Tuesday, January 24, 2012

On Being an Artist

Thought I'd throw in a WIP of the Elemental I'm working on.  It's the last you'll see of it till it's published, but I'm pretty much satisfied with it as it is.  I'll probably try to modify the trees on his back since they don't really integrate very well with his body.

Mostly I wanted to write a quick post about a conversation I had with my friend Caroline Dy, on our shared issues being artists.  Lots of people see being an artist as a great job.  tons of fun, this drawing stuff.  And while it is indeed a blessing to have such a creative job pay my bills, there are many days when we both wish we could do something that just involved more manual labor.  Thinking is hard, especially so when you're tasked with keeping the artistic identity of an IP in sync, which is what Carol has been doing as an art director for Boomzap.  It's often much easier to have someone art directing you, pointing out your mistakes and giving advice on how to solve problems, than actually having to art direct yourself.  It's a burden that many commercial artists struggle with.

It's interesting that we're also both thinking about younger, better, faster artists than us.  People don't tell you this when you embark on an artistic career, that you'll be living an entire life trying learning how to be a better artist in order to keep yourself in front of the pack.  The process can be very rewarding but it's also exhausting, and it's hard to tell when you should rest and when you should keep going.  I've had friends thinking of switching careers into some arts or design related, since that's really fashionable these days, and I tell them not to be ridiculous.  It's not all fun and games, art.  There's a lot of hard work that's hidden behind the most beautiful artworks, and the saddest thing to me is that I honestly feel like most of this work has little to no benefit to society.

But even as I fantasize about being a railroad engineer or an urban planner (yes, my fantasies, contrary to the work I create, are quite banal) I wonder if I could ever truly be happy doing anything but this.


  1. "No benefit to society". I hear you :)

  2. Joel: You know I feel like I'm not emotionally ready to teach yet, plus I'm still learning! Maybe in a couple of years :D

    Wilson: I compensate by donating to charities I believe in, haha!

  3. yeah same here. Let's organize a fund raising workshop sometime in the future.

  4. If someone feels his trade gives little benefit to society, would he want to teach it to the next generation?

  5. Back on topic, 3d modeling has this menial labor quality to it that I find it soothing my nerves after working so much on programming.

  6. @Ferdinand: I personally feel my work has no use to society, but really that's my own issue. For many people creating art is enough, and I would happily teach what I know if I thought I was good enough. :)

    As to 3D modeling, I do think that there is a strange pleasure in any kind of art when you do the manually labor intensive stuff. It's the pleasure of knowing that you're progressing without really having to think about it. Like leveling up in a JRPG.