Fragmented art time

  • Hi guys,

    I was away from the forum for a while. But in the meantime, I started SVS courses and love them. I drew the attached as per Jake's "How to draw everything"

    So, I try to draw as much as I can but with a baby and a demanding full time job it is challenging to find time. I am happy if I have an hour/day to draw. I feel like I need longer periods to be in my ‘creative zone’ but I have no more time.

    Anybody else has similar setup? 🙂 Any tricks on how to stay productive if your ‘art time’ is very shot and fragmented?


  • @nasvikdraws Yep. I have 2 little kids, so anytime I have the intention of diving deep into something creative, that's when they start up with the Mom! Mom! MOM!! So summer is when I put any expectations of meaningful creative work on hold until they go back to school in the fall, and summer is when I focus on taking classes when I can, or refuel the creative well by doing other activities. As your baby grows, your schedule will change and you'll hopefully have longer and longer stretches of 'you' time. Hang in there.

  • SVS OG

    @nasvikdraws I sympathize! I have had a lot of kiddo time this summer with not a lot of time for projects. One thing I have noticed is that spending time with children is great for my creative brain. When my kids were little I got in the habit of jotting down little notes about what I was noticing, funny things that they said, or situations that would make great story starters or comics. Sometimes I would just sit and watch the way they moved and laughed and played. Now that they are bigger I have a treasure trove of ideas and experiences to draw from. Even though I wasn't illustrating at the time, I was observing and enjoying and it was filling my creative bucket all along. Those notes still contribute to the kind of art I do today.

  • Same here! I have 2 year old and a 6 year old. I'm really struggling with focus. It seems like I can only get a few snippets of time here and there, so it's harder to get invested in more ambitious pieces.

    How about taking a structured and organized approach? Schedule ahead of time what you'll be doing and stick to your time constraints? That's probably what I should be doing.

  • I’m interested in hearing what people do also. I don’t have kids but I have a full time career which eats up my time and makes me exhausted when I get home. I carve out time that is dedicated to working on projects and I’m trying to get better at sticking to that schedule. Sometimes only have 30 minutes to fit in some line exercises. I’m also trying to carve out that time earlier in the morning because I know I’ll be exhausted when I get home from work. My new strategy is to also have a “to do” list so I’m not stuck sitting there staring at a blank piece of paper thinking that I’m behind in my skill and wishing I had gone to art school instead of the pathway I did. Oh TMI, Lol.

  • SVS Team SVS OG

    I have four kids. Three of them are in theater and dance stuff so we are always running all over. My fourth has special needs, so that is always a handful. I work a full time job (but get to work from home a lot) and my wife is a teacher. I have a routine which allows me a few hours during the week. But I make sure to get more time on the weekends.

  • I have a two year old and a 6 month old. After bedtime is my time. Not all of it goes to art, but most of it does. My husband picks up the slack on the dishes and laundry. Even so, my house is never clean. Keep moving forward!

  • I'm a little bit of a night owl, but blocking off one evening a week has helped me. Knowing I'll have from 6pm til whenever I get too tired to work, every week, freed up more creative energy than when I was trying to squeeze an hour in, here or there.

  • SVS OG

    I set an alarm this morning, then I turned it off. No painting today! Small amounts of time are great. If you can squeeze in a little here and there. Simetimes there is “hidden” time you didn’t know about. These will be different for everyone’s life. Mine are at doctor’s appointments, sitting in the carpool line, waiting at practices. I even sketched on the beach last week. You can’t always be buried in a sketch book with kids, but sometimes is fine. Those are great for sketching or exercises. Keep a running note on your phone for ideas and brainstorming.

    Block out a complete evening to creating. Get a friend or your partner to take over parent responsibilies and lock yourself in your art room. Once a week or once a month, whatever. You can’t do it all the time, but sometimes a long stretch to complete a project is needed.
    On your calendar jot down when you got to create. This Helped me realize that I was getting more art time in than I realize. I tend to resent daily chaos for not allowing me to get art time in.

    My sister in law said I needed the shirt that said “I paint so i don’t choke someone.” I told her that about summed it up!

    Good luck and fill that bank account with stories and pictures! Those kids make the best muses!

  • Thank you all for sharing your experiences and some tips. It is very helpful. It is so great to see that all of you are pursuing your art no matter what. No excuse for me then. Lol.

    And, yes, kids are the best to fill up the creative back account 🙂

    I am going to implement a couple of ideas above into my routine and report to you in a few weeks. I will also post on instagram and here more often to be more disciplined.

    Hope my little doesn't show up in the crack of the door after bedtime. Lol
    0_1533754647095_mirohero 3.png

    Cheers 🙂

  • SVS OG

    @nasvikdraws I get where you’re at. I’ve got 5 kids ages 5 to 12. And I’m the bookkeeper for my husband’s 2 businesses. I just decided a couple years ago that I would grow my craft even if all I could do was 5 minutes a day. I got much more consistent and started to see some progress when I let myself be ok with inconsistent work and ugly sketchbooks. It was freeing up that mental space that helped more than anything. Though I still struggle a lot with insecurities about my work.

  • SVS OG

    @whitney-simms I need that T-shirt too. 😂

  • @nasvikdraws Similar I have 4 children although my eldest has moved out now and is setting up home on her own. My next eldest is coming up 18 and has honestly been a star this year with helping with my 10 and 5 year old. My partner works away in another county during the week so I pretty much feel like a single parent most of the time but he does help huge amounts at the weekends etc. I am self employed recently so not much money coming in but it has enabled me to work around and to start uni on an illustration course - just about to start my second year. Didn't feel like we did a whole lot of illustration in our first year and of course with the kids and work and the uni projects it feels like I have no time for actual art. So I am going to try the tips in the podcasts and from you all to block out time, get up early, stay up late etc and be disciplined (I could win medals for procrastinating) but you definitely are not alone.

  • SVS OG

    @nasvikdraws this drawing is spot on! That creak is real. Errrrr. Some days it’s super adorable, other it’s like “Get your little butt in bed!” Write the other ones down that you don’t get a chance to draw. You will forget them! I promise. I’m still guilty of that!

  • @nasvikdraws I’m pretty sure I’ve heard little ones sneak in on at least two SVS classes I’ve taken. Lol. Sorry SVS instructors....I listen to classes with quality headphones and can hear you whispering to your kid to go back to bed. Hahahaha!

  • @whitney-simms Thank you. Started writing the ideas down. So far I am disciplined about it 🙂

  • @jody I heard them too. Lol

  • @pamela-fraley That's a good tip. I am too prescious about my artwork. I need to loosen up more too.

  • Hi All, Thanks again for all the tips. I already progressed a lot in the last week. I write down my idea and sketch then out when I have time. Thinking about all the lost ideas in the last decades. Lol.
    See the below image. A random idea (when I was looking into the mirror rushing to work the other day) made it to an artwork. Thank you guys 🙂

  • #realtalk
    This is the artist's life. I've also got a little dude. Tricks on staying productive... sleep when you can so you're not totally fried when you do get a bit of free time and your work is good work. BUT if you're still dealing with a non-comformist sleeper like mine... be kind to yourself, be realistic about your expectations of yourself and understand that just like anything else, it takes time to make art, to be a good mom, etc. If all we've got is a teensy bit of time here and there, it's gonna take that much longer to get good at what we do. I also have small notebooks I take along with me to sketch, doodle, etc. I paint small so I can finish canvases and feel a sense of completion. 😃

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