Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Keeping up the Momentum in 2018 by Diana Ting Delosh

Momentum © Diana Ting Delosh Ink, Watercolor & Digital
This illustration is my entry for the SCBWI.org #scbwidrawthis January Challenge.
I always start out the year with lists to make the best of the coming year and somewhere between January and June, I get lost. Sometimes it just a temporary derailment and sometimes it's for the rest of the year. 2017 was one of those lost years. I had a challenging project (good) but  it was taking longer than I thought it should and I felt guilty taking time off. Which brings me to the point of this post in order to keep your momentum going you need to find your balance. You need to do what's on your urgent, do or die list without sacrificing what's important to you.

There were so many times in 2017 when I would look longingly at other peoples art for prompts, challenges, contest entries, whatever and thought I could have, should have been part of it. Never mind the missed family and friend fun. Never mind my own project list. But I had that project or job deadline. Now I want and need those paying projects ... but there needs to be time to take a breath and enjoy being a creative with a family.

So how can one Keep up the momentum and stay balanced? Especially if taking on less work is not an option. Here are a few thoughts in random order. 

• Being realistic about deadlines, your limitations and process.  Review the job brief with eyes wide open. Sure it's got things you can do in your sleep but what about the rest. Is it out of your usual comfort zone? Not a bad thing - but it may require extensive research and or more time. Usually, I hit the halfway point of a project and the second half goes much faster than the first. After years of this, I finally met the project that was the exception. I guess the take away is not to assume anything and budget in the extra time.

• Exercise the art muscles on a regular basis. Usually whether I'm working  on a single illustration or a 32 page picture book, my process is to do ALL the sketches, then the line art, then colors, then photoshop. The problem: if it was a BIG project it meant I might be sketching for weeks etc. Then when it came time to ink, I usually threw away the first couple inks. Same with the first couple of paintings etc. Due to the nature of my Big 2017 project, once the initial sketches were approved it was broken into smaller units so I inked, painted, photoshopped on a weekly basis. Big but obvious discovery here - I didn't have to go thru the I forgot how to ____ phase. Meaning fewer do-overs! Hm-m-m I need to sketch, ink/line, color/paint, Photoshop on a weekly  basis.

• Allow for distractions. Working on portfolio builders and art just for fun is important. It's what your future is built on. The problem with most commissions is you can't share, (for good reasons) until after the project is published.  But that means you have nothing to promote yourself with unless you have been creating art on the side. I made the mistake of thinking that if I didn't allow myself to be distracted, I'd finish faster. HA. I just became cranky and whiney and annoyed at myself in October because the year was coming to an end and I was unsatisfied with it. Note, if a job came in, it was squeezed in. In theory, I could've squeezed in more "distractions".

• Have more of a Nine-to-Fiver mindset. As a freelancer I work when there's work. It's the feast/famine mentality. Great if the commissions have natural breaks but if not.... well it maybe time to adapt. Make a point to take breaks. Get out of the studio do other things, fun things, as well as mundane things.

• Stay healthy. The usual eat healthier, exercise and take breaks. Working until you're brain dead doesn't help anything. Having fun with friends and family means going back to the studio refreshed.

Wishing All a Happy, Healthy, Creative, Productive, Prolific and Prosperous 2018!

Twitter: dtdelosh

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6 comments:

  1. Excellent post Diana. We all get so robotic about our paying work that we forget the value of the creative play. Thanks for the reminder and here's to a more balanced 2018!!

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    1. Thanks, Deb. Here's to balance in 2018.

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  2. Diana, such excellent points and ALL familiar *sigh* Balance can be so hard to achieve, but I know I, too, always strive for it. Good luck to ALL of us to find it! :D

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    1. Yup, Balance is a work-in-progress. Happy 2018!

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  3. You're so right Diana!! Keeping a balance for ourselves is key. Ending the year satisfied with what you've done it is so important. Thanks for a good reading :)

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