The problem started with self-doubt. And to anybody out there reading this, let me tell you right now that spending most of your waking hours over-thinking and feeling sorry for yourself will not help your cause. But because I lost faith in my own skills at that point, I slowly found myself neglecting the thing that I used to love the most.
Illustration saved me from a lot of negativity because I believed that it was all I could to to escape all the fuck-ups with my family, friends, etc. So when I convinced myself that even that could not save me from the terrible things that I put myself in, I had to find another escape. Slowly, I went from creating 50-70 artworks a year to 3-5 finished pieces back in 2013.
And so far, I’ve only had the time to create one this year. A little sad, don’t you think?
The other day, someone sent me an email (thanks, Pat!) and told me that I was published in an old issue of Digital Artist Magazine, which I had no recollection about since it was too long ago and the email may have gotten lost in my inbox.
A 2-page spread feature in an international magazine would’ve made any young illustrator feel on top of the world. But seeing it today, several months late, it reminded me of how much more I could’ve done within those idle months that I was missing in action. Part of me feels guilty of robbing myself the opportunity to improve and hone the talent that was given to me.
I couldn’t help but flip the pages of my old sketchbooks where I found tons of sketches and plans that never fully came to life. Even in the past year where I was doing so much better than before, I wasn’t able to fully commit to anything. The fire within was missing. The only thing left were embers of what used to be a huge flame that consumed my spirit.
Now that I am doing a lot better than the previous five or so years, I should no longer have any valid excuse for myself. Except for fear. Today, I realized I’ve been afraid of jumping back into the water where I have not swam in a long time, knowing things have changed and I may no longer be good enough for new tides. Afraid that what I can do may no longer be relevant. That I won’t be able to catch up.
I’ve been dipping my toes into the water every now and then, just waiting for the right temperature. But if there’s anything I learned in my years of travelling, it’s to dive right in and make the biggest splash you can make. The longer you spend overthinking, the more time you give the demons inside you to grow into something more monstrous. I mean, why would anyone do that to themselves?
But this isn’t me saying that I’m going back to making art immediately.
Nor am I aiming to go back to producing 50 artworks a year.
And this is definitely not a pity-party.
All I’m saying is that from now on I’m going to work harder to get back in the game.
I don’t want to waste any more time thinking about things that are yet to happen. If I focus on the blank canvas in front of me and start a single stroke, letting it dance naturally on paper, it’s a thousand times better than just staring at a white sheet for hours.
Like most people, I have let fear keep me from moving forward. I gave myself too many excuses to stop trying. But looking back on what I have conquered in the last two years of travelling, it makes no sense for me to be afraid of going back into illustration because, damnit, this is one of the things I know I am good at!
I’m picking things up from where I left them. Starting over, if I may.
There’s a lot of unfinished business to take care of.