The Rock & Roll lifestyle of an artist

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I’m an illustrator and creator.

Hurrah! It must be a life of non stop fun? Endless days of making things up and drawing lots!

Well, no not exactly.

As an artist, you’re strapping in for a life of creative frustrations, disappointments and long long hours juggling trying to become the artist you want to be (which you never will) and doing the things that will enable you to actually make a living from your creative scratchings.

Sadly just sitting and drawing all day is not an option. It takes a lot of continual hard work to generate both opportunity and income and marketing yourself can feel like a full time job which means the drawing time, the reason I’m doing this, gets squeezed. I can go many days barely picking up a pencil. 

‘So why do you do it you moaning Minnie?’

Because it’s a fundamental part of me. The need to pick up a pencil and start drawing has always been there. 

I want people to see and appreciate my work (and I’m a huge fan of getting gushing praise) but I draw for myself. Every time I draw it’s my personal battle to get on paper something indefinable that is inside of me. 

That battle can be tough sometimes, well actually quite a lot. When things are going wrong and I can’t find that spark it can effect my mood for days (sorry long suffering family). 

But there’s also the flip side when everything is flowing.

There are definitely easier ways to earn a living that pay way more. I’ve done stuff that paid me well but made me deeply miserable and I’ve done illustration for peanuts that made me very very happy. 

Side note to anyone wishing to hire me reading this, disregard the working for peanuts comment, I’ve wised up. 🙂

In the end my art for what it’s worth, is my art.

When we’re little kids we draw to express ourselves. We don’t worry about how someone might judge our work, we do it because we want to. And while I’m now a grizzled artist and do worry too much how people judge me, I still draw to express myself.

Our creativity comes from within and in my case manifests itself as an artwork that is a direct result of my hard earned experience and creative channeling of that experience. 

When I do get to just sit down and draw that’s the payoff. The almost zen like pleasure in getting lost in the process for hours on end. The occasional high of doing something that really surprises me and the incremental improvements that only I’m aware of.

I’m not the illustrator I aspire to be, not even close. And that’s why I do this. I keep pushing forward learning and growing, hopefully until I’m at least 122 and found slumped over my drawing board with my last fetid breath drying the ink on what was I thought quite a good piece of art (though the perspective on that background could do with a bit of work).

Note: The artwork here is unrelated to that last line. I am neither 122 years old or dead (fingers crossed).