"We think that great creativity should be effortless. We're always looking for that stream where we jump in and it just feels completely natural and everything is easy and we're just this creative, talented, genius exploding this amazing work without barely lifting a muscle. But the truth is we don't know how the sausage is made in terms of other creatives; how much time, toil, sweat, and energy they have to put into their work. We don't really get to see that and by the time they share it with the world, often it's packaged, prepared, and practiced. We see that in action and just assume they're this freakish prodigy, insanely naturally talented and we need to find the work that just come to us that easy. But the truth is that it hurts. Just like love hurts, creativity hurts."
This excerpt is from a beautiful podcast on diving deeper into our creativity by the Creative Pep Talk creator, Andy J. Pizza. I was listening to the episode, You Are More and it really resonated with me. I am definitely guilty of assuming that artist who have made it just magically arrived there. Seeing another fashion illustrators creating amazing work and landing jobs that I want just kills me! Seriously, one peek at their Instagram and I fall into this deep spiraling despair of destructive thoughts, such as:
I've worked so hard! Why haven't I made it yet?!
I know I'm good!
Maybe I'm not actually that good.
Maybe I don't actually know what I'm doing. (This thought gets in to a realm of regrets...regretting my education, regretting where I went to school, maybe I didn't pay attention like I thought I did, and I was just a stupid and arrogant college kid. I should've been more humble and worked harder....blah blah blah)
I'm not relevant. I have nothing new to offer. I got into this game too late. (And then this lead me down another hall of regrets like, I shouldn't have gotten married at 19, I shouldn't have had a kid when I did, I should've move to NYC right away... and so on and so forth)
And down and down I go into this dark place that then has me questioning, "Should I just give up? I should just give this up. It's just too hard." And I actually start to convince myself that giving up is a good and legitimate idea with thoughts like, "I'll be a better mom if I give this up. I'll be a kinder wife if I give this up. I'll be happier, maybe, if I give this up."
It's emotional for me to write and admit this because I look back at every decision I've made and I know, truly I know, that I don't regret a thing I did and that I am actually a hard worker and I am talented. This creative thing I'm doing does indeed hurt! When Andy talks about his creative journey and his moments of despair and thinking of giving up on his dreams, I'm literally crying cause I'm like, "THAT'S ME! OMG HE'S TALKING ABOUT ME!" So thank goodness for creative heroes like Andy who share their experiences of their journey and struggles. Because of his podcast (I know this sounds like total a product pitch) I now have the tools and motivation to carry on.
In the You Are More episode, Andy says, "If you’re only playing in the shallow waters of creativity, you’re only going to reap shallow rewards." I've been analyzing my portfolio to see what my strengths and weaknesses are, what details of my style stand out, and how to make my body of work more cohesive. This has lead to me to realize that I still have a lot of learning and growing to do, and that's okay. I'm trying new mediums, trying out different styles of mark making, and I'm even referring back to my college notes and my BFA work. Most importantly, I'm sketching more. I've never been a good sketcher and I've always known that that would be my down fall. In fact, I look back at my past work and I do see how I've regressed because I don't sketch. This is how I work. Basically, I don't sketch because I feel like it's was a waste of my time and that my time would be better spent churning out finished work (of course this belief was created due to how fast paced the fashion industry is and I was desperately trying to keep up). And somehow I expected that finished product to be perfect and everyone would love it. And boom, riches an fame! Just like Andy said, I was assuming that creativity would come easily to me. So now, I'm digging deeper, or to stick with Andy's analogy, I'm swimming deeper. I'm addressing my weaknesses and finally grasping what I need to do to be better. And I'm sharing this with you in hopes that one day when I do "make it" you will have witnessed my toils, struggles, tears, insanity, and all my efforts and energy I put into my art.
So I'm finally seeing the joy in my creative journey. There are still hard days, but I very seldom fall into my black hole of misery. I'm able to redirect my doubts and put myself to work. It's good and exciting to know I still have so much more to discover about myself as a creative. And that is the creative journey! Whether you've made it or not, you and your work are always evolving. So I hope you enjoy these beauty portraits. This is just one of the many steps that bring me closer to honing in on my creative self.
Illustrations are based off of Marni Spring 2018 RTW beauty look. Model with blue eyeshadow is illustrated on BFK Rives tan paper. Model with green eyeshadow is illustrated on magnani pescia paper in grey. Watercolor, gouache, pencil, and Rembrandt soft pastels were used in this illustration.
You can listen to You Are More on Creative Pep Talk here.
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions referencing Creative Pep Talk belong to me.