The Trouble With Art-Making

…Is that it can be very, very difficult. I know this is nothing new or profound. Books and articles abound on this topic, though I feel myself oddly haunted by those who seem so “in it”, able to create without pause and without nary a hint of self-consciousness. I am newly acquainted with such a type, and I admire him so much for his ability to work so hard and create beautiful work in his own distinct style without any hesitation. I can’t say I know him well, but I know enough to tell that he’s a very kind soul and a very dedicated one, indeed. I get the feeling that if he wasn’t creating, he’d probably cease to exist. However, it doesn’t seem like he over-identifies with his work (something that Stephen Pressfield warns about, and something that is my own curse as well), but that he definitely is a professional about it. I admire it achingly so.

I just got the green light on a particular illustration project that has me both excited and terrified at the same time. I am ecstatic to have a project I can tie myself to, but frightened to death at how rusty and crappy all the sketches are turning out. I am so rusty and so behind…it’s a constant reminder of my failures, of how I haven’t worked hard enough throughout the years, how I have ruined and neglected so wonderful a gift. The feeling was so strong and so acute yesterday that I flat out surrendered into a three-hour nap. Disgust at oneself and one’s work can be exhausting–at least it is in the way I go about it.

I end up getting so, so sad that I’m not better than I am for my age (now approaching the dreaded 3-0). I am and have been capable of so much, of so many great things…and I feel like I’ve squandered it. I know there’s a way to tun this attitude around, but it is going to be difficult. I’ve made a professional practice, damn-near, of being my own worst critic and undoing much of my negative thought-processes is no easy task.

So here I am with several wonderful and creative ideas, all ready to burst forth from my pencil, yet I find myself giving in to Resistance and wanting to blog and Tumblr. It’s easier to not see the failed sketches, even though I know a great one will eventually come forth. I’d rather just procrastinate right now than face the hard work I need to do to make the great work I know I can.


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