Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Restless.

I don't expect anyone to read this, but I really just need to get this off my chest.

Lately I've had this nagging feeling of... something. And this "something" has been preventing me from doing a lot of things. Namely drawing this fanart for Anime Expo. It's my first year selling in Artist's Alley at a con and I'm pretty excited but also nervous, mainly because I never really do fanart. I was in a huge drawing rut lately, which is why I started doing those reddit dailies and my friend portraits, but those dailies didn't last too long. Why? Because now I'm freaking out and nervous about getting my AX prints done, and now drawing is back to feeling like it's a job. And I hate that.

I already know that I'm not ready for an art job, and it's kind of a long story about how I got to that realization. Long story short, doing freelance for people wasn't making me happy. It felt downright torturous at times, and a lot of the negativity stemmed from my own feelings of inadequacy. I have a fear of disappointing people, and every time someone asked me to draw them something, I felt like I was disappointing them because I always hated what I was drawing. I felt like because it was something that was ASKED of me, it was somehow stripped of its purity. It became an assignment instead of a true drawing, so in essence it was almost fake effort that I was putting into it...and it was easy to tell. At least for me. And I hated that.

So now that comes back to the fanart. I'm feeling like it's kinda like a JOB... and no matter what I do ( I've literally done hundreds of failed comps) it just doesn't come out right, and I feel like no one will buy it. I don't wanna put crap out there, and that's what I feel I'm putting out. So now I'm stuck, with AX fast approaching, and terrified that I won't have anything to sell at my table. And because that stress is looming over my head, I can't draw ANYTHING else. UGH. THIS ISN'T HOW IT SHOULD BE!!!

Which comes back to this "something." I didn't really know what it was until today. I think I've finally pinpointed it. It's restlessness.

I think I'm at that sort of "quarter life crisis" stage... you know that panic of "WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE?!?! WHO AM I REALLY?!?! WHAT WILL I BE DOING IN 5 YEARS?!" It all seems to be hitting me at once with these realizations of what I'm not yet ready to do. Sometimes people tell me "well Elora you'll NEVER be ready. You just gotta DO it!" And you know... I believe in that to a certain extent. I think with some aspects of my life I'm the spontaneous "just JUMP IN THERE" kinda gal... but with the whole career and art stuff... notsomuch. Because of that whole "fear of disappointment" thing, which also kinda veers into the "fear of failure." And I know going down that path of being an artist you can't fear failure, otherwise you're just gonna get stuck in this comfort zone of doing the same kinda thing because it's what you do well and you'll never GET THERE. So this fear of failure has actually turned into this gigantic fear of being afraid of the me that fears failure...because I seriously am starting to freak out that I'll never get over it, and thus never get better. ARGH. Does that even make sense? Whatever.

And that comes to the next thing... I feel like all of this stress and nervousness about trivial things like getting prints done and not being good enough is just that... TRIVIAL. Anthony Holden posted an awesome thing about GOING FORTH AND ENJOYING LIFE to become a better artist. And I could NOT agree more. So many CRAZY nutso things have happened in my life since I've decided to take this path that I'm currently on, and it's such great material that I'm ACHING to use it for something. I have so many ideas threatening to burst out of my head that I don't even know what to do with them and it literally HURTS. Sometimes I feel like I can't BREATHE because of all the awesome things I want to do, but then comes the fear of doing them...because I think they won't be as good as how I see them in my head. And the other problem is that whenever I know I have an ASSIGNMENT, I can't bring myself to focus on anything else anyway, even if I wanted to. That deadline is always just burning in the back of my head, freakin' me out. Bummer.

I feel like I'm just STUCK. Like SERIOUSLY STUCK. I need to do something DRASTIC to get out of this mess that I've gotten myself into. What even is this? Is it some sort of mental problem? Sometimes I definitely feel like I have some kind of problem, but I know the only thing that can fix it is me. Ugh. I just WONDER WHAT IT ISSSS. I don't think it's depression? I dunno. Anxiety? I WONDER.

Anyway. I got hired recently for two pretty chill photography jobs, which was what I was aiming for so they don't take up too much creative energy. Up until this point I've basically been unemployed because the jobs I DID accept didn't give me any money at all, or they currently owe me money that I'm not sure I'll ever see. Needless to say I learned a lot from this unfortunate experience. But yeah, I definitely needed something stable because absolutely nothing was coming in and I was at the end of my rope and couldn't pay the bills for all the debt I was starting to rack up, so thankfully I got hired for stuff. But now I'm pretty scared that having 2 jobs will be a crazy time commitment and I won't be able to LIVE anymore. I've been having a pretty fun time till now so I just keep telling myself that it's just dealing with the consequences, but I'm still sad because I also realized something else... I have no clue how to balance my life.

Last week I did training at my 2nd job, the full time one, which I am officially starting tomorrow. I don't think it's a coincidence that I listened to THIS PODCAST today. It's a fabulous story of this 23 year old guy, Andrew Forsthoefel, who decided to walk across America and record stories of people he met. He said that he was "walking to listen"... which is beautiful. I highly recommend listening to it, I listened to it twice, once on THIS AMERICAN LIFE and then the full version on the above link. Back to back. And I didn't notice, but I was tearing up. Why? Because this kid was living life. And I'm jealous. I wanna do it too.

Yesterday I went over to my friend Jon's house for an Arrested Development marathon, and we started talking about going on an adventure. I want to go on an adventure SO BAD. I feel like it's what I need... to just disappear... up and leave... and figure myself out. Listening to Andrew's story was so inspiring and amazing that I started looking up how to do this whole "Walking Across America" thing, and boy am I serious. I haven't been to any other states except for Nevada (for Vegas) and Arizona (for a Muse concert), and I feel like I am really missing out. I want to know what this country has to offer, and I want to meet a bunch of interesting people and listen to their stories.

The problem is, I just got hired for 2 jobs, have all these AX prints to do, have a bunch of plushies to make, a ton of debt, and currently NO MONEY.

So that's why I'm now writing this blog entry, so I don't forget my feelings at this exact moment, and so I can PROMISE MYSELF that I will make a PUBLIC LIST OF GOALS, a CONCRETE LIST that is ACTUALLY WRITTEN OUT with DEADLINES, so that I can refer back to this whenever I feel lost, and keep myself on track. I don't want to wake up tomorrow and be 40 years old not having done any of this... not having gone on a legitimate, life changing adventure. Maybe right now isn't the best time, but I know that time is gonna be here before I know it... so better be ready. I know the deadlines are loose, because life tends to get in the way...but I think having approximate deadlines is important. I have SO MANY ridiculous goals, but I'm just going to put the ones of utmost importance here for now.

ARTISTIC GOALS
1. Finish AX prints (June 20, 2013)
2. Sell plushies on Etsy and get better at sewing (July 2013)
3. Start a webcomic and REMAIN CONSISTENT with it (August 2013)
4. Learn how to paint (July 2013 - Chris Oatley's magic box)
5. Get stronger at foundation (July 2013)
6. Make an iphone game (by 2015)
7. Get better at storyboarding (January 2014)
8. Create a digital "Choose Your Own Adventure" book (August 2013-March 2014)
9. Draw all my facebook friends by 2014
10. Create and publish a children's book (2014)
11. Get a portfolio together for CTN 2013 (October 2013)
12. Lose 40lbs (2013)
13. Learn how to animate (2014)
14. Make a short film (by 2021)

LIFE GOALS
1. Be a bridesmaid (September 2014)
2. Pay off all credit card debt (December 2013)
3. Walk/Travel Across America (Visit all 50 states) and DOCUMENT it (2015 or 2016)
4. Teach English in Japan through JET program (2016 or 2017)
5. Attend FZD for a year????? (2017 or 2018)
6. Backpack across Europe (2019-2020)
7. Become a magician (while I'm doing all of the above)
8. Become a member of the magic castle (2020)
9. Live in LA finally (2020)....

Oh man... that's kind of a lotta stuff. Writing out the life goals especially and seeing those year numbers... :\ Yeesh. I JUST WANNA DO IT ALL NOW!!! Is that too much to ask?!?! D:

Apparently yes, it is.

I wish I did more things when I was younger... I feel so old already :( I don't want to be saying this same thing when I'm 60. I want to be proud of the life I lived!!!

I'm going to end this braindump entry with some art because this is an art blog :P My dad has been going through old stuff, and I was actually already going through a bunch of old stuff yesterday! So now it's time to share, especially because I want things in a ton of places so nothing gets lost.

When I was in high school, my friend Jannica and I did a comic called Tinder and Razz for the school newspaper. We created these twins who were freshmen at our school and we wanted to document the weird stuff they dealt with. I created the guy, Razz, and she did Tinder, the girl. I found some stuff on deviantart yesterday, but I'm sad that a lot of the originals were lost :( Thankfully my dad found some of the actual newspapers today which was cool :D But yeah... here's some of that! :) We wrote the stories together, and we originally started off BOTH drawing it, but then I think we moved to one of us drawing it and we tried having the other color... or whichever one of us had more time did whatever... you know. But yeah it was a great experience and I really miss doing it and I miss Jannica :( I can't even collaborate with people anymore because I worry so much about sucking, but this proves that something GOOD can come of it. I dunno what happened.



That's another thing, I accomplished SO MUCH when I was 14-15!!! Back in 2004-2006 I was SOOO productive! Way more than I am now! And I think it's because I was just drawing for the fun of it, and drawing what I REALLY WANTED TO DRAW. Which is why I wanna start a new comic... SO BAD. I want to write the stories I wanna write... and not really do fanart :\ You know? I need to stop complaining about fanart. I do it SOMETIMES, but only when I really want to and really feel it, and mostly it's 80s movies or TV shows. Sigh.

But yeah... it's already 2am and I need to work tomorrow. There is so much more to say but at least it helped to get this stuff off my chest. What it comes down to is that I feel stuck and lost, but not lost in the sense that I don't know what to DO with my life, but lost in the sense that I don't know how to accomplish WHAT I want to do with my life. There's so much that I wanna do and it stresses me out worrying about how to get there.... it's terrifying. I know people usually say "oh yeah it all works out in the end!" but right now I'm having trouble believing that because there are so many obstacles in the way preventing me from attaining ANY of the above.

Don't get me wrong, I'm happy with my life, and grateful for everything and everyone in it. Which pisses me off even more. I should be content with what I've got... but there's always that part of me that feels empty... I just really need to find that THING to fill it. And I don't think it's a place of work... I don't think it's a person... I think it's just... me. I just gotta fix me. Somehow.

Blah. SOOOO much easier said than done.

Better get on it, Elora.

11 comments:

  1. Hey Elora, I've had experiences that can relate a lot to your post, and I'd love to help you out, even if it's just to offer some perspective. Feel very free to call me or email me and we can chat. I'd be more than happy to. But trust me, you're not old :) you're practically exactly where you should be in life, and I see the logic in your thoughts. There's something that a teacher of mine said while I was at school that pretty much made things really cut and dry for me, and I'd be happy to elaborate on them with you. Good luck with your goals - I know I've got mine, and they always feel like more than I can handle at times, but you've got a good head on your shoulders so I know you'll reach them

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    1. Thank you so much Mauricio ;____; TAKING YOU UP ON THAT OFFER RIGHT NOW.

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  2. Hi, I came across your post while browsing around. I couldn't help but leave my ten cents, because I've been going through and have gone through what you have. (more or less) I don't expect you to take this reply seriously, especially since it is posted under anon, and you have every reason to be suspect. But for what it's worth, I'd like to leave behind some words of encouragement that have helped me, and hopefully will help you also.
    I've browsed through your blog, and really enjoy your work. The reason why is because of the sheer honesty and love in your drawings. Your overall love for the craft. I've been at this art thing for a while now, and in the process have slowly become jaded and biased when it came to certain things concerning art, even animation for that matter. But when I see work like yours, it's a breath of fresh air. I become nostalgic and think back to days when I had so much fun drawing and had so much love for it. And it wasn't until I got to the more abstract concepts of art, that I was able to slowly climb out of the hole I dug for myself.
    More than anything art is self-expression. You shouldn't be afraid to express yourself no matter the circumstances. More importantly, you shouldn't keep yourself from self-expressing. Whether it is fan art, a comic, an animation etc. don't be afraid to jump in and put your take on it. Ultimately, it's YOUR take, nobody else's and that in itself is a incredible thing. Those are your lines, your characters, your worlds, your designs, and your stories. You should embrace them wholeheartedly and be proud that you do something most people can't do. Not drawing. But expressing an idea, or evoking an emotion, or establishing a mood in a creative, positive way. I don't believe artists are special because of their "technical ability". But their ability to portray a sentiment or an idea in a way that resonates through other people.

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    1. Hey Anon! In case you ever happen to read this, I just wanted to let you know that what you left here is WAY more than just your "ten cents"...it's PRICELESS! I am aware that every artist comes across similar frustrations and hurdles, and I figured if your words were so powerful to me, they would have an equally powerful effect in the rest of the art community. I hope you don't mind that I've shared your advice via tumblr, facebook and twitter...and a ton of people agree :) Absolute gold...but better. Because gold still has a price :P

      I just wanted to put that out there, because I want you to be aware of how thankful I am that you shared this, and also that you've inspired and affected way more people than you know.

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    2. Hey, I'm happy I could help. And I am flattered that you felt my advice held enough meaning for you to want to share it with the art community. I feel uncomfortable calling this "my advice". This is just an amalgamation of wisdom I received from my friend and mentor. So I can't take all the credit. To be honest, I wasn't prepared for such a large response ^^;; But I am happy that I was able to help a number of people, including you. Thank you. I am looking forward to seeing more of your art! Take care!

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  3. I've done the numbers like every other art student. The master copies, the drawings, the studies, etc. but I found myself with a dry well of imagination. I asked myself, why am I drawing? What is this for? It wasn't until I had the good fortune to befriend a certain individual who gave me these words. "Create." I've heard "just draw" before a lot. A lot. But the idea of creation, as opposed to drawing made the picture clearer. Drawing is a chore, an exercise, to achieve a means to an end. But creating, was something entirely different. Much more came into play. I was exercising my mind, my everything in order to create these images, these worlds. It had a lot more to do with me as a person, than just muscle memory. Drawing was just a tool. And since then that's all it's become. Now I would be lying to you if I said that I don't hate my drawings. I HATE my drawings. I think most people do. But a mentor of mine told me that it is an endless battle. You will always be discontent with your drawings. He even told me he was never happy with his drawings, and I think he's a beast. He told me to be prepared to never be content. I finally came to the conclusion that "draftsmanship" is a selfish endeavor. The idea of drawing well, in order to say you can, and for others to acknowledge it, means nothing. I would take heart, and story over an amazing drawing any day. Even Kim Jong Gi, he's an incredible draftsman, a bad ass. But, what else is there? It's like a guitarist who can shred to his heart's desire, but he can't write music? So what's the point. Of course that is a matter of opinion, but I haven't felt anything when I looked at his drawings, compared to when I look at Terada's drawings. Even if his drawings are out-there, he has the ability to transport me to a different place. I'm not saying you should neglect your studies and your overall technical advancement. You will be as good as the work you put in. But don't let that get in the way of your desire to create.
    So the main point I guess I'm trying to get at is, make music. And be proud of the music you make. Not because it's a good piece of music, or it's a billboard hit, but because that's the piece of music you made. I know the pressure that comes with being surrounded by your contemporaries. He works here. She's good. This person got hired. This person got this gig. Etc. I know it all too well. But don't compare yourself to anybody. Not their skill, nor their position in life. I find myself in a funk most of the time, because I check up once in a while and see what my contemporaries are doing, and it just saddens me, to the point where I begin to ask the same questions that you are asking yourself right now. So don't do it! Don't regret any decision you made, or where you currently are. It's hard, I know, because I'm currently unemployed, got debt up the yazoo, and I'm still trying to get my act together. But I regret nothing. I can't. I've met too many good people through this experience, I've learned about myself, and grew as a person.
    I hope none of this sounds patronizing, because I really am sincere, and I wish you the best of luck. Good luck with meeting your deadlines, I hope you achieve them. But don't be too hard on yourself if you fall behind. And I'm looking forward to seeing what fan art you decide to do for Anime Expo! Just keep creating, you'll be working in no time! Why? Because the love for it will speak louder than draftsmanship. Bye!

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    1. Hi Anonymous! :) I don't know if you'll ever see this, but I just wanted to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart... seriously. This doesn't sound like patronizing at ALL. In fact, the sincerity of your words almost brought me to tears, specifically the paragraph that starts with making music and ends with not having any regrets. Anon or not, you definitely seem like you know what you're talking about, and I am SO INCREDIBLY GRATEFUL that you took the time to write out something so heartfelt and bestow such amazing words of wisdom upon me :) I was going to say that this made my day, but I think it made much more than that. Thanks again for the massive inspiration. I have never wanted to hug a question mark so much!!! xD

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  4. christine dannerMay 29, 2013 at 8:28 PM

    Elora! Oh man. This post resonates with me so much. It's like you hopped into my brain and barfed my thoughts onto your journal. For what its worth, im crazy impressed by your work! You can achieve your goals!!! Ps re: going abroad, have you considered teaching esl in a foreign country? They are part time jobs which give you enough to live on, a work visa, and plenty of time to freelance art and live explore life. Just a thought. Hang in there!

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    1. THANKS SO MUCH CHRISTINE!!! :D Yeah I was contemplating whether or not I should even publish these thoughts, but I figured there were other people who were probably going through similar things. It's nice to know you're not alone, and I'm really glad you could connect with it!

      About the ESL thing, yeah I've been wanting to do the JET program because I've been wanting to live in Japan at least a year ever since I was in middle school! It's just so hard to time it because I keep going back and forth on taking classes and focusing on art and blah blah...I'm thinking of applying for 2015, since I'm bridesmaiding next September and can't miss my friend's wedding! I find that it's really difficult to figure out when you're gonna fit in things like that... you know... stuff that basically uproot you for a whole year or so. There is so much timing involves in life and opportunity and things like that... I guess I'm just scared to go for it, but I still DEFINITELY want to do it!

      Haha and considering we're having pretty similar thoughts, GOOD LUCK WITH EVERYTHING!!!! Hopefully my braindump made you feel a little better?

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  5. This is GREAT! I love your commentary and all the heartfelt responses you received. I heard the same "This American Life" episode, and I was also touched by his discoveries.

    It reminded me of one night when I was sitting at a Winchell's in Santa Ana in the early 80s, innocently drinking coffee and eating donuts. A guy in his mid-20s came in with a big grin wearing a cowboy hat, and he looked at me and said, "I just walked across the US, from the East Coast to California. Now, here I am!" I said, "Wow, your feet must be tired."

    He was a cool guy, and the crowd in the shop was happy to hear what he had to say. He represented all of us who listened to his stories. Everyone wished they could have done the same thing. Actually, many of us HAVE done similar things. Life is a fantastic adventure that never ceases to amaze us. We make plans, but more often LIFE leads us into directions we never expected. The best we can do is be ready for whatever happens. Always be prepared to "go with the flow and ride with the tide."

    You have a wonderful list of goals and I hope you can accomplish them all, plus many more you haven't thought of yet. Remember, you are in this for the long-haul. You might feel desperate to prove yourself and experience the whole world immediately. I've felt the same way, and I've criss-crossed this country several times, and visited other countries as well. It's a fantastic planet and you have plenty of time to explore it.

    As an old guy looking back, I can tell you we all have the same vivid sense of elation and depression haunting every day that we live. Have we done enough -- Why can't we do more? Relax. There's lots of time to work it all out. Take it as it comes.

    On my blog about my life 40 yeas ago, my younger self is always fretting about how nothing happens fast enough. Of all the entries so far, maybe this would be of interest to you:

    http://truetimetravel.blogspot.com/2013_03_01_archive.html

    Don't worry so much about where you're going. Enjoy where you are.

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  6. hi Elora!
    I stumbled upon your blog through Alex's, and I just wanted to say that I absolutely love your sketches! ;)

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