Roadblocks to Success



  • Oh wow they referenced my submission and question for the BIG contest. I feel honored. This was a great episode, I hit roadblocks on a regular basis. 😩

    Being someone that never formally went to a college or university for art, figuring things out has been tough. Especially while working a job where I’m on my feet all day and with a family that kinda sees my goals as a waste of time and not only provides zero support but is very discouraging.

    Svs has been a huge help.


  • Moderator

    @Aleksey Thats a shame about the no support from family. Hopefully the peeps on the forum are helping to remedy that. I think that your art is good. The little drunk gnomes were one of my favorites for the big contest. 👍


  • SVS OG

    I use to have a great big Dam in front of me not a little road block haha.. its interesting to listen to you guys because I can relate to the bad students and the good ones. I have no goal in my art other than to be the best oil painter this world has seen but that might be my 100 year goal. My short term goal is to earn money making art on the way. might be too simple... 🙂



  • @burvantill why thank you 🙂 yeah the forum has been totally supportive. And what really helps me is being around others that are also trying to achieve similar goals. (Btw i printed and sent those gnomes as postcards to art directors)


  • SVS OG

    This podcast was just the kick in the pants I needed. I listened to it twice while working yesterday and I do think helped me to up my ability to self-evaluate. Thank you!

    @AnnaDaviscourt I love your covers!!! Thanks for linking them, because I was so curious to see them after listening to the podcast. And I really appreciate your point about more ideation and less drawing.

    Yeah, where does one get a mentor?!

    @Aleksey. I am lucky enough to have some financial support, but it feels tenuous, I work in isolation, and I get no emotional/aesthetic support unless I take classes. Basically everyone thinks I'm living in a dangerous fantasy world because I'm in my 50s and not producing portfolio pieces yet. What keeps me going is: knowing that I love drawing, looking at the difference between what I did two years ago and what I do now, looking at how beautiful illustration can be, and having a group like SVS for feedback. Illustration is an uphill battle, but hopefully it will have been worth it!



  • @LauraA yeah i hear ya. I am very grateful for svslearn. I use the monthly contests as an opportunity to create portfolio pieces



  • @AnnaDaviscourt I agree-that HP cover is awesome. The style is quirky and scary and the font is spot-on. We're cheering you on!



  • @LauraA I was lucky enough to stumble into Lee's class in college. I think more pro artists are considering mentoring as a means of supplemental income, so it's a win win for all artists. I would suggest asking around and maybe proposing a time/$ balance to one of your favorite artists, and suggesting a specific aspect of your learning that you want to work on could help them understand what they'd be getting into.



  • @Susan-Marks Thank you so much!! I'm working on some interior spot illos to kind of match the style of the cover! They're less painful, but there are more of them! 😃



  • Aw man, this was a great episode. Straight away, you hit the nail on the head with me. I am trying to do everything. Get good at everything. Totally true. I don't have a set goal/direction.

    I'm moving this month, but I'm happy to tackle this next month.

    I do have one question though, I still feel like I'm in the learning stage when it comes to foundations. Should I continue learning the foundations (currently focussed on colour, perspective and anatomy), or should I start picking a goal? (Or both?) Love to know what people think.

    I think the next step after that would be to create a project as a vehicle that takes me closer to my goal.


  • SVS OG

    @AnnaDaviscourt Thanks for your reply. Wow, I didn't know that was a thing! I'm working on producing enough pieces to get style consistency for now, and when I feel ready to show them, I would love to try that!



  • Hey just listened to the podcast. It's just so good. I've had so many roadblocks on my path to being an illustrator! My most recent roadblock is my little kids. Right now I've got 2 kids and this is why I wanted to comment. I have 2 boys 3 and 8 years old. It can really be hard to find the time to get work done. I love them to death, but there are days I can't work because of them. Also days I take off just to spend time with them.

    I personally get to a saturation point with learning. I took Mira Reisberg's Children's Book Academy class in August - September last year. It was very intense and I learned a lot. I want to take the CBA's writing course, Make Your Mark's and Splashes class and OF COURSE SVS classes. Right now I feel like I need to get what I'm working on now out of my system before I can move on and learn more. It's not happening as fast as I'd like it to, but taking another class or going to a conference is just going to mess things up for me! I'm not sure that was directly talked about in the podcast. I have to put into practice the things I learn before I can keep learning big things. I'm always learning from my critique partners, but it's not hard core learning.

    My husband and I are making the time now so I can spend more time on my work. I've got a full time job taking care of the kids/household/other stuff. I've got a direction for my art (which I haven't had for a while) and I'm getting better at getting things done. I wont be able to get a new portfolio done every 6 months, but i will get a new portfolio done this year (if not in the next couple of months). If I've got a few hundred dollars to spend on something it might be best spend on day care for my toddler so I can get my work finished rather than on a class or conference.

    I think it will be a few months before I spend money on a class/conference. I think it's almost a waste of time taking classes and going to conferences if you don't put to practice what you've learned!



  • @AnnaDaviscourt Great work! So many good ideas there. Are you going to finish any more of them?



  • @Nathan I have exactly the same question. I’m actually learning the fundamentals for the first time. They definitely aren’t review! I heard on the podcast how to balance working on projects or portfolio pieces vs conferences. But how about with basic learning?

    I’ve been trying to alternate months. One month I work on a personal project, something small enough that I can finish it. The next month I focus more of my time on learning another fundamental. I do expect to want to go back and retake the fundamentals in about 6 months because I think as I learn as little bit more, I’ll be able to get lots more out of it.

    Honestly, as an adult learner I get lots more out of the personal projects. They inspire, terrorize and push me forward. And I usually enjoy working on them much more than the classes. I’m working on that!



  • @DaniDuck I really feel for you. I get it. I'm a mum of a 12 & 14 year old. My husband runs a martial arts school, so this means he's usually not home until the kids are in bed. I feel like a single parent sometimes. I'm also freelancing from home.

    I can feel your overwhelm just reading your words. Take a deep, long breath. Be kind to yourself.

    Some stuff I learnt the hard way:

    • Learn one thing at a time. Choose one course, or have one drawing challenge and give yourself a timeframe. For example, give yourself 3 months to study different botanicals. You absorb more that way than if you try to learn 5 things at once.

    • Household stuff: clean less! It won't be the end of the world. Spend an hour on a weekend and have the whole family do chores together. Even the 3 year old can put away toys and wipe down surfaces. What's done in that hour is done. What's not done can wait.

    • Food: cook in bulk and freeze stuff so you don't have to cook every night. I cook every second night. Your family won't die if they eat the same meal 2 nights in a row. We also have a take out night. I beat myself for years because I had to resort to feeding my kids cereal for dinner occasionally. Then I found out they LOVED it and wished I'll let them do it more often.

    • Don't rush. Depth is better than quantity. Do less but do it better. Create between the cracks. Find time for you because you is important.

    Big hugs xo
    Cindy


  • Moderator

    @Jake-Parker Great podcast, I just finished listening. I have listened to a few podcasts now and it seems like you guys are working toward streamlining and polishing your content, but I have to say, for me the real magic of your podcast is in the digressions, the disagreements, and the different perspectives that you guys all bring to the table.

    There have been times in previous podcasts where I have felt either alienated by, or experienced something contradictory to a statement that one of you have made. Usually shortly after, one of you will come in with an entirely different perspective or even just an exception to the statement, and really round out the topic for me. The tough job for you guys is that people have such different background, goals, and approaches to learning, that advice helpful to one person, could be completely inapplicable or even a detrimental for another.

    At the beginning of this podcast, I had a hard time relating to the topic of focusing on a specific goal, because lately I have been trying to do the exact opposite (with varying success). I am coming into illustration later in life and pursuing it as a second career, and so I began taking SVS to help build my portfolio. Unfortunately, my mindset has been so focused on that goal, that it has impeded my learning. I have to keep reminding myself to just be a student, otherwise I get caught up in the trying to run before I learn to walk scenario. Sometimes when I am working on homework or trying to sketch, I find myself thinking this can never be used as a portfolio piece, why waste the time? This is such a crappy attitude, and rationally I know better, but over the years I have become so rigid and focused on getting things done and being efficient, that I continually fall into this mindset. It is a major creativity killer.

    I would like to become the best artist I can possibly be - I want to be well rounded, I want to experiment with various styles and mediums, and I want to learn in-depth, rather than cherry pick the content that I think can get me work and then deeply regret it down the road. For me, that means floundering is absolutely necessary at the moment, and thats why I was happy to hear Will Terry talk just a little about the benefits of floundering. If I don't flounder, I am at risk of becoming the same artist that I was as a graphic designer, and in the end, that was pretty uninspired.

    Sorry for the lengthy post, the podcast just happened to zero in on an ongoing issue for me . I love what you guys are doing, I hope you keep it up!



  • @BraveScribbler These are all good things to put into practice/remember! 😊 Stuff that parents don't always accept as ok to do. Also the rush thing! I think that everyone starts out in a rush and think they have to be published right away and their work is perfect. It's worse with kids because you feel like you are extra behind.

    @Nathan @Susan-Marks I don't know if there is a one-size-fits-all answer for your questions. I've been in art for more years than I care to admit to. 🤣

    I don't see how having a goal is going to stop you from learning the basics. If you have a clear life goal in mind then you will work harder to achieve that goal. You can make up all kinds of other goals, but make sure that any goal you make gets you to that ultimate goal.

    Right now it's not so much a concern about finishing your work than learning how to create it. If you feel like you are ready to create a portfolio's worth of images or create a book dummy, then do that. You can still learn the fundamentals while creating. If you get bored with the basics then it's more likely to make you stop, so make sure you are doing things you enjoy. The fundamentals are really important. If you skip them now you may have trouble drawing the things you want to draw. Keep working and have fun learning!



  • @Susan-Marks

    I am partly the opposite with the classes and worksheets I can pump out a lot of actual work from them and feel like I get loads done. My February contest work was my best of combining my learning.

    When I see people draw characters I want to as well but even though I have taken How To Draw Everything combining shapes and perspective I struggle hugely with. There just seems to be so much to tackle and work through.

    I feel even more pressured because I am not working. I want to have a website started in the fall. I think children’s book illustration but I love environments but not sure a future in that.

    Anyways thanks to know we are roughly in same boat. Cheers!



  • @Heather-Boyd If you work with it more you end up getting better. I have more problems with environments rather than characters. I want to draw the characters but the environments I could do without sometimes.

    I don't know that there isn't a market for environmental art. In animation the person who does background art is separate from the person who animates characters. It's the same for video game design. Also I'm sure there are non-fiction books that are centered more on the backgrounds than the people themselves. Text books will often have inanimate objects to draw rather than people. If we are talking about fine art, landscape artists seem likely to be able to make and sell a landscape. Portrait artists usually need a model release form (though this isn't always the case) and you need to find a person who wants to buy another person's likeness! Look into it and see if it's what you want to do! Sometimes it's more finding the right options rather than there not being options related to what you love!



  • @Aleksey Yeah! I listened to it and was like; Hey! I know this awesome piece! So cool Aleksey ☺


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