Art hiatus, and why.
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longestdistance's avatar
By longestdistance   |   Watch
10 98 1K (1 Today)
Published: September 29, 2018
Hi there. Hope you are all doing well! This is going to be a very personal and emotional journal entry.

I've come to a point in my life where I have to take a break from art so I can figure out what to do next with my life.
Just to clarify: I'm not leaving DA or other social media. I'm not giving up on art for good. It's been a huge distraction and I really need to get serious about things. I don't feel like I've been devoting enough time and energy to the job search. So there's a good chance I won't be doing the full Inktober this year, who knows.

 I really need to sort my life out right now, and I've been feeling a bit discouraged and EXTREMELY overwhelmed.
 I've been seeing a career counselor since April, been reading self help books and taking detailed notes, saving and applying to jobs, using Linkedin, and I'm still stumped. I graduated uni in June and did some freelance art over the summer but now I'm focusing on looking for a real job that will pay the bills. I absolutely love doing freelance, even if it's bumpy at times, but it's the only job I've taken, so far, that makes me feel truly happy.

The difficult situation I'm facing right now is: Do I want any old job and do art on the side? Or take the extra time to search for an art-related career?
How's that going to look on my resume? One of my main concerns is that if I stick to a non-creative job, I'll have no more time and energy to dedicate to art, and honestly that would devastate me. Not to be dramatic but art is the one thing in life that has given me purpose and identity. Am I acting entitled for wanting to end up on a creative career path? Do I have to uproot my life and move to LA if I want that? I mean man. Where do I even start? I've been exploring a million different things and I'm still feeling lost. I'm terrified of making the wrong choice and being stuck with it for a long time.

The most frustrating thing is networking and making connections.
This is very embarrassing for me to admit, but I'm a social hermit. I rarely talk to people, much less hang out with them. Especially considering where I live is mostly older conservative people, and I don't talk to anyone from college/high school anymore, with the exception of my wonderful bestie who has been supportive. When I browse Indeed and other sites there's almost nothing related to the career path I'm interested in. (Unless I'm being too picky, you can be honest if I am.) Went to a job fair at uni this week, and it was all IT/engineering/etc, so I was pretty out of place. But I am proud of myself for going out there. I gave out copies of my resume and business card.

Should I make a trip outside my hometown?
Lately I've been thinking maybe I need to take a trip to LA. That's where a ton of the creative jobs are. It would be amazing just to visit and get a feel for the area, visit the galleries, etc. All I know is, I can't remain here any longer. Maybe I don't have to uproot to live LA, but I HAVE to move to another city because living in the conservative suburbs has taken a negative toll on my personal well being in more ways than one. I've actually spent a considerable time in another city staying with a relative, but I'm not sure if I'd want to live there.

So what is it I want to do?
Illustration, which is freelance. I'm very interested in 2D animation even though I have no experience, but I feel like cleanup would be a good fit for me. Oil painting, which ventures more into the fine art category. Among many other things. I've spent a lot of time figuring out exactly WHAT I want to do.

My most recent pic
On another note, thank you for the feedback on my most recent upload. I'll reply to each comment later on at some point. I just want you to know I tremendously appreciate each and every comment, whether it be a paragraph or a single word. It means a lot to me. Favs and pageviews are just faceless numbers, but on the other hand, even one single comment leaves an impact. So thank you. :huggle: This might be the last illust for a while, depending on how things go.

Anyway. Thanks for reading my rant. I tried to make it as tl;dr as possible but I had to get it all out. I'll probably delete this later. I've just been in a pretty crummy mood for the past couple weeks and it's been hard keeping it to myself. I figure some of you have been in a similar situation. If you want to talk about your own experiences I'd be happy to listen. And I mean heck. If you want to connect on Linkedin, note me.

Have a good weekend everyone!
Comments98
anonymous's avatar
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abidnisar's avatar
abidnisarNew Deviant
Hi, I really like your art. It's surely one of a kind. I am looking to create a logo for my company, I have a design in my mind. Would you be interested in making it? Please contact me on dr dot abidnisar at yahoo dot com. Will love to work with you
HazelRose3637's avatar
HazelRose3637Professional General Artist
I wish you the best with your soul-searching! :) Hope you find an artsy job that you like that will also help your pockets! :hug:
longestdistance's avatar
longestdistanceProfessional Digital Artist
Thank you so much! That's the dream :D
HazelRose3637's avatar
HazelRose3637Professional General Artist
You're welcome! :hug:
Mystia-Katsuragi's avatar
I hope everything is going better for you now!! :heart::hug:
longestdistance's avatar
longestdistanceProfessional Digital Artist
Thanks! I'm doing what I can :iconlazywaveplz:
TopHatProductions115's avatar
TopHatProductions115Hobbyist Traditional Artist
We'll be here, waiting for you :) YOU GOT DIS!!!
longestdistance's avatar
longestdistanceProfessional Digital Artist
Thank you for the encouragement! :dummy:
Shiranova's avatar
Shiranova General Artist
I wish you good luck with your decision! I felt the same after I finished "grammar school" and had to choose a subject to study at university. In Switzerland you cannot study art at universities but you have to go to an art school and dedicating 100% of my life to art wasn't an option for me (especially since my opinions of the local art school aren't very high; heard bad things of it again just today x'D).
I also went to a career counselor but she couldn't help me at all, the outcome was the same than if I didn't go to her. In the end I ended up really loving my studies and I don't regret my decision at all, despite feeling really unsure and insecure before commencing my studies. So please remember, even if you're not certain you made the right decision in the end you might really end up enjoying it. Make sure to surround yourself with positive people that share your passion. <3
And if you need anyone to talk know that I'm there for you. :hug:
longestdistance's avatar
longestdistanceProfessional Digital Artist
Thank you for sharing your story and offering advice as well. :huggle: That is quite true. How can we know for sure if something won't work out, unless we try it? My dad always tells me the same thing, to keep an open mind. It's true that we might make the wrong decision, but it's better to say "oh well" than "what if". It's important to also focus on what could go right, instead of just focusing on what could go wrong. I am glad that things worked out in your favor! Thank you for offering a listening ear as well. I hope I can do the same for you!
Shiranova's avatar
Shiranova General Artist
You're welcome! And thank you so much for the kind offer. <3
Paleona's avatar
Paleona Digital Artist
I've been putting off commenting, because I'm afraid I can't offer any real advice (I don't currently intend to make a career out of art and I'm not really comfortable divulging my personal life story online), BUT

I just wanted to say I've been thinking of you, I hope you are able to work things out Hug Reading some other comments, it sounds like maybe finding a part time job and freelancing on the side might give you the time you need (or may be the answer you need). I'm not familiar with the process at all, but maybe publishing some children's books or art books might be something to work towards? You could essentially "be your own boss" and create whatever makes you happy (something I find extremely valuable in art- I believe when an artist truly cares about what they're creating is when they produce their best work). It's something that's personally crossed my mind, but the actual planning involved always scares me away... it's tough being an adult. Again, I hope you are able to find the answers you need .:Tiny flower:. 
longestdistance's avatar
longestdistanceProfessional Digital Artist
Thank you so much for your comment. Yeah, it seems like the most likely path for now is doing part-time while freelancing on the side. I think no matter what I do I'm bound to find some balance at some point, hopefully. And I totally agree. When we are truly passionate about something that's when our work shines the brightest! Who knows where I'll end up, but I hope I never stop making art as long as I live.
Lillendandie's avatar
LillendandieProfessional Digital Artist
Art will always be there for you, even if "real life" needs to come first. All I will say is, if art feels like the one thing in life that has given you purpose, then it is not a silly distraction. Everything in life that makes us happy might seem impractical, but it's these things that makes life worth living.

I can't give much advice about creative careers. Have you heard of SVS Learn and Will Terry? It is an online school and forum specifically for people who want to do illustration. Have you thought about what you want to do within illustration? There's a few different avenues to specialize in.
longestdistance's avatar
longestdistanceProfessional Digital Artist
Thank you for your comment! That is quite true. It's only been a week since I've put art on the backburner and I'm already feeling withdrawal symptoms. I'm treating this job search like a full time job but giving myself a break day from time to time so I can still return to art. I've never heard of SVS or Will Terry so thank you for the recs; I've bookmarked the website and subscribed to Will Terry on youtube. It looks like he does live videos which is good. As for illustration, I'm not so sure what path I'd like to go down. I like the idea of doing art for a book (I'm always told I should do illustrations for children's books) or maybe for some sort of video game which is my dream gig. Though like you said, there are a lot of different applications so I think I'll have to give it further thought. But really I might be up for anything. This would all align with the freelance path, I think. I like the idea of having a stable job but at the same time I'd really prefer to be my own boss.
Prinnia's avatar
PrinniaProfessional Digital Artist
It sounds like taking a break from the pressures of DA is the healthy choice for you right now as you figure out how to move forward.  Of course it's your own platform so you can use it how/when you please, whether you're officially active or not.  Art is a very difficult and self-driven career path, especially if you aren't lucky enough to have someone with a more stable job who's willing to support you financially through the ups and downs.  There's no shame in making it a hobby (frankly you might get to enjoy it more that way >_<) but it can also be wonderful to have a flexible career path you're in charge of that relies on your own passions.  It's just a matter of finding what situation works best for you, and I hope taking this break helps you find a little clarity.  I hope to still see you around a little bit, as I enjoy both your art and your social presence on DA pink heart {big} 
longestdistance's avatar
longestdistanceProfessional Digital Artist
Thanks for commenting! That is very true. There are a lot of different ways things could pan out, and I'm hoping to find clarity as you said. I'm treating this like a full time job in itself, but still giving myself a "break day" from time to time so I don't suffer art withdrawal. It's only been like, a week, and I already miss drawing and painting! Today's a break day and I think it will help keep my morale high. This way I can draw and post stuff from time to time until I get things figured out more. ^^
Noxmoony's avatar
NoxmoonyProfessional Filmographer
Hi moo, I think taking a break is never a bad idea. Actually I was in your shoes a few years ago, I was at a turning point in my life after finishing school..I couldn't afford uni and I didn't see myself doing anything else for a living (other than art), even though I was sceptical about doing art related jobs at that point in my life. But I desperately wanted to make a difference in my life at that time...so I jumped right into a part time job at a local studio, just to test the waters, and yeah that was my start working as an artist. So I've been working in the art world (mainly as an animator, illustrator and concept artist) for about 6 years now...and I figured I could help give you some insight into what it's like. This is going to be a little long so bear with me ^^;

So there's three main routes: Studio job, Freelance or Fine Art.

Studio jobs will always give a steady pay, but there's going to be things like office politics, long working hours and perhaps not much in the name of actual credit. Some top companies will promote artists or such, but most companies won't go out of their way to promote an artist...so a lot of the work one will do, will remain under wraps...for many years sometimes. Another thing is that, often you might have to do art that you might not enjoy or completely out of your comfort zone. Smaller companies for example will not always have dedicated artists for any one task, so often one has to quickly learn new skills and adapt. On the other hand, you'll get to interact with other like minded people, and artists, and even be able to have fun gaming after work or participate in office trips together, etc. If you're a very social person irl, you'll probably enjoy it. A big con will be that after a while payment will not be increasing by much, and sometimes it feels like the amount of work you're putting in is not being compensated for enough. And then there's the risk of losing the job at any given moment (although most places will usually give some kind of advance notice if that is the case).

Freelance is amazing because it has freedom. You can look for gigs that are to your taste and preference. And you can also decide how much time you to dedicate to work everyday. You can take days off when needed without having to explain to a whole team, etc. On the other hand, it is a little unstable INITIALLY. Yes, the key point is initially. Over time it can actually end up paying way better an any studio job out there, so it has that going for it. Well I think you have a great online presence and following already, so an artist like you who has a large audience can perhaps leverage their reach in order to find work more regularly (sorry if it sounds a little weird?). With freelance there's a few different routes. There's commissions, and there's also websites like UpWork and Freelancer, etc where you can look for work. I think with freelance a combination of both isn't a bad idea. That way even when you're not getting commissions, you can keep the cash flow coming through finding regular work on online job platforms. Sometimes you can also find recurring clients, which is always a bonus.

Fine Art route can perhaps be the most challenging initially but once established it will be pretty solid. As expected, one has to really target the fine art crowd..Exhibitions, artbooks, prints, etc. Payment mainly comes from painting commissioned art and original art via exhibitions, online stores, etc. Making merchandise is also a good idea.


Judging from your art so far, I really think you'd do great in illustration (storybook illustration especially), concept art (you have really good ideas and lots of interesting variants based on them as well) and also animation. I can imagine if you took some time to learn 2D animation, you could totally build up a great portfolio of a very unique animation style...I can totally imagine music videos in your style, or even a visual novel for example. If you want to go for clean up, you probably could, but bear in mind people who do professional clean up have an extensive portfolio of doing just that and usually the chances of someone new getting hired for that is low. But again, you never know until you try really.

My basic advice would be this:

Are you extremely strapped for cash? Do you HAVE to have a job right now? Or is it for the sake of appearances or keeping up with everyone else? If it's the first one, then it's not a bad idea to get a job right now (even if it is non art related, if the cash is flowing you can focus on your art in your freetime and keep building up your audience, etc.

BUT, If it's the latter, as in you don't have an IMMEDIATE need for a job...then I highly recommend you take some time, maybe a year or two and devise a good plan for doing freelance full time and get started. This will require doing a lot of research into how other freelance artist are making a living, how they manage to get regular clients, social networking, attending events, etc. You can start looking for jobs in online platforms, and also keep those commissions going. Formulate a good solid routine. Just because it's freelance doesn't mean it shouldn't have routine. I think to really make freelance work, one has to treat it like a proper job. That means working 5 days a week, taking two days off, making sure to reply to clients regularly, giving yourself a salary (helps to even out those months when work is in surplus vs months when work is scarce). All of these things will help a long way in making your freelancing experience smooth and efficient. Also perhaps consider patreon, (it can be a very viable platform to earn a steady amount regularly). You have a youtube channel, so continuing with that is also a great idea. 

I'm not sure if you've seen this video, but maybe you might find this insightful: www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsmrlB…

I feel like with the internet there are a lot of doors open for an artist who intends to make a living doing what they love most.. I highly recommend you take some time to think of the options available to you. If there's something that really keeps coming back to you time and time again, then I think you should listen to your heart (and provided your circumstances aren't dire) go for it.

I hope this helps, even if a little bit. If you have any specific questions, feel free to let me know man. I wish you all the best, and FIGHTO!!!!! Mio (Pointing) [V2] 
longestdistance's avatar
longestdistanceProfessional Digital Artist
Thanks for taking the time to write, Noxmoony! I really appreciate it.

 My sister's workplace was very much like the studio job you described, and the cons you mentioned are reasons she ultimately decided to leave. It does sound frustrating, especially being chained to a 9-5 job and not a lot of flexibility (Americans don't really get a lot of time off) And while job stability sounds nice, the con is that it's restricting as well. You're definitely right about the freedom of freelancing and there's nothing I love more than being my OWN boss. Things have been pretty unstable as you mentioned it can be, but I don't think I've been putting my name out there enough. But I am glad to say most of my work has been from recurring commissioners. If I put some more oomph into the social media presence with Youtube, freelance sites, and even Patreon, I think things could work out better than before.

Ooh. I REALLY want to dabble in 2D animation. Being a clean-up artist is something that actually really interests me. I don't really have the software to make it happen (esp since my PC is almost 10 years old), but hopefully I can find a class to take, but that might be hard to find in my area. I also want to experiment with 3D modeling again, which is a valuable skill.

Thankfully I'm not broke, so I can afford to take my time with the job search which I'm extremely grateful for. I'm currently taking a break from freelance so I can focus on job searching and just figuring out what I want to do with life, and I'm treating that like a full time job in itself. Right now, I like the idea of having a part time job and doing freelance as additional income. No idea if it'll actually work out, but like you said, how could I know unless I try? I'm really taking a good hard look at my skills, experiences, wants and needs, etc so I can figure out exactly what I want to do with my life. I've made a lot of bad decisions in life (like blindly jumping into things) and I'm being very careful not to repeat those mistakes. Thank you for the Youtube link as well. I'm adding it to my Art Talks playlist!

Thank you so much again for your in-depth and knowledgeable advice. It is very helpful in helping me weigh my options! I'll do my best! :w00t:
hattako's avatar
I know that feel. I've changed careers 4 times in the last 10 years. Next year I'm trying my hand at a new one. It's been mostly me neglecting what I've been wanting to do in favour of financial stability, since working as an artist in Argentina is nigh-impossible. But I've realized I have a job right now. One I despise from the bottom of my heart, doing what I hate the most: talking to people 7 hours straight. And it's not just "talking": it's taking pleading, insults, violence; very stubborn, demeaning people... So, since it's my own hard-earned money, might as well use to build a career that fills my heart. I'm still young, and it's never too late.

Travelling definitely helps. I went to the US some time ago and seeing other way of living, talking to my sis-in-law who is also an artist and earns her life with art, getting support from my dear friends, it all led to this decision. But what sealed the deal was a job interview where my interviewer made me notice most of the courses I had taken were related to design and arts. Well, makes sense, my frustrated plans after high school were getting a job and paying tuition in an animation and game design uni. I just strayed so far from it after that.

I'm not even scared of networking now. I'm a complete hermit too, both in social media and in real life. I can go without talking to anyone for days on end. But if you work hard enough, if you put yourself out there, you'll eventually get a response, even if you can't communicate with words. I've seen it happen (and really, those guys just lost a bunch of jobs just by not learning any English...).

So, I really hope you find your way, because you're an amazing artist and a wonderful soul. Take all the time you need to reach your conclusion. And so, so sorry about this wall of text ^^;
longestdistance's avatar
longestdistanceProfessional Digital Artist
Thank you for your comment! I'm sorry to hear you're currently in that situation and I hope that your next career change is for the better. And it's great you were able to use that trip to the US to your advantage. I really hope your future career plans pan out and you get to do what you love because you have so much to offer. And you're right- it's so important to remember that communication and networking is a numbers game. Most people are going to say no, so what we have to do is shrug it off and focus on the times when people say YES. And that's when amazing things are going to happen.

Also no worries, I appreciate you taking the time to write about your own personal experiences and the insight you gained from such. Good luck with your career journey. :huggle:
Joyfool's avatar
I hope you find what you're looking for... ;_____;
longestdistance's avatar
longestdistanceProfessional Digital Artist
Thank you! I'll do my best :huggle:
anonymous's avatar
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