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Author Topic: Why Don't I Enjoy Art Any More?  (Read 2366 times)

Andy Lambert

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Why Don't I Enjoy Art Any More?
« on: 15 September, 2018, 10:33:58 am »
Forgive me if this topic has been raised elsewhere - I didn't check if it has.
I'm just looking to talk about something that's been bothering me, and if someone has the patience and time to share any advice, support or understanding of this topic, then I'll be extremely grateful.

In a nutshell, I've lost my passion for drawing and I want it back.
When I was younger, I used to draw all the time. While the popular kids played football during break times at school, I'd sit in the corridor sketching away with other kids gathering around to watch me. I drew the most crazy characters and creatures from my mind, and felt comics and illustration was my obvious career path. But when I hit my early 30s, I suffered a creative block that lasted a decade. I was going through depression, and some circumstances in my life knocked the confidence out of me.

I came back to drawing thanks to the monthly art competitions on this very forum, and people thankfully seemed to like what I did. I've never felt I was quite good enough for comics or book illustration, despite what people said to me. I've never felt like I got my art mojo fully returned to me.

This year, I finished a year at college and have knocked out a string of commissions for people so it's apparent people like what I do. However, I've stopped enjoying drawing and everything I do - even when it's just sketching for myself - is a joyless chore. Right now, I'm considering getting rid of all my art books and materials because I feel like accepting the idea that I should just stop trying.
But there's a part of me reluctant to give up - drawing was the best skill I had, and if I don't have that - what DO I have?

Apologies for rambling on, I just wanted to talk with fellow artists who have gone through - or are maybe going through - what I'm currently experiencing. I need to figure out if it's worth sticking with or should I accept the passion is gone and let it go.

Thanks for reading/listening.

Frank

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Re: Why Don't I Enjoy Art Any More?
« Reply #1 on: 15 September, 2018, 11:02:57 am »

Up until a couple of years ago, I'd drawn every day of my life. When I try to understand why I lost the desire to do so, the best I can come up with is that I'd begun to bore myself.

Both in terms of subject matter - how many times can you draw Judge Dredd? - and in terms of my technical improvement - I was no better than I was more than a decade earlier and full-time work meant I didn't have the free time necessary to progress. *

As someone who gave up, I'm not in a position to offer you advice on how to get out of your rut, but if stagnation is the problem then doing something different and challenging yourself seem like the obvious solutions. Insert cliched shark motion/life metaphor.


* I remember going round a friend's house as a kid and seeing the hot rod art his dad had done as a teenager hanging on the wall. I asked what his dad had drawn lately and was told he didn't draw anymore, which seemed insane to me, but as an adult I can see how a single dad working 12 hour shifts at a factory probably had more pressing demands on his time than cartooning.

Andy Lambert

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Re: Why Don't I Enjoy Art Any More?
« Reply #2 on: 15 September, 2018, 11:08:42 am »
Hi Frank - thanks for your response.

Can I ask how you feel about giving up? Were you okay with it?

It's interesting that you say work and life gets in the way of drawing - I agree with that. But since drawing takes time, and commissions aren't guaranteed to be regular, a secondary job is usually needed but that it has a habit of taking over, which is what happened in my 20s.

Frank

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Re: Why Don't I Enjoy Art Any More?
« Reply #3 on: 15 September, 2018, 11:25:48 am »
Can I ask how you feel about giving up? Were you okay with it?

I don't feel any regret.

On the occasions when I find old work I've done, the prevailing emotion is contempt for its inadequacies. I felt the same looking back at old work while I was still drawing, but my response then was to reflect on how much better I'd become since, and that usually inspired me to draw something new to demonstrate my development.

That's gone completely. I suppose that idea of progress must have been part of what motivated me to draw in the first place.



Andy Lambert

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Re: Why Don't I Enjoy Art Any More?
« Reply #4 on: 15 September, 2018, 11:34:56 am »
Interesting... thank you, Frank.
While our experiences are different from each other, it's kind of nice to know you don't have any regrets.

The Legendary Shark

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Re: Why Don't I Enjoy Art Any More?
« Reply #5 on: 15 September, 2018, 12:41:09 pm »

I give up writing all the time due to my own inadequacies - I've posted a few short stories on a thread here and received exactly zero comments of any kind, which is quite dispiriting. But then, at some random time, I'll get another idea for a Doings of Rufus Muldoon story or something and enjoy writing it.

I know it's not the same thing but it's similar. All I can say is that, in my case, the urge to write comes and goes and I can't seem to force it one way or the other. The best I can do is enjoy myself when the words finally come.


Leigh S

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Re: Why Don't I Enjoy Art Any More?
« Reply #6 on: 15 September, 2018, 12:56:18 pm »
I suspect it is different for everyone

For me, I drew as a kid because I was praised for it at school, and praise was not particularly forthcoming elsewhere!  I've never tried (properly) to maximie what skill I have (buying proper paper and gear etc) and have contented myself to usually use printer paper and pencils from work to render most of my "masterpieces"!

My interest in drawing has similarly waned and waxed, but for me, it is often rekindled when I get excitd about some other project I am doing that requires some art - usually some board game related noodlings or vzgue desire to try and pin down what (for example) an enjoyable retrofuturistic Flash Gordon universe might look like on paper rather than just in my head.

If I didnt have those triggers, I probably woundlt draw half as much as I do!

IndigoPrime

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Re: Why Don't I Enjoy Art Any More?
« Reply #7 on: 15 September, 2018, 01:43:17 pm »
I have the same with some skills, whereas others (notably music creation) have never really left me. The only advice I would give is not to be too hasty about dispensing with the materials. By all means back them in a box and stick them in the loft. If you go a couple of years without the slightest regret about them, give them away; but if that doesn't happen, you can always drag them back out again.

Sometimes, perhaps what's really needed is just a break and a bit of reflection. Othertimes, it might just be that the is not 'you' any more. But you need time and space to figure out which.

SIP

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Re: Why Don't I Enjoy Art Any More?
« Reply #8 on: 15 September, 2018, 08:41:28 pm »
I can completely identify with this Andy and i'm going through exactly the same thing.

I've hardly drawn a thing in the last few years, in the previous decades I was drawing every single day. I always assumed, even in my thirties, that I would eventually end up in an artistic career.....but it just didn't happen. Life got in the way big time (as it tends to) , health and money issues, kids.....and then I realised in my early 40's that it was never actually going to happen. The opportunity was gone and for the first time ever I resigned myself to my day job. That thought knocked my desire to draw on its bum......and I haven't had much of a drawing urge since. When I do feel creative I tend to find other  outlets, like painting figures etc.

I found my mojo a little recently - I really enjoyed working on an entry for the Dredd competition. And i'm looking forward to giving the next competition a go too.

Perhaps we all just need a break from time to time.
« Last Edit: 15 September, 2018, 08:43:26 pm by SIP »

Funt Solo

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Re: Why Don't I Enjoy Art Any More?
« Reply #9 on: 16 September, 2018, 06:46:18 am »
I always end up regretting throwing stuff away, even if I've come to terms with it at the time that I do it. 

In terms of creative output: I wrote the opening chapters of a book about twenty or so years ago and I've always thought I'd get around to finishing it one day.  So I still have those around, just in case I do find the time or the inclination one day.
fate amenable to change

Steven Denton

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Re: Why Don't I Enjoy Art Any More?
« Reply #10 on: 16 September, 2018, 09:49:02 am »
I can identify with this.

I spent the last 6 years with a serious case of artist block. pretty much everything I was working on stalled, and although I still produced the odd illustration or script. The quality of my work dipped and I started to become frustrated with my lake of progress. I wondered for a long time if I really wanted to keep drawing or if I only did it out of habit and because I had let it define me. My whole life I had wanted to be a professional comics artist and in my mid 30's it became apparent that that was never going to happen. One of my primary motivators for producing work had been generating sample and proving I could produce professional quality art at a reasonable speed. Without those motivators I lost direction and motivation. Even the small press scene has changed and rather left me behind.

I haven't given up drawing but I have started to reassess why I draw and what I want to draw. I had a list of unfinished project and ideas that I have set as goals now. once I cracked my creative block I drew a strip for Zarjaz and one for Dogbreath and I've started one for Something Wicked, I have an unfinished Chopper story and I've embarked on a Rogue Trooper fanzine that's long been something I've wanted to do. After that I'll probably take stock again.

The only thing I learnt from my midlife drawing crisis is that at some point you have to decide if you are going to keep drawing to try and build a career (and draw what other want) of start drawing for yourself and only draw the things that interest and excite you. I chose a mix of the two because I'm an obtuse and indecisive twat. 

Andy Lambert

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Re: Why Don't I Enjoy Art Any More?
« Reply #11 on: 16 September, 2018, 10:49:27 am »
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences, folks - I really appreciate it, and it offers some comfort to know I'm not alone in feeling like this. I really hope you each rediscover that creative spark you once had.

I sat on a quiet beach for most of the day yesterday, with things going round and round in my head. I came to some conclusions such as - I may well be experiencing depression again, and if I'm not, I could be on the cusp again. I there's very little joy in my life at the moment.
A good part of that may be down to my circumstances... thanks to being made redundant some time ago, I'm currently in a crappy part time job that doesn't pay me enough, and I've moved to an area where I need public transport to get around so I can't always meet up with friends on a whim like I used to.
I've had to do a lot of commissions to keep my head above water, and with each commission, it feels more like a chore. I need to find a job that offers more hours and pay so that I'm not so reliant on commissions.

I've also realised that I should stop chasing a career as an artist. As much as I wanted it - I felt I should want it - I always felt pressure and anxiety to do the work well and compete with professionals. Accepting this leaves me with an inner battle - I feel less pressure and stress in thinking that I no longer have to draw the things other people want, and yet the thought of giving this up makes me feel like I'm wasting my best skill, and that I've failed.
Perhaps, if I found a better source of income, stopped pursuing art as a career, I might enjoy art again as a hobby...

Steven Denton

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Re: Why Don't I Enjoy Art Any More?
« Reply #12 on: 16 September, 2018, 11:12:54 am »
Colin MacNeil talked about art going from a paying hobby or passion to just a Job after America. In many ways it is just a job when you are working on commissions and not a very well paying job at that. Unless you are at the top of the field or insanely fast it tends to work out below minimum wage in my experiance.

Andy Lambert

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Re: Why Don't I Enjoy Art Any More?
« Reply #13 on: 16 September, 2018, 11:18:20 am »
Yeah, being realistic, I'm not going to be top of the field, but you never know - if people like what draw for myself, I could sell prints or something...

Steven Denton

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Re: Why Don't I Enjoy Art Any More?
« Reply #14 on: 16 September, 2018, 11:28:29 am »
Yes, also a4 sketch originals do well at comic shows for about £10/£20 each. Your work is really good, you just need to find the right people to sell it too.