How to stay motivated

As you can see I try to keep one of my new years resolutions - blogging more - up and running. But not just that. So far I mostly posted or blogged about my illustrations. But today I wanted to talk about artist talks, streams, blogs, podcasts, interviews etc. I read many blogs, listen to and watch artists talks, motivational videos and livestreams. The reason is not just to learn how to illustrate better, but also to master the creative business and sometimes...to hear that others were/are struggling as well, having the same problems. Being an illustrator can get lonely. As an illustrator most of the time you work alone and a lot of the people you feel connected to don't live in walking distance. Listening to streams while working gives me a big motivational push to work through the frustration you sometimes get from working alone all the time.

In the last post I talked about having a good mindset and being in a good place to make (good) illustrations. One of the things helping me through tough illustrating times are these mentioned blogs and artist talks. That's why I want to list up some motivating and helpful resources I mentally lean on many times (and many times to come).

Muddy Colors a 'fantasy art collective' with Dan dos Santos, Donato Giancola, David Palumbo, Terryl Whitlatch and many amazing artists as authors. They cover many fields. E.g. explaining steps of their own illustrations up to FAQ's and tips how to enter certain competitions.

Chiustream by Bobby Chiu in which he regularly discusses a variety of topics about becoming an illustrator and working as one (with many motivational tips). You can stay up to date via his facebook page: Bobby Chiu Art

One Fantastic Week with Samuel Flegal and Peter Mohrbacher is a weekly web show in which they talk about art, illustration and the business side of it. Often they invite fellow illustrators with a long career in this field and ask them about how they got there. They are also going to do a workshop called 'One Fantastic Weekend'!! Check it out!

The blog and streams listed above are happening on a regular basis, but there are also some good interviews out there. If you like a certain artist or illustrator you should follow him/ her on social media, because you never know when one of these gems pops up. In the last weeks many interviews with one of my favourite illustrators, Karla Ortiz, were published:

This is a podcast by Synstudio:Podcast Karla Ortiz
and another interview by Creative Trek with Sean Daniels: Importance of balancing art and life
and a third by Bobby Chiu for Schoolism: Karla Ortiz for Schoolism

and a while back Dave Rapoza and Daniel Warren (you may know them from Crimson Daggers) had a freelance talk (what you would now call a hangout I guess) about being 'in the middle'. The weird point in your career when you aren't a newbie any more, but also didn't reach the point to be one of the great (and with great I don't just mean good, but rather that your name stands for your style and that you are known for your work) illustrators yet: Getting through the middle

There are more interviews I listened to over the last years, but the listed sources give you a wide variety of themes.

Next to these digital resources I have one big not-digital resource of motivation: Nature! Sitting inside, working with the computer, drawing (hunched over my table) can get hard. A good walk or working in my garden (particularly in summer) always gives my a good energy boost and is a good balance to my illustrating work.


A new year begins

...or...has...nearly two weeks ago. Everybody knows how time just seems to run through your fingers, right?

In the last post I told you guys about my 'Happiness jar'. It is not just there to end my year in a good mood, but also to start the new year in a good mood too.
Of course there are the new year resolutions...BUT if you think 'Oh my, what a failure the last year was - I hope this new year is finally going to change some things' or 'I HAVE to work harder/more/get better, because last year was so terrible' it already puts you in a negative state of mind. I confess I am quite a negative person myself. The glas is mostly half empty and not half full. There is always this catastrophic chain of events in the back of my head of what COULD happen... although nothing has happened yet and nothing will happen and even IF something is going to happen...it is certainly not as bad as my imagination makes me believe.

For me it is very important to be positive. That's when I make good illustrations. That's when I will end up 'in the zone' while illustrating. Otherwise, I will not finish anything. There is always something to change, always something to do better and I didn't even start about taking big decisions. When you are in a negative place, you restrict yourself. You tend to be more aware of bad strokes and every tiny little 'mistake' is a failure. In the end you get so frustrated that you want to give up on this illustration. Maybe you don't even want to be an artist or an illustrator in that moment. Maybe you start to think 'All this is not for me, not when it is so hard to do it.' This is restricting, being to aware of what you are doing.

In my case, when I start with a positive mindset and I make a 'mistake' - or a happy little accident, as Bob Ross would call it - I just let it go. Maybe that stroke is not as you wanted, but let's see where I go from there. In the end it maybe fits in better than you thought. If it is really heading a direction I am not comfortable with, I just get a new piece of paper and start again, take the parts of the illustration I do like and then go on from there. Nobody knows and if you just let it go, it won't restrict you. The more you draw or paint, the more you practice, the better you will get.

'Talent is a pursued practice. In other words, anything that you're willing to practice, you can do.' - Bob Ross

So when I look at my notes from the 'Happiness jar' it makes me aware of all the forgotten tiny but precious moments. That puts me in a good place. Being in a good place, makes me free.

Ofcourse new years resolutions are still allowed! :) Such as: making more illustrations, being more active, losing a little bit of weight, drawing A LOT MORE, learn spanish, draw more and never forget: to be more positive!!

PS: That's what I am working on right now: