The Patient Artist

I’ve been making a few changes to my daily routine this fall, and I’m really pleased with the adjustments. Some of the specific changes include removing Instagram posts from my to-do list, doing studies just for the sake of learning (not to make a perfect picture, and taking a break from work between stages of painting. There have been other changes as well, but they all seem to fit under the large theme of working with leisure.

This doesn’t mean being slow on purpose, or being lazy. But it means allowing myself to enjoy the pleasure of creating art, instead of thriving on results, social media stats, and numbers. Because, to be honest, I can’t really thrive on those things. They don’t sustain me, they don’t motivate me. I’m just addicted to them, and they’re never enough.

I also decided to take September off from publishing on Webtoons, which has also been refreshing. I had originally planned to get lots of pages drawn, but the result has actually been that I’ve worked on a handful of pages… but with more depth, more patience. I’m so happy with the pencil work, and I’m excited to ink them! Since the comic is on my own schedule (and no publisher is waiting on me), I’m going to take advantage of that freedom and continue working at my own pace. (I still have a goal of at least 1 episode a month, just so I have something to aim for.)

I do occasionally worry about how it “looks” when I’m only at my drawing desk for 3-4 hours. But the reality (the one I have to live with) is that I can only produce decent art for so long before it ceases to be even remotely acceptable. I guess I sort of feel guilty when my workday is over too soon, or if I don’t have something tangible to show. But this month has taught me that the quality of the product is (and should be) my main concern. It’s okay if my “work hours” don’t fit into the typical work week. I’m not going to turn my art into a drudgery just because it’s “cool” to be overworked and constantly hustling from one side gig to the next.

Okay to be honest: I have repeatedly turned my art into a drudgery, so I’m really trying to restore it to an honored craft, and allow myself time and space to do my best instead of my fastest.

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