How to Increase Grit?
@Frost-Drive well, I’d like to mention that this is my job and I have no choice but to put in the hrs or I’ll end up penniless. Also, I only do this when deadline (as mentioned previously) is very near and I still don’t have my shit together. I can’t survive if I did this everyday. Heaven knows I’d go crazy. I also failed to mention I take a 1 hr break for lunch and another hour for dinner. Also, I take naps in between when I feel my body can’t handle it anymore. And yeah, sometimes my 15 minute break turns into an hour or two. That 9 hours of work is spread throughout the day from 8 am to 10 pm.
This was my routine last February to May. I worked on 3 books and it was hell. 2 of those books are finished and I only have 1 left. I’m currently taking things VERY slowly.
On a regular day, I’d work about a couple of hours in the morning, 3-4 hours in the afternoon, and maybe another couple of hours after dinner. My work ranges from drawing and painting to answering emails and messages. I’m very scattered and unorganized. I’m also very lazy.
I felt like I really need to adress this
So, how do you go back to drawing after just 15 minutes of break?
I think about all the bills I need to pay.
I think about how empty my bank account is.
I think about how much money they’ll pay me.
I think about how I won’t see a cent of that payment if I don’t finish the book.
I think about how close the deadline is.
I think about how my career will be over if don’t finish on time.
I think about how I’ll die if I lose my job.
Depressing thoughts but they do the job.
Jane Smith last edited by
This is a great book - https://www.amazon.com/Grit-Passion-Perseverance-Angela-Duckworth. Well researched, well written and a good read.
charitymunoz last edited by
@Frost-Drive I agree with what's been said here. My husband began our family business and works from home, I homeschool my children, and I am an illustrator-in-training. Due to my other obligations I have on average 3-4 hours (so far!) of art time in a day, scheduled around teaching, bookkeeping, and running the house. There are a few things that make it all possible.
- You must keep a schedule just as if you were working for someone else. PJs and odd hours detract from building creative triggers which allow you to get into the zone faster and more efficiently. But bear in mind, at any other job, you would have shifting activities so you don't stay focused on one task for too long and burn out (it also allows the brain to rest so it works smarter on each task). You also get work breaks, meals, time away from work (something you don't get when you work from home unless you force yourself), and rest.
- You have to build your mental capacity for intense focus as you would any muscle. If you can do 5 hours now, great! Work your way up to 6 next. (I learned this one during violin performance training in college where I practiced 6-8 hours a day with intense focus!). Just as you wouldn't start running by joining the Boston Marathon, you can't just expect to start drawing with intense focus 8 hours right at the start.
- Some books that have helped me keep going and focused:
Creative Triggers by Twyla Tharp
Grit by Angela Duckworth
Deep Work by Cal Newport
The One Thing by Gary Keller
Morning Miracle by Hal Elrod
I hope this helps some!
deborah Haagenson last edited by
@Frost-Drive Since you're an early riser, have you tried starting your day off doing artwork first? I was always a night owl, but this past year when I worked away from home (not doing artwork), I started waking up at 5:00 AM, poured a cup of coffee and spent at least 2 hours drawing. I enjoyed this so much. I didn't have to hurry, no pressure. Maybe this would work for you.
cristamay last edited by
I don't think you should focus on how many hours you draw per day, instead pay attention if they are productive hours.
Don't compare yourself to others, that never helps. You can learn from others.
Also drawing is not everything in this career, you have to do many more things so I recommend you that when you don't feel like drawing but you want to be productive start planning or learning things on the business side of the game for example. Or take that online class you have been wanting to take for months.
And please take breaks. Your body can handle what it can handle and if you don't listen to it it will be loud until you have no other choice but to rest.
Believe me, people that say they draw for 10h a day no prob they are probably not as literal as you think... Maybe they actually are 4h doodling while checking FB, 2h on youtube and 4h drawing.
However I knew a starting illustrator who wanted to be a pro but she hardly ever wanted to draw, maybe 3 days a week (and never 8h per day). I find this very weird because if you are planning to make this as a career you should invest more to make a living of it. With this I mean that if you feel somehow like this, maybe you only want it as a hobby.
When I started I was mostly learning things, practicing and having fun. I have to tell you that this is like a muscle so I'm sure that it will be easier for you to draw more hours in a while. Just don't pressure yourself
deborah Haagenson last edited by
I know for me it matters where I have myself set up to work. When I was set up near my living space I would find myself working more often, but taking more breaks. Now I have myself set up in a room up stairs. I spend more time once I start working, but I don't work on the fly, whenever I feel like it. Frankly, I got more done when everything was near me.
carlianne last edited by
Okay so, I work an 8 hour work day as an Illustrator, and then I usually do another 2 hours at night on my personal work. On the weekends I do maybe another 2-3 hours a day if I have a deadline. I don't do extra work every night, I try to take a night off to do nothing and a night with my husband once a week.
How I do it. Like Lee said some activities require more breaks. Like thumbnails, rough sketches etc. I have to take a break like every 30 - 45 min. If I'm doing clean up work I can go two to three hours before a break. I recommend going for a walk, eating while not looking at a screen, talking to someone for breaks. Something that allows you to look out or at others, not at a screen.
I get off at five, I do dinner, family time etc. I start working again around 9pm until I feel tired and I go to sleep. I don't stay up past 12:30 as getting not enough sleep or working tired is less productive, and makes you less productive the following day. Better to end early and stay well rested. If I'm too tired to work that night, I don't work that night.
On nights I'm working I don't watch TV as that ruins my desire to be productive.
I also run by deadlines. Which is why I do the monthly contests. So even if it is a self made deadline like an Instagram post daily, it motivates me to do it. I need that motivation to keep the schedule, and I'm not working just to work, I have a goal like finish a painting etc. As my goal, not just to burn hours.
It may also help that my day work isn't in my style so I get to do something completely different at home.
I learned a lot with this SVS class:
Finding work/life balance
@Frost-Drive You've gotten some great advice here. Before I read the other comments, I too was thinking, "Well, it depends what stage you're in." The initial creativity that goes into concepting and thumb nailing a piece requires a lot of extra energy.
Also, I find that if I don't take breaks about every two hours, I literally start to lose sight of the big picture and I end up wasting a lot of time. But 90 minutes sounds about right.
And I have never been much for mindless activities. I spend my free time on friendships, listening to teachers/speakers while doing housework, and taking walks to empty my head and release the tension that comes from being slumped over the tablet for too long. Those things are a good counter to working alone all day inside my own head. Each person will find their own balance.
Then again, my goal isn't to be a human assembly line, because I don't think that's what makes a good artist. My goal is to make good art (and hopefully get paid for it eventually), and that does require getting more work done.
That said, I wasn't working fast enough, so last week I did exactly what you suggested about getting my life out of balance: I participated in Childhood Week, and I only had roughs going in, so I ended up working from early morning until about 9:30 every evening to finish each piece. Nothing else in my life got done except for the bare minimum required to put meals on the table (for my husband, because I would have just put tuna on a salad and called it good). At the end of the day, I collapsed, got up early the next morning, and started again. And every day from about 11:00-3:00, I had that kind of near panic that children feel when they start to run down a hill and get out of control and don't know if this sensation will end in exhilaration or a trip to the ER .
Although I didn't know how much work it was going to take to bring a piece from roughs to finished each day, I did know that I was setting a tough deadline for myself, and I did it precisely to force myself into production and greater efficiency. I work much too slowly and am too much of a perfectionist in ways that don't make for better finished pieces. Doing a drawing challenge forced me to finish work extremely quickly and post it whether I liked it or not. And in the end, I posted 6 out of 7 days (for one, I just couldn't get the rough to read well and will have to go back to it). Out of the 6, I really like 2, 2 others have potential but maybe need a little more work, and 2 I dislike but posted anyway because that was the challenge.
Could I go on like this? No, because my household is a disaster even after just one week and there are things I simply can't put off anymore. And my personal life needs some attention as well. Not to mention that I moved all my English students' lessons to early this week. But I highly recommend doing a challenge now and then! As a limited experience I think it was very valuable, because it "velocitized" me. Now I hope I can go back and finish a piece in a few days to a week instead of half a month. I streamlined my process. I looked at my pieces compared to those I most liked in the challenge and noted the differences. I made a list of aspects of illustration that I want to go back and study to improve my work. None of this would have been possible in the same way if I hadn't forced myself to finish work very quickly and get it out there.
In the end, I think the secret to drawing all day is motivation combined with a workable routine. Motivation may be love of the work, need to earn money, or setting yourself a challenge in which you are accountable to others. For the routine, I recommend thinking about what will bring you both enough hours, but also focus on what makes your work better. Only you will know the right combination for you, but listening to others' experience helps.