CHRIS RYNIAK: All the things
This is something that has been addressed many times by creative professionals and entrepreneurs, but it never hurts to repeat.
MOST of my day as an artist is not spent in an absinthe fueled rampage of feverishly tossing paint onto a canvas …sorry. MOST of my day IS filled with drudgery:…
YEP. If if Chris doesnt mind id like to add to this: My full time job is art and im extremely grateful for this. But what some people, esp newer followers, dont realize is that i have been working towards this for over 10 years. Some people get lucky and get a good break that allows them a solid career very quickly but a lot of us… it’s years of making art when you come home from a full or part time job, making work you might not be all that into to build your reputation and honestly a lot of time fielding bullshit/getting burned on projects/learning how to deal with people and clients. And some of us even have kids which is a full time job in itself ( so much respect for folks that can handle that on top of it all! )
I don’t want to discourage anyone from wanting to be a career artist but i do want to prepare you for the reality. Nobody did that for me and i wasted a lot of time not knowing what the hell i was doing and learning the hard way! And like Chris mentioned it’s a lot of not so fun backstage work that adds up really quickly. There have been many days where i dont even get to touch any projects because im packing orders, buying supplies,running errands, researching,doing cons, prepping for cons, reading, emailing, organizing, cleaning the workspace or um …writing stuff on tumblr. Guess i should get back to work! ;)
Pretty much how it works for me too. I have a full time job as well. It makes me really irritated when people tell me “I really think you should turn your doll ‘hobby’ into a full time job! You’re good enough!”
It’s got nothing to do with a confidence in skills, it’s logistics of the economy that keeps me from doing dolls full time. I can’t make a steady paycheck with dolls. Then the idea that this is a “hobby” bothers me. It’s not. It’s a second job. It’s a second job I do purely because I love doing it- but I don’t really make a lot of money from it. To ramp this up into a full time job I’d need to have a full line of dolls and a lot of accessories and smaller items to pad out the slow times when no one has enough money to buy a full doll. That would be a LOT of work. I couldn’t afford to pay for someone to help with packing and shipping either.
“But Sarah!” you say, “You just took a trip to japan!” Yup. And I used doll money to cover the two weeks unpaid vacation. The plane tickets were covered by my husband’s paycheck.
Doing what you love won’t save you from drudgery and hating your life. No matter what you do there will be periods of time when you want to quit and you need to take a break. The saddest thing is that the need to pay your bills and keep your head above water can eventually make you hate doing your art. You’ve got to figure out how to balance it all.
I haven’t had a weekend off since we were in Japan. and before that time I hadn’t taken a weekend totally off since Christmas.
This this this this thissssss.
The assumption that personal work isn’t “real work” is something that’s really starting to get to me in my personal life. I love comics and bookmaking, but they are as far as you can get from being “hobbies”. They are my life.
People think they can interrupt me and make demands of me when I’m in the middle of drawing a picture for a personal work, but oh my goodness shhh leave her alone she’s drawing a picture for job-work. I’ve literally had to start just flat-out lying to people when they ask what I’m doing this weekend, or what I’m doing right now and can I be interrupted. It’s all just “work” now. Because as soon as even the tiniest distinction is made, boom, the personally-fulfilling work is immediately undervalued and disrespected.
If I can’t pay my bills with it, it’s obviously a hobby that I dabble in to keep the boredom away and nothing more. Nevermind that it’s harder to do than my day job (which, thankfully, is also an art job that I enjoy a lot); the highs are higher, the lows lower, the stress and the commitment and dedication required sets the bar high, and even though half the time it appears to be Sysiphean from the outside (which makes people around you a certain kind of uncomfortable), the grind is a necessary part of the process. You love and hate every moment of it.
The frustrating part is that the people who devalue this sort of work have no idea and will never have any idea of just how important it actually is.