Maybe too safe...
Concentrating mainly on developing my skills I feel as if I had lost the connection to the concept part of being an illustrator. But everybody around me told me last year: "It's normal to feel of. You have been a student for 7 years and now being out there in the real world feels weird and it frightens you." and "You had a very stressful time with your final project and it's normal to feel awkward and feel like you don't fit in."
But my real problem was that I had the feeling that I lost my mojo. Okay, I can draw well on good drawing days, but to be an illustrator you have to have more skills than that. The past weeks I talked with a couple of other freelancers and...of course everybody has some issues (for example the imposter syndrome) but the best advise was: "Just let it go. Don't stress too much about it and have fun!"
That was when I remembered something from my first year in art academy. After a few months, I finally managed to make a decent painting of a still life. Everything was in balance and when my teacher asked me (when we had evaluation) which painting I liked the best I proudly pointed to it and said: "This one, because it feels like someone professional painted it." And he said "Okay. Your next assignment is to let it got. Take that painting and make something different with it. Paint over it or rip it up, cut it up and make a collage." Of course I got upset. I felt cheated. Being proud of it was going to be the reason why I had to destroy it. That is why I refused and was ready to get a bad grade for the next assignment. But then he said: "Why are you so upset? It's just a painting. You are going to make a lot of paintings. You have to learn to let it go. You are scared right now to let it go. Don't be scared. You can't be dragged down by that one good painting. You have to learn to dare to make something great, let it go and make something new, which may or may not be as good. Don't hold on to it because you will get scared of making something new, because it might not be as good as your last piece." He looked at my stubborn expression. "But I can't force you to do it. The only thing is that you are scared of letting that painting go and I think you should not be scared by that."
It took me a few days before his message came through and I felt kinda stupid about my childish behaviour...
And now, thinking of these words again, I noticed that I am very scared. Not only of being a freelance illustrator, projects and clients but also about making non-scientific/non-realistic drawings. Let's be honest. I like to draw realistic. I like to draw birds. It keeps the skills I learned in my masters programme alive. But I want more and just don't dare to let it go. To take the risk and maybe create very crappy illustrations at first because I don't know what I want or how to do it. Being scared that they will look worse than the scientific/realistic stuff I make....
But I have to let it go!
PS: I finished the blue heron:
Sketch as I posted it in "A new year begins".
Finished illustration. (Drawing birds calmes me down! :D)