Getting up and creating art every day isn’t always easy. Sometimes I feel no motivation at all, or sometimes things happen, like when my neighbour is playing loud music all day and I have trouble concentrating.
I have however found that a few simple rules applied to my daily life makes putting the hours in that much easier.
1. No Zero Days
Every day I do something, anything art related. It could be working on a piece, researching my next drawing, getting a canvas ready or even a bit of marketing or web design relating to my website. As long as I get something done for the day then I don’t consider it a failure.
2. Set the Timer
I often set my timer for two hours at a time and will work on a drawing for that long before having a break. I started at one hour but found two was just as easy and I got twice as much done. Then I’ll go and do something else for a bit and won’t feel guilty about having a break.
3. List To Books or Podcasts
I almost exclusively listen to audio books when I’m drawing. It always keeps me entertained and I can work and work without being distracted. At the moment I’m listening to a fantasy series about Norse Gods and how they interact with the modern world.
4. Get Enough Protein and Stay Away From Draining Foods
Doesn’t sound like a good motivation tool but I’ve found my energy levels are so much higher if I get adequate protein and don’t eat too many processed foods. When I’m tired I’m much less productive.
5. Do It Even When You Don’t Want To
Sometimes I have no choice but to just force myself to sit down and start drawing, I’d rather watch another episode of whatever is on tv or check social media but I force myself to get up and get to work. Once my time is up I always feel it was the right decision.
I always always feel so much happier when I get work done that day. Small victories lead to big life changes and identifying the ways I can accomplish those small victories makes life even more sweeter as it doesn’t feel like a grind all the time.
I’m not really your average artist. I’ve spent a lot of time looking at what other artists do and trying out some of the “rules” for artists. What I’ve discovered is that I really hate doing some of the golden rules many successful artists follow.
I kept trying to follow the “rules” but it just made me dislike art and lose passion for it so I’ve decided to ignore certain things that other artists do and just do what makes me happy.
And I’ve decided to not get upset about it. No matter what anyone says.
1. I paint the edges of my canvas.
This appears to be a no no in art land. You’re supposed to paint them white, or black or something else as it makes everything look nicer during exhibitions. I’ve tried doing that and absolutely hate how I can’t get a nice white line around my canvas. I’ve read articles about it, followed Youtube tutorials but alas, I give up. I like it best when I paint the edges as if they were part of the painting.
Lots of artists do paint the edges of their paintings but the prevailing trend appears to be edges painted differently to the painting.
2. I don’t sign the front of my paintings.
This is apparently the worst thing I could be doing. It’s going to drive down my value as an artist and make is super easy for forgers to recreate my work.
I don’t care. I’ve tried signing the front of my work and really hate how it ruins the whole thing. I do know of a couple of artists who only sign the backs of their work and it seems to be working just fine for them, so I’ve stopped feeling bad about this and continued signing the back only.
3. I don’t paint every day
I’ve got a full time job, two kids and a house I’m currently renovating so painting every day is virtually impossible for me. I have started journaling everyday in the hopes it will help me relax and clear my mind at the end of a busy day.
While I’d love to paint every day and I can’t imagine how much work I’d produce and how much I’d be improving, I’ve come to accept that picking up a paint brush every day is not going to happen for quite some time.
4. I don’t do preliminary sketches
Even for my still life paintings. I just think about how I want it to look and start painting. Sometimes I’ll get on Photoshop to try out an idea or open my drawing pad to sketch out an idea but most of the time I can see it in my mind and will go off how it looks that way.
Perhaps my visual brain is more advanced but I find I can re position things in my head, try out different colours and add extra features just by thinking about what I’m going to draw.
5. I have different styles I like to do
Successful artists seem to pick a style that works for them and stick to it, for years and years. I honestly could not live like that. My style changes at breakneck speed, and I flit from one style to the next, often working on different styles at once.
I’m currently focusing on three different style of art; abstract art that has a really “cloud” like appearance, charcoal on canvas drawings of children’s toys and surreal/fantasy art. None of them seem to fit in with the others but I like being able to move from one style to the next depending on my feelings at the time.
6. I keep art for myself.
There’s art in my house I’d be happy to sell but it’s hanging up on my walls and I haven’t put it up online to be sold. Not because I hate it but because I’ve just decided to keep it.
Some art, like my charcoal drawing of a Minecraft Creeper is not for sale as the frame is a bit out of whack and I didn’t notice until it was too late. One day I’ll have to take it off the frame and fix it, but until then it sits in my office brightening up my day.
So these are the rules I break constantly in my art. I honestly have tried following the rules correctly and doing what “real” artists do but it just kills my passion for art and I figure rules broken but art produced is better than rules followed and art not made.
We’re working hard on the office, it’s taking longer than hoped for that that’s more to do with the fact that sorting office stuff and attaching doors is about as uninspiring as it gets. It feels nice in here though and I’m spending more time here than I have in ages.
I finally finished a painting I’ve been working for months. Called “Where Did You Go” it’s about the loss of someone who is still there but not with you, not like they used to be. And not because you didn’t want them, they didn’t want you.