Sunday, 5 May 2013

My Day

My days normally start in the same way (the liberty of being able to get up at midday or later because you are unemployed, allows me to keep a schedule more conducive to creative work) Although the fear of how you will make money is always hot on your trail. 

So yes, I get up at midday or thereafter. But I do end up going to bed from anywhere between 2am-5am. I find my creative insight tends to come to me when night falls. I've been a normal human in the day, getting some fresh air and connecting with nature by going for a walk in the park. Sketching, writing and reading whilst sat in a field, with the sun (and the wind) warming my face. Sometimes I walk barefoot to feel more of a connection to the earth... sometimes this hurts, other times this soothes. Slowly this practice is actually turning my feet into healthier feet! 

I often have the kind of voice in my head that tries to get me down... as soon as I wake up. It says... its 1pm! What are you doing? You haven't done anything yet! Surely you must have created 5 carefully crafted illustrations by now!?! Sometimes this voice won't let up. Even when I'm sat in the sun, trying to read, or to follow whatever my heart tells me to do for those 2 hours a day, that voice is there saying c'mon, you HAVE to come up with some ideas so that tonight you have something to work on! And I sit with it, and I try to soothe it by telling it what a great track record its had for the past week... almost an illustration a day. Thats pretty good going. In fact, never before have I managed to do that. So relax. BUT! BUT! It says... what if we DONT produce another one tonight? Then what happens? Have we lost our creative flow again? Because goodness knows that being unmotivated to do illustration work, something you love so much can feel like you've had all the marrow sucked out of you. Lets not go back to that!  But I sit with it, and I try to soothe it, and I sit there some more, and I try to move my body, do some yoga, get that pent up energy out so that its not crashing around in my mind, trying to upset all the desks and paints and walls of ideas. I try to have faith that I never really know what artwork I will come out with by the end of the night. It might be good, it might not be good. All I know is that if I turn up to my desk, something will happen. And if it doesn't, and if I'm really not feeling it, I'm best to surrender and watch a movie or read a book or whatever it is I feel like doing, rather than bashing my head against a brick wall, because that isn't going to lead anywhere except the ideas falling out of my head, and most definitely not onto paper.

I come back home, try to drink plenty of water (1ltr a day, plus copious amounts of loose leaf oolong or pu-erh tea (NO MILK NO SUGAR!)) and I try to relax into reading something of interest to me, musing on what I've read during the day, doing bits and pieces for projects or just doodling. Sometimes if I find someone's work who I really like, then I might try to sketch one of their pieces to get inside their heads. I try to listen to relaxing or joyous music, I watch a film or a program, or I do yoga (not as often as I would like!) More often than not I spend a good while on things like facebook or tumblr or my blog, wondering why no one has liked my images that I posted the night before. Sad but true. I enjoy my work, and that should be enough in and of itself, but there is something about outside recognition- when you are trying to make it into a career as an illustrator, that just helps keep your nose straight, ensures you that you're on the right scent, the right track. Perhaps its an ego thing... it most likely is. But I feel that the more people that see my work, the higher the chance I have of being seen by someone who wants me to work for them!

I know I should spend far less time on social media, and only use it when needed, but there is something so habitual and life sucking about it... facebook addiction is real. I'm one of the first to admit I have a problem! It can be hard being an illustrator (successful or not) especially when you don't live in a town where you know all the likeminded people, the artists etc. And they have to be out there somewhere... I don't think I know of a town that has not one but 2 illustration courses. Getting your daily dose of human contact can sometimes feel the overriding urge. I may be shy, but really I'm quite social, one on one. Anyway, I digress.

After all the faffing, and waiting for it to get dark, thats when the real work begins. I sit down at my desk, I switch on my lamp, turn on the music, burn some incense in the hope that my higher self and divine guidance will somehow guide my hands to create something beautiful or meaningful or both that night. And this process continues late into the morning, sometimes I get the chance to talk with friends on skype, sometimes not. I just try to keep myself occupied. And if I'm not too tired before I crawl into bed and doze off, then I'll make time to read a little bit more.

So that is a typical day for me at the moment. Of course, that all changes when you have to fit your creative life around a day job, but day jobs don't seem to be forthcoming right now.

Have a great day whatever you're up to!

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