiry about this for myself . I would be interested if there was anyone else that can relate to this and or has their own way of getting going in the morning, getting out of their heads. Thanks, Chris

  • SVS OG

    @C-Davies, I get where you're coming from. The hardest thing for me has been making the jump from the idea of making art to the actual making of art. Where you struggle to channel your focus I had a really hard time just making the first strokes and it really hurt my progress. Once I got started I could get lost in it and make it flow but often the blank page was just so intimidating. For me the difference maker was hearing Jake, Will, and Lee talk about making a project or product. In other words there needs to be an end goal. Something as simple as is this going to be for publishing in a book, hanging on a wall, going into the portfolio, etc? Now it seems that I have a much easier time staying focused when the piece I'm working on has an end goal that I'm going to share with others instead of just living in my private sketchbook.

    Planning things out the night before as you mentioned might help tremendously and having the end goal making a finished product that others will see might help you stay on track. I hope you find a way to push through the anxiety!

  • Thanks,Sorry, I didn't mean to come off sounding needy, I mean I'm still drawing, it's just one of those things that comes up every now and then that I wish didn't . I think it happens when I'm trying too hard. No, when it comes up I like to go back to the fundamentals sketching shapes, inking and stuff. I did watch Jakes video on creating a product, a self generated personal project resulting in a tangible product. I get it and it's confronting too. What comes up for me is what do I feel strongly enough to say. Kind of like writing, like what's the theme,what do you want people to take from your work. I think that's what I want to get clear about what do I feel strongly about enough that it would carry me through doing a larger project.

  • If you're anything like me, the difficulty in starting a piece (versus just drawing character sketches and the like) is the fear of it not turning out the way it looks in my head. It's easier not to start or to push it off then risk disappointment in how it turns out as a finished piece and feeling like a failure. This fear of projected failure really held me back a few years ago, and I found myself procrastinating constantly. But I'm not getting any younger here, and I believe the best way to combat this kind of anxiety is to discover the root of it, name it, and work through it. I like to try to approach my work as I did when I was a kid, at least the spirit of childhood creation. I didn't worry about all this stuff when I was eight, I just drew it. If it didn't turn out the way I wanted, I drew it again without coming down on myself for it's imperfections. I don't know if this helps you or not, but maybe it'll help knowing you're not alone.

  • SVS OG

    I'm the opposite. I need to fill more notebooks and improve on my skills but I jump into making books. I do learn a lot but it takes a long time because I don't have certain skills in the first place. My plan is to work on my skills a while before I start my next personal book project. I'm way behind in drawing everyday.

  • @rhirsch Brilliant, yes, thank you for sharing. Being able to distinguish it is the first step in breaking it up. Now that i've had some time to think about it, I think my anxiety is more about wanting what I put out there to be perfect, like it has to be that perfect project thats just going to be great right out the gate. Not wanting to take the risk and push myself. I guess it comes down to fear, fear of looking bad. Its sort of insidious the way it sneaks in for me. I just have to remember, be present, to the fact that this is something that I do from time to time. Kind of like bio rhythms , I just need to keep practices in place to keep me in the creative flow that way when it does come around again , and it will, i will at least get through it quicker. Thanks agin for sharing. Chris

  • @marsha-kay-ottum-owen Great , thats the place to be. By continuing to work on your skills your bump starting your imagination and inspiring yourself. I think I can take a lesson from that and just relax and draw. Chris

  • Thanks all. Feel like I broke through the funk I was in. I think jumping into this forum was a good idea. So in the spirt of sharing I want to show a little blue pencil drawing I did last night in prep for inking. The little image on the lower left was the thumb nail . it's about 1 1/2 ". Thanks again Chris.

  • SVS OG

    @c-davies Glad you found a way to push through! The sketch looks good. What's your process after inking?

  • @jon-anderson Thanks, I'm analog, I ink with Micron or Pitt. I like to use sharpie fine point for my notebook kinda forces me to be committal with my line. The thumbnail is a sharpie. My favorite is the brush , I learned recently watching a Yuko Shimizu tutorial and it's really fun.
    I've been away from inking for a while and it's hard to get back into it. Right now I'm practicing inking over drawings from my notebook. I like to scan a page and then print it out on good paper at like 8% opacity so it's really light and then ink over it. You can kinda see the faint print out under the ink in this pic..

  • SVS OG

    @c-davies Nice work! I'm still trying build my inking skills but the growing pains still show up.

  • @jon-anderson Jake's tutorials are great . Theres also "Shane White" who has some really good youtube videos on inking called "The Process". sometimes I like to listen to him in the background when I'm inking.

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