Art is a Process

All my life I felt the pull of art. Drawing, making, crafting is in my bones. However, for years I labored under the assumption that one needed to be gifted, talented, bestowed with a magic ingredient to be able to do it and call oneself an artist. How wrong I was.

Now into my late thirties I’ve adopted the artistic lifestyle. What does that mean exactly? Well, it means I finally learned that I love creating things, and that it is a process. It means that I have to commit to making things that I may not like in the end. Sometimes you have to make a lot of ugly shit in order to make something you love.

It’s funny that it took me so long to learn these principles. After all, as a graphic designer, I was trained to muddle through a lot of concepting work — much of which doesn’t make the final cut. I think it is something about your thirties that makes you peel off a lot of that armor you spent all of your younger years putting on. You just stop worrying so much, you put yourself out there more.

I became a graphic designer as a way of being creative, while still having a career option. I started adding illustration to a lot of my design work, because the pull to create something from scratch just tugged harder and harder. I became an artist when I really wanted to explore what I could do, with no restrictions. Now I am all of the above, and I want to share more about my process, my struggles, and my work.

About two years ago I started working in a sketchbook. I know the whole sketch a day and painting a day style projects are popular, however I couldn’t commit to anything like that — although I did try to make it a daily habit. Daily work and family obligations take up a lot of time. So, to take some pressure off myself, I just make sure to spend time each week in my sketchbook. What I learned is that there is not an amazing idea moment before you go to make the “thing,” at least most of the time. There are a few “aha” moments now and then. For me, I found that I need to warm up a bit before the ideas come for bigger pieces/projects. I learned that sometimes, drawing actually refines my skills, even if the final piece isn’t something that I love. I learned that drawing in my sketchbook can actually be supremely meditative, that it can calm me down after a long and trying day. I also learned that sometimes none of those things happen and you just try again tomorrow. It is all part the artistic process.

Following other artists and their processes has also been extremely helpful and inspirational. It is refreshing to see that other artists go through the same struggles but ultimately conquer them to create beautiful work. It also encourages me to persevere, to be more open and share my own work, which is hard for me. Learning to be more open about what I’m doing is a lifelong learning process

I have been sharing my work on Instagram, but I plan to broaden and start sharing more stories about my process and my work here in blog format — including my thoughts on design and illustration since that is also such a big part of what I do. I hope you will join me and follow along!