Woo! We did it! We got all the way to Day 7!
You know what else?
I even woke up BEFORE my alarm this morning!
Warning, this is a long post, but at the end are my personal reflections on this challenge that I hope will help you too!
Learning Time! (30 Minutes)
Yesterday, I tried making Loomis Method heads on my own while I watching a video and the results were….
So, I re-watched the first video I watched seriously on the Loomis Method, Proko’s first video out of the series to catch what I missed.
In my sketchbook, I wrote specifically what I’m struggling with looking back on the heads I drew. As I watched the video, I looking for the possible solution to those problems, and, sure enough, the solutions were there the whole time!
Sometimes, you need to watch something twice to get it.
But did it work, Ashley?
In the remaining time, I watched another Witcher video and sketched a few Loomis heads without any guidance, and yes, I already see improvements. They look much more solid, much less squished (not squished at all, I might add), and I felt like I had a lot more control over where the heads were facing. Plus, I focused more on the head shape rather than getting obsessed with the features.
Commissions (30 Minutes)
Due to the fact that it was News Years Day, my favorite art store was closed, so I wasn’t able to get a giant tube of Titanium White, which meant I was at a stuck point with my commissions. I will be going to my day job today though, and I’ll get a tube of paint on my lunch break!
So now I know my favorite art store gives its employees holidays off too! Splendid!
So what to do, then? Well… for the Draenei painting, I put a layer of silver acrylic paint on the subject, then finished the background.
A few months back, I painted a portrait on a silver background, and I liked the way it looked, so I’m using it here.
And it’s been slightly less than 30 minutes… so what am I going to do?
… 30 minutes of drawing whatever I want!
Actually, while I was drawing this, I was listening to pep talk which was essentially saying, “Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.” It was saying that when you are on your journey to reach your goals, there isn’t a linear “I’ll do this, then this, then this, then I’ll win.” You’ll actually be wandering a desert, you’ll fumble, fall down, make mistakes, some of your effort will go to waste and you just need to figure out more what NOT to do rather than what to do.
It was very inspiring. That’s how I’m feeling a bit with my Trello board and getting my art to generate an income. So, that was something I needed to hear. There’s a lot I want to do, and I don’t know what I’m doing. It felt like I was being given permission to work on T-shirts designs on Tuesday then get a price list for commissions made on Wednesday.
Maybe that wasn’t the point, but that’s what I took from it.
Business (1 Hour)
So, I’ve decided that I’m going to PRIORITIZE commissions. The reason is because lots of people are asking me if I take commissions, especially since I started drawing fantasy portraits again, but no one is asking me to make cute coffee T-shirts…
…as much as I want to and spent all evening last night designing this only to realize I can’t sell it because “But First, Coffee” is trademarked, so I’m designing DIFFERENT coffee shirts instead…
So, today, I made a checklist on Trello to get my brain to prioritize that. Complete with deadlines and everything. I want to get my Character Commissions launched by the end of February.
Well, I have a little bit of time before I have to leave for my day job, so here are my reflections since we’re at the end of the 7 Day Challenge!
What was this challenge?
This challenge is to, before I leave for work and on my days off too, dedicate 3 hours of uninterrupted dedication to my art. Learning how to do something new or brush up on something I could improve on (30 minutes), commissions, projects for other people, etc (60 minutes), and working on only the business aspect be that learning how art business works or actively doing something to build my business or brand (website, creating merch, updating platforms less frequently used platforms like Tumblr, Patreon, etc) (60 minutes), then blogging (30 minutes- it always went over though).
Why did I want to do this challenge?
For starters, I was feeling more and more down. Maybe it was mostly the change in weather, but I was feeling less motivated. I went back to sleeping in until the latest possible moment, then most of the time, I didn’t want to do art.
I wanted to go back to working on my art every morning before facing the daily stress that comes with work. I also needed to update my practices. For months, even if I did wake up at 5, I was only spending 30 minutes on art because that’s what worked at a previous job I had where I started work earlier.
Now, my current day job starts later, so I have so much extra time, so it was less motivating to wake up even though I now had extra time to work on my goal of becoming a stay-at-home artist. I would work for 30 minutes, feel a little accomplished, then watch videos for entertainment, which brought in that sinking feeling of guilt that you get when you know you have something due, but you’re actively procrastinating. This wasn’t the case for me, but I still felt like I could have been putting my time to better use.
This challenge was a way to better manage my time outside of work.
Did this challenge accomplishment what I wanted?
Not only did it accomplish what I wanted, but it even brought me things I didn’t know I wanted until I got it. My portraits are improving, but just the learning part helped me feel energized and challenged, I got a lot of work done on my projects, and the business side is much more organized, but I’m also EXCITED about trying so many new things and feeling better about myself as a person for trying something that I will not excel in everything at right away.
I think this was thing that motivated to get up at 5 am the most. When I had this time dedicated just to learning, even if that was brushing up on things I learned a long time ago and needed to maintain. My brain felt stimulated and challenged.
The active learning where I had to force myself to evaluate the progress I was making especially so.
I think it’s important to remember that art is something that you can always be learning how to do better. How to improve and add even more beauty to this world. It was fun to keep progressing and figure out what I did to get over hurdles. Hopefully I can make this a daily thing and learn even more stuff!
I always have something I could be working on. Even though these “commissions” were just things for family members (who tend to be more forgiving when life gets in the way) it felt great to be continually making progress. At times, it was a “Learning Time” in and of itself (What do you do when someone gives you a bad reference?”
Business is a completely separate ball game from art, and I don’t think a lot of artists want to put the time and effort in to make this work (and no wonder, enough time and effort goes into art making as it is). For a while, trying to get the business side of art going was stressful because a) there are so many streams of income that your art can generate and I want to try them all. Sometimes I get excited about one stream of income one day then a different one the next and b) when I did get super into something to promote my business and brand, I would stress that I’m not getting any actual art making done.
This is why I spent an entire hour every day dedicated to it because of how big and how many factors there are.
Trello has been a life saver because I can put my ideas in one place, have checklists and progress bars that give me that sense of, well, you know, progress, and be more organized and less stressed.
I feel like I now have given myself permission to try different and new things and giving myself time to figure out what works best for me. I’m also having fun with it.
Not only that, but what if my effort is for naught? What if I spend hours say, researching how to and designing T-shirts, and nobody buys them?
Well, I learned all this stuff along the way, how online shops work, how marketing works, and I have cute coffee t-shirt designs that I can add to my portfolio in case someone down the line wants to hire me for such a thing.
I’ve been struggling with self doubt and fear of trying new things because what if I spend all this effort only to find I’m just wasting my time? This week, I learned those fears are invalid. None of it was a waste of time, I had a lot of fun, I learned a lot, and eventually, something WILL work. Art and art business is hard work.
The alternative is not putting in the hard work, staying still, then coming at the end of my life regretting not putting a little extra time into doing something I loved just because of the excuse, “it’s too hard.”
Sorry, I know this entry was long, but it was meaningful, and thank you so much for going on this journey with me. If you’re an artist, I HIGHLY recommend taking part in this challenge too. I learned a lot and no doubt you will too.
See you tomorrow!