Procrastination Fixation, and Sketchy about being an Artist

I’ll Do It Later

I first had the idea for this blog ages back. It seems like such a wonderful, simple, quaint thing, that could keep me motivated and occupied whilst I worked on my folio and searched for a job in the video-game (or film) industry. No pressure, no stress, just me, some words and some doodles. Nothing could go wrong.

So of course, naturally, I put it off for the longest time, eventually created the thing back in April, and have only just gotten around to my first post now, after months of crushing anxiety that I would never be able to to the blog justice considering the lovely way I pictured it in my head. Fuweeee~

There are a lot of things that can be said about procrastination. The most common you’ll hear from others, either due to a lack of understanding or simply because their brain works in a different way to the point where they don’t understand the trials of expectation, is that ‘it’s just laziness with a fancy name’. Because you know, that’s great! Imprinting a negative falsity on someone who is clearly already struggling with motivation will totally work. Go you, wise non-lazy person who gets things done, thumbs up. No but really, hold the phone. Take your ego and lay it gently aside, because this one takes empathy to deal with, and the ego often ignored empathy to proclaim its own successes.

I do believe a lack of mental discipline plays into it. It’s an observation of myself I will gladly own up to. It probably started out in high school as ‘ew, conformity’ and developed from there. Instant gratification is a thing too. ‘Why do X and reap the rewards later when I can totally just watch/play this thing and feel good right now?’ Then, there is the crushing, crushing, crushing fear and anxiety of not living up to my own expectations, or the expectations of others, the self-doubt, the worrying, that all ends up turning into ‘it is better if I don’t do it at all than to try and fail to epic proportions and add to my long list of failures’. Internet, Steph’s Brain. Steph’s Brain, Internet. A good friend of mine aptly refers to this mode of my savage self-sabotage and procrastination as my ‘Jerkbrain’, and she couldn’t be more right.

I could continue to go into Procrastination and how to fight it, but really, why sneak up onto the shoulders of giants when I can link directly to said giants? A friend, a while ago (naturally I only read them recently) linked me to a couple of write-ups on ‘Wait But Why?’ about procrastination. They are informative, entertaining, and actually really helpful. Fly, my pretties!

Part 1 – Procrastination

Part 2 – And How to beat It

I won’t make this first post too long, because I have a juicy talk about horror video games I’m saving for the next one, and it’s going to be all long and analytical but proabably also hilarious, because I am in love with the horror genre even though the games within it I play are very specific, and can also be terribly bad for my sleep.

Or maybe I’ll write about Star Wars. because Star Wars, and with Update 3 coming to The Old Republic soon, Star Wars Rebels and a load of concept art and info being released on Episode VII, there is a lot to talk about. So much exciting exciting Star Wars goodness.

Do it Artistinglingly

Before we part ways, I have a bit of a confession to make (and some form of introduction).

I am an artist. Well at least, I am trying to be. I think that means I am by default. I have been drawing ever since I can remember, fell in love with anime/manga, film and video games in highschool, western comics in Uni, and finally after a film degree got me nowhere (I wanted to do set design, and they told me in my third and final year that I had done the wrong course. Thanks guys.), I found my true calling when a friend introduced me to a course focusing on 2D and 3D art for video games.

This links in a little to the previous topic of procrastination, because well, as soon as drawing became ‘not just a thing I do with all my spare time because it RULES and I love creating things’.. when a massive amount of expectation, largely created in my head, suddenly fell upon me to succeed and to draw well and fast and learn to colour properly and etc etc, something happened. I’m still not so sure what, and part of finally turning to this blog is part of me on a journey to rediscover my zeal, because whilst my inspiration stuck around, I started to lose my ability to draw. Suddenly sitting down to draw or 3D model became incredibly hard. I didn’t want to do it. Or I longed to do it, but still didn’t. It started as a dull, persistent ache and not drawing as much, and over the course of three years turned into this excruciating inability to draw what I want to, when I want, even whilst knowing I likely have the talent to create all the beautiful things I see in my mind. Before this past week or so, I had stopped drawing altogether for about four or so months. What happened to cause that sudden drop off? Well. This fucker:

DAMN THIS PUREBLOOD AND HIS PERFECT SHADING.

DAMN THIS PUREBLOOD AND HIS PERFECT SHADING.

This was a commission for a friend of mine. It took me three days to do, start to finish, and is hands down the best piece of artwork I have ever rendered. I was damn proud of myself. I still am. It was a milestone for me. It was like I had just digivolved into my next state of being. I gave it to said friend as a birthday gift. He loved it, and a load of mutual friends we had came around asking for commissions of their SWTOR characters.

Naturally, I panicked, and stopped drawing completely.

Aside from a sketch here and there, I produced nothing, and after a month or so even the doodles stopped. I mean, because, that thing? It was a fluke. I put pen to Wacom and magic just happened. Either I was in the zone, on some serious drugs I do not remember taking, or the magical Creative Arts Faeries possessed me and knocked out that artwork. Likely though, just a fluke. Because me? I can’t draw like that all the time. Oh no. How am I supposed to top that? How am I supposed to top that? People are going to be wanting art from me, expecting that, and what if I can’t replicate it?

Yes friends, this is why it’s called the Jerkbrain.

At some point between seven and fourteen days ago, well into a massive, massive rut, that this picture only played a part in, I realised that something had to give. I want to create. I have so much to create. I have comic ideas, game ideas, movie ideas, and the more time I spend being stuck, the less time I have to bring them into the world. I don’t want that.

I have been told by well meaning (and likely completely right) people that this isn’t as uncommon as I may thing, and that I am being too hard on myself. It’s not unheard of for someone to finish Uni into a not-the-best job market with high expectations of themselves, and promptly fall into a deep, dark hole. Once I was convinced that I wasn’t entirely crazy and pathetic, things got a bit easier. And sometime last week, I quietly picked up my sketchbook, stared at it for a little while – took pacer up in shaky hand, and began to draw.

I am an artist, who is afraid of being an artist.

It’s pretty silly. I’ve decided I will change it.

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