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I'm not sure if the world of the professional artist is for me after all.

For all the art I've created in my life, I don't see myself as having a brand or a focus for my work. To put it plainly, I've frequeny told myself I wanted to make art for a living, and others have told me I should be doing it for a living, but I've never determined what that really means.

I'm sitting at a convention right now. The stock on my table is sparse (practically naked), of course, because I didn't really know what to focus on, and my funds were limited. Now I regret what I have. I regret going through the trouble. Even if I sell everything, (yeah right), I won't feel fulfilled because I brought stuff that I picked at random without any feeling of passion toward my product.

I'm never going to stop drawing, but I'm already wishing I'd just stayed home. Engaging with people is something I struggle to do.  Picking one thing to focus on is something I struggle to do.

I really think I've wasted the best years of my life trying to be something I'm not. I may have some artistic skill but that is literally all I have. I don't have what it takes to make a living at this. I just don't know what I'm doing anymore.  
embedded_item1433087353994 by Dualmask
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:iconsodacan:
sodacan Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
"but all of it is in the name of doing what I love"....

People from time to time ask me if I do commissions. I always decline because I don't care to take money from people to do characters I may not be crazy about doing and people who pay for commissions deserve someone fully engaged in doing the work. Frankly, that is not me, so i always decline for my own peace of mind and reduced stress. In fact, I have huge respect for those that do commission work and do it well. This was something I realized only by trying it.

Maybe this event and your questioning it is not really a time to feel like you "wasted the best years of your life", but actually a step forward to understanding how this artistic thing "fits" in your life.

Lastly, the best years of your life can always be the ones to come.
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:icondualmask:
Dualmask Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
I've thought a lot on what you and others have said, and I've decided to stop lamenting the past. I'm also paying attention to how I feel when I do things. The reality is that I'm largely 'over' making comics, but not over creating in general. I'm turning my attention back to my interest in game design...I'm having a lot of fun now. It may lead to something much better or it may not, but I know I feel more alive than I did when I was trying to make and peddle comics.
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:iconsodacan:
sodacan Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Your last two sentences tell the story.
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:iconarjayeff:
ArjayEff Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Knowing what I know about you from the years that we have know each other, I believe it's safe to see that you just hit a speed bump.  I am not quite ready to display my artwork in the fashion you have (mostly because of my lack of material), but my passion as an artist is carrying me closer to that goal.  Here you said that you had a lack of passion and that you have wasted the best years of your life.  I don't believe that.  I believe that you are experiencing self-doubt because the picture of this day in your mind, did not match how the events unfolded.  Keep in mind that many of the professional artists out there fought through exactly what you are going through before they grew to become the successes they are today.  Keep up the good work man!  You obviously have the talent.  Just try to be patient and keep working toward success.  You got this!
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:iconmr-marcus-81:
Mr-Marcus-81 Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Dude...it was your first time at bat at the Con that you attended.  Sounds like you are doing what I tend to do often...play "hero ball."  You're trying to knock a home run on your first at bat, which there's nothing wrong with aiming for the moon.  However, perhaps your expectations may be a bit high considering you weren't really sure to expect.

As for the other stuff...reconsidering if you want to pursue art as a career...once again, I swear that you and I were cut from the same cloth, as I've been struggling and coming to grips with that myself.  I continue to brainstorm and think of ways to refine my characters and stories...but I don't want to draw the comics; I like pin-ups and splash pages.  And I feel that I've come to the point of where I'm almost afraid to try more dynamic poses and such b/c I know they will suck; and yes, I know that's how you get better, but my brain doesn't seem to be complying with reason.

Actually, I've been getting the "nudge" to pursue a path in full-time ministry as of late and I will be an intern/resident at my church for creative arts.  As much as I love the idea of Nikki and the gang at least garnering a small loyal following, it doesn't look like that's gonna happen anytime soon.  It could eventually...but I know I have to not only get better at drawing/coloring/writing, but I actually have to draw, color, and write on a DAILY BASIS!!!  As of right now, it's been WEEKS since I've drawn or written anything new!

As for you...perhaps there's another way to do something with your creative abilities.  Graphic Design?  Art Teacher? Something else? (Seriously...I'm tapped out of ideas too!)  I believe you go to church regularly...perhaps you should look for creative positions in the world of ministry.  Unfortunately, concepts such as Jet Dancer might not go over as well in your portfolio in church world :horny: but you could keep on working on your personal ideas and concepts and have an artistic career that is much less soul sucking than your govt job that you pretty much hate.

Stay strong man :eager:...if you really don't want to go the comic route, that's one thing.  But don't let anxiety and self-doubt stop you on your first attempt.  I WISH I had a physical copy of a comic of one of my characters that I wrote, drew, and color to sell!  You actually have stuff to have at a table to sell at a con...all I have are a bunch of files on my computer and what you see in my Devgallery.
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:icondualmask:
Dualmask Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
My feelings have little to do with the convention outcome. I knew I wasn't going to sell anything. That's not what I got discouraged about. The reality is, I really didn't want to be there, and not in that "I don't think I'm going to sell anything" way, but more in that "This isn't the life for me" way.

I realized I simply don't want that artist alley life. I don't want to be sitting at a booth selling my wares to people. I find that environment extremely exhausting and uncomfortable. I'm not talking about giving up art; I'm talking about simply abandoning the professional pursuit as it presently stands. I had no interest in selling the product that I made. Maybe it's because being gainfully employed (both me and my wife) makes money less of a priority than it could be, but my desire to create has little to do with my desire to sell. I'm not even saying I'm not going to continue putting my stuff out there; I just want to enjoy creating again, just do it for the love of it without trying to be something I'm not: a hustler; a salesman.
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:iconmr-marcus-81:
Mr-Marcus-81 Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I apologize for misinterpreting your journal here.  Yeah, even before I commented the first time I saw in the other comments that you aren't quitting drawing period.  And I feel you on the wanting to enjoy creating again rather than feeling like you have to create at such a high level professionally, not to mention that the fellow introvert in me can understand why you wouldn't want to be in the Artist Alley lifestyle, constantly going to Cons having to step far outside of your comfort zone meeting new people hocking your wears.

So now what...where do you go from here?  Is it focus on WCL b/c that is what you really want to do, or continue to juggle that along with your other ideas, or are you content with your RPBs?  And as for your day job that you can't stand, is the idea of going back to school for something else or pursing a more fulfilling career where you're able to use your artistic ability somehow an option?
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:icondualmask:
Dualmask Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Specifically, I'm just going to focus on my WCL visual/illustrated novel plan. I finished the first chapter and I'm moving onto the next one. I've no doubt at some point I'll need a break from it and I'll likely draw an RPB or two or even other characters of mine from time to time, but the difference is now I'm going to do it without any of the self-inflicted pressure I've been putting on myself.

Heck, I'm not even going to actively avoid any opportunities that may come my way...if I'm offered some kind of gig that sounds good, I'll give it a shot. I'll still open commissions, still sell books online, but all of it is in the name of doing what I love, without worrying about building a career.

It's said that being stuck in life is either because of a lack of knowledge or a lack of effort. Right now, I can't think of any particular discipline I'd like to study, other than potentially video game design, but I'm being honest with myself about that too (really can't do it alone and I'm not much of a team player) so that's by the wayside.

Bottom line; I'm just chillin'. I'll put my efforts where I feel they should go for now, and just as I said on my FB post, it's okay to change one's opinion based on new information. Nothing is etched in stone.
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:iconmr-marcus-81:
Mr-Marcus-81 Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Gotcha.  I think that's a good place to be after your realization.
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:iconadamalonzo22:
adamalonzo22 Featured By Owner May 31, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hey bro, whether you decide to keep going or not, I'm still a huge fan of your work, I've been friends with you since I started my membership here. Hell, I've only gotten better because of all the tips and tutorials you given me, your work inspires me. The fact that you have a comic of jet dancer out is something I've always wanted to do, so that should tell you something. You may not see it at cons. But here on DA, I'm pretty sure I'm not the only artist that looks up to your work.
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:icondualmask:
Dualmask Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Hey, don't misunderstand, I'm not giving up art. I would never do that. But I need to find a way to enjoy creating again, before even considering trying to make a living doing art. I've lost sight of what I love about making art as I chased misguided attempts to make money doing it, focusing on things others praised without considering how I felt about them, and other mistakes. I need to refresh and reevaluate what I'm all about artistically. But I will never stop drawing (or otherwise creating) as long as I'm alive.
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:iconadamalonzo22:
adamalonzo22 Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Good to hear man.
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:iconjoybuzzer:
Joybuzzer Featured By Owner May 31, 2015
You seem to like to do pinups.  Maybe just focus on pinups.  Not just females and not just OCs, but throw in some Wolverine, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman (Jessica, Gwen and Peter versions)
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:icondualmask:
Dualmask Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
I dislike fan art, and will never make it a part of my repertoire. Though I have done some in the past, it doesn't appeal to me at all. The last thing I need is to focus on something that doesn't interest me at all. I can't see any good coming from it.
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:iconjoybuzzer:
Joybuzzer Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2015
Just a suggestion :)  Another one would be Jet Dancer with all those fan favorites! heh
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:iconrbl-m1a2tanker:
RBL-M1A2Tanker Featured By Owner May 31, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Perhaps you just need some guidance to help you create and build that brand, direct you down the road.  If I may make a recommendation, I recommend "The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing Comics" by Comfort Love and Adam Withers, two artists here on dART that have gone down this very path.  The book has a lot of good information in it that I think could help you out. 
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:icondualmask:
Dualmask Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
I think I'm done with comics. I don't like making them at all and it's high time for me to stop forcing myself to. There have to be other ways to express oneself.

Maybe that book has some good info though, but I think it's a stretch to consider myself even a wannabe comic artist.
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:iconrbl-m1a2tanker:
RBL-M1A2Tanker Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Out of curiosity, is it the writing part of it, or the actual drawing sequential stories that is just a drag?
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:icondualmask:
Dualmask Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
I love my stories and character designs, but I tend to lose steam as the sequential pages drag on. But before you suggest it, enlisting an artist to draw for me is not something I want to consider. I neither have the funds nor the interest needed to team up with an artist... nor the trust for that matter. Comics aren't the only way to tell stories.
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:iconrbl-m1a2tanker:
RBL-M1A2Tanker Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I wasn't going to suggest anything of the sort.  As I said, it was purely out of curiosity.  Everyone has their strong suits and what feels like a good way to get their stories across to folks.
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:icondualmask:
Dualmask Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Ah, okay. I've heard that rhetoric so many times that I just feel the need to answer it before it comes up again.
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:iconrbl-m1a2tanker:
RBL-M1A2Tanker Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I imagine you'll find something that fits with what you want and like to do, and then watch out! :D
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:iconkennygordon:
KennyGordon Featured By Owner May 31, 2015   General Artist
I think you should give it another try, but do it when you're feeling it. I would love to see your setup and stock when you're on fireI'm on fire! 

Conquering conventions takes time. You might have a hot weekend at one, the next one probably won't go so well. That's the game, but you already know that. The issue here is fire
:kiwf: It'll catch... even if you have to resort to using flamethrowers. 
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:iconexeter42:
Exeter42 Featured By Owner May 31, 2015
For what it's worth, professional or not, I love your artwork. Whether you continue on the path to becoming a pro-comic artist or just do it for love, just know you gave and are giving something to the world that many appreciate.

I am a fan. I hope that means something. Either way, do it because you love it.
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:icondualmask:
Dualmask Featured By Owner May 31, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you. I'm glad you and others like what I do. As I said, I'm not going to stop drawing. It's the direction I take it in that I need to reevaluate.
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:iconsingory:
singory Featured By Owner May 31, 2015
i say this as a simple follower of your art 

Did you have fun with your art ? then you didn't waste your time , its normal not to find a target , all of can't , if everyone found his target , there would be less millionaire on this planet and everyone would be thousandaire 

take a hiatus of pro art , reflect on your target and see where it get 

Just remember 

It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.

Theodore Roosevelt 

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:icondualmask:
Dualmask Featured By Owner May 31, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
If I'm being honest, lately I'm not having as much fun. I'm fighting the urge to quit because I never want to give up, but I'm also tired of what I do sometimes.

That's why it feels like I'm trying to be something I'm not. Maybe I just need a break.
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:icondarthj1:
DarthJ1 Featured By Owner Edited May 31, 2015
Wow. That was a pretty dang mature outlook. It's easy to tell someone to "do what they like," but sometimes hard for someone to determine what they do like.

  Hope all turns out well.
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:icon47ness:
47ness Featured By Owner May 31, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Oh believe me, the first few events I sold at went pretty dismal as I didn't know my direction either. It really does take just doing it to really understand that works and what doesn't. And, yeah- it does require being able to talk up your project. People are more than happy to check out a comic if they know they're getting it from the writer/artist. :)
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:iconwbd:
wbd Featured By Owner May 31, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
You did the most important thing, however- you took the first big step. I figure anxiety is a natural reaction, and "why the heck am I here" is something I've heard in my mind over and over again when I try something new.

But a better question than "can I live off my art?" is "can I live off of my creative strength?". You haven't just learned to draw, you've learned to express yourself in a creative and innovative manner. It could be on pen and paper, or it could be a sprite in motion, or it could be something you haven't even dreamed of yet.
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:icondualmask:
Dualmask Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
You're right. I think I've been too narrow minded, trying to focus only on drawing when it's not the only thing I'm good at. I need to reflect inward now and focus back on the creative person that I am, rather than the numerous people out there I convinced myself I'd like to be like.
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:iconadekii:
adekii Featured By Owner May 31, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
It looks like you did choose some really beautiful prints of your work to bring with you!  But I hear what you're saying and that's got to be really hitting your confidence pretty hard.

Perhaps what would help with overall goals would be if you can choose something to focus on, and find a trustworthy partner to work on it with you, to help keep you focused, to do the engaging with other people and with the public that you find tricky.
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:iconbringerofstorms:
BringerOfStorms Featured By Owner May 31, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
We have all been there.  I have gone through it, very seriously, three times in my current career.  It is a good time to contemplate what it is you DO truly want to do.  What motivates you?  What inspires you?

Just because we are gifted at something does not necessarily mean that it will make us happy.  Find what makes you happy and dive in!  

Best of luck my friend.

~BoS
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