11 February 2011

Artist Crisis

I'm having an artist crisis.

I keep thinking things like "I'm never going to make it as an artist. I'll just die alone with my mediocre illustrations. Maybe I should just do Linguistics. Or just drop out of college. Wow, I suck! My linework is lacking. My colors are amateur. "

I know I'm supposed to be doing this. It's what I've always done! I've been drawing since I was wee. It's what my hands do! I've done other things, but nothing brings me as much joy as art. When I paint I feel like I don't have to worry about anything else in the world. All there is is creation, and I'm in control of what happens on the paper. Without art, I don't know how sane I'd be right now.

As an Illustrator, I also strive to be a storyteller. I love telling stories. I love telling people my stories, and I love how it makes people feel. I love to make people laugh, or think about something they've never thought about before. I love to question, and then answer my own questions. I love to present new ideas in visual form.

But right now, I feel a bit like I've gotten myself into a profession that I won't succeed in. I'm in my 5th year of college. Shouldn't I have had this crisis 3 years ago? Maybe not. I think I've always been very confident with my art. Until now. I've never felt this vulnerable about my craft. I've never felt the weight of Illustration as a profession. Everyone always tells me it's competitive. I've never thought about it until now though. It really is competitive.

If I stop for just a moment, I'll fall behind. I have to be constantly open to learning new techniques and styles. I can't give up on promoting my work. When I doubt myself I need to just keep going. I think this is natural for every artist. I'm pretty sure all the greats felt this at some point. I know N.C. Wyeth thought of himself as a failure, even though he was a fantastic artist.

No you know what...I KNOW that every artist feels this. Often. On a weekly, yearly, whatever basis. It's part of it.

What I need to do is live and breath illustration. I need to research the artists out there. I need to emulate the masters.  I need to tell stories with my paintings, and I need to put the time and work into each and every one of them. I need to draft, sketch, research, destroy, start over, color, color again, delete, erase, try again, and most importantly....do it all for myself. When I can do that, people will believe in what my art is trying to say.

That's all.

I'll have a real post soon. :)


Diana said...

I'm having a similar crisis, Hannah... I just graduated with these apparently awesome skillz but nobody will hire me. I am approaching 30 unsuccessful job applications. I can't see the light at the end of the tunnel yet, but I know somehow it is there. Keep your head up! You are more competent than you realize. I know I love your work.

KathKarol said...

Hannah, follow what makes you happy. Don't listen to people who point out all the negatives, saying it's too competitive, it doesn't pay, it's this or that. Try and block it out, all it does is put a big stumbling block in your way. Follow through with it. You may not get that perfect job right off but as long as you are disciplined and doing what you LOVE doors will open to you. You may not soley be an illustrator, Who knows, maybe you'll work in film or theater design, or for a gallery. I'm just saying it's not so black and white.

erika danielle eddington said...

You're going to be an awesome illustrator, Hannah. And I know you'll get into the next competition. Remember when your professor commented on what he thought was a lack of ambition? I have never seen you so determined, nor have i seen your work progress as much as after he said that. I know it's disappointing right now, but you'll make yourself so much better because of this experience.

Hannah Hillam said...

Wow, thank you guys. Everything you said made me feel a lot better. I'm not freaking out much anymore. I think it was a pretty normal thing. But thank you. :)

Spickermayne said...

“Art is never finished, only abandoned.” - LDV
Always been one of my favorite quotes. I'm an art major too and I can relate to all the self-doubt. Always comparing myself to others and tearing myself apart over my subtle weaknesses. Needless to say, you don't need to be the next Salvador Dali to be successful. The fact that you're never satisfied always looking to improve shows that you're a true artist at heart. Not to mention you're incredibly funny, and when you combine the two together the only limit is yourself; so don't give up! There's not many of us trying to make a living out of this, and although it's sorta fucked up-- I'm glad I'm not the only one that feels the same way.

WDWDisneyDiva said...

No mam, you are beyond hilarious. This is far beyond the ability to illustrate. You are a rare talent indeed.