Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Panic Mode


When I was young and dumb I thought working from home, drawing and painting, would be the best job in the world. It is, but it isn't easy. In fact, I would go so far as to say it's a lot harder than any other job I've ever had.

There is no set time to start, and especially no set time to stop. I work when I can, as early or as late as I can. Sometimes for hours at a time, other times just a few minutes here or there.There are no set coffee breaks and no boss to keep you on task. In fact, there are so many distractions and temptations to cause procrastination it's ridiculous. Not to mention all the distractions of family life ... kids, pets, theWIFE ... everyone takes a little time and can interrupt the flow.

Ahh the flow ... some people call it the mood, the groove or whatever else. I like to think of it as that state of mind where the world is tuned out and everything is coming together perfectly ... the artwork is being created and everything is awesome. It's not hard to get in to the flow, it's just hard to stay there. When you have a family and you work at home, any moment the kids can explode, or the pets get in to something they shouldn't, or the wife needs help. Interruptions are everywhere.

It's tough.

There are a lot of people that have given me advice over the years, whether I wanted it or not.
Work at night.
Get your own room for working.
Tell the family that from this time to that time you're not available.

It all works on paper perfectly ... it just doesn't work that well in real life.

The best I have come up with is to be portable with my studio and flexible with my time. Meaning ... I have a small box that holds most of my pens and paints and pre cut art paper that I can take in to any room and start working. In the studio room downstairs when things are quiet, to the living room floor or kitchen table when things are busy.

As for finding the time, I grab it when I can. If it means I only have a few minutes before I get the kids ready for bed then I might have just enough time to tape down an new paper to prep for painting, or put that quick extra coat on a background, or maybe even just add the white highlight to an eye.

It has taken me years to figure all these things out and to find a system that works for me. A long time ago I used to bemoan my lack of space and time and privacy. No one likes a whiny adult and the more a person complains the worse things usually get. So I learned to adapt and go with a new flow.

While it does not allow me a full 8 hours of just drawing and painting, it does allow me to get things done and still be a member of the family that helps my wife, and interacts with my kids. 

But the job doesn't end when the artwork ends. Oh no. The artwork was the easy part.

Next post  I'll talk about all the stuff that comes AFTER (as well as during and before) the art is done.