Making time for art

It is somewhat ironic that the post about making time for art is the one that has taken me the longest to write. But it was also a very obvious candidate for that dubious honour.


When you make art for a living, scheduling things properly is important. You are running a business after all! You are making your living from art, and therefore you have an automatic incentive to keep going. But what if you haven't reached that stage yet? If you've got only a small online shop, or twelve subscribers on Youtube, or 20 people who like your art on Instagram, and the reason you create art is just that you feel the need for it? If your income is provided by another job, or if you're studying something else, how do you make time for what you feel is important for you?

Basics

Which place does art have in your life?
The first step to help me was to admit to myself that I wanted to make art. If you've known that you wanted to create since you were four, that's great! But if you haven't, now is probably the time to admit the place of art in your life. Think about your priorities, and figure out where art comes in your list. This way, you can make sure that you allocate your time accordingly.

Let everyone know you're an artist
Make sure that your environment knows that you're taking art seriously. Talk to your family and friends, or just show them. Make them believe that art is important to you. Then your art will become important to them as well! Supportive people around you are a huge bonus, especially when the daily grind gets to you and you would really prefer to do art right at that moment.

Find motivation
This leads me to the next point - not feeling like it. What to do to get out of a funk will be covered in a later post, but for now, make sure that you have strategies for when that problem arises. If you want to treat your art seriously, you should try to work through it. The professionals don't have a choice either. (From what I have been told (shouted at, more like), this period in an artist's life comes with a lot of whining, so you'd better prepare the people you love ahead of time ;).

When you're not complaining to friends or family, you can use them (or a productivity system, if needs must) to keep you accountable. They want to see new art, so you better get out and create some!

Scheduling

Now that you've set ways to prepare the rest of the world for your new art life, it is time to figure out how to do it.

How much time can you spend?
First things first: Find out how much time you have where you can move tasks around. Remember your list of priorities and figure out how much time to spend on your art.

How much time do you need to spend?
Next, understand how you work. Do you draw a few minutes here and a few minutes there? Or do you need a few hours to properly get into the mood? Plan accordingly. Bigger chunks of time may only be found at the weekend or late at night / early in the morning. If you prefer smaller sessions, consider taking your art with you to do something during your break time, or while waiting for appointments. People may look at you in a funny way, but I promise, it is much easier to get used to that than you might think.

A hypothetical day in an artist's life

If you are working on art projects, try to think things through. How much time does it take you to brainstorm ideas? How much to decide on a layout? How much to sketch? How much to actually colour it in? (A LOT, is always the answer to that question.) Don't take on too many things at once, your art time is restricted enough as it is. You don't need the added pressure from a miscalculated deadline.

If you're trying to improve, make sure to include time for improvement as well as art you do for fun. Otherwise, fun art will always be the only thing you do.

Rest and Review

If your planning is not working out, set aside a time to have a rethink. Don't struggle on for weeks or months hoping you will follow your plan better. (Spoiler from years of experience: You won't.) Analyse what went wrong. (Did you do something else instead of art? Were you not motivated to pick up a pencil?) Find solutions for these issues if they are likely to occur again.

And finally, remember to schedule breaks on long days and allow yourself days off in between. You're not a machine, and your creativity isn't either. Indeed, use some time off to get inspired. Look at other art, go outside, meet others. Make memories.





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