For the most part, I have shared every single piece of artwork I have created since I launched this blog in March. Whether it’s the silly little doodles I make for my life posts, the fan art I create to complement books, tv shows, and movies discussions in my stories posts, or the random illustrations I feature in my art posts – it’s pretty much all there and, generally speaking, I love and am proud of it all. That being said, every artist – whether illustrator or poet or author or photographer – has moments where the work they create causes cringe and there has been one set of illustrations I have hid from you all since I launched this blog because… yikes.
You see, when my blog launched in March, I got really excited about creating and sort of became obsessed with the desire to doodle all the time. I almost want to say in a way it became more about creating a certain quantity of illustrations for me rather than a certain quality because I knew my work would never be as good as anyone else’s and I just wanted to have a lot of it done so that I would never run out of things to share here. And that’s fine, this is my blog and I can do what I want. But the same thing happened as I mentioned in my thoughts on participating in an Instagram challenge: I realized I don’t want to create just for the sake of creating because my enjoyment wavers and the end results can sometimes be a bit scary.
So today, in the sake of transparency and to encourage any creatives out there that they are not alone in their bad days, I thought I would share a collection of illustrations that I originally refused to post on the blog because I disliked them so much.
One of the hardest things about illustrating again is attempting to figure out my “style”. I try not to think too much about it because I believe in many ways it can be counter-productive, but I would be lying if I said that part of me doesn’t want to be able to look at my work and see traces of consistency.
Of course, the funny thing is, oftentimes when I post my illustrations on the blog or on Instagram, my friends will respond and say “Your drawings are so you!” or “I can always recognize when one of your illustrations pops up in my feed.” How do they recognize my style when I don’t? To me, the illustrations I posted in my last art update, were sort of all over the place. Some had dark outlines, some had lines in their hair, some had (bad) coloring, etc. I mean, variation is great and I like each of those pieces for one reason or another, but to me it was still very obvious that I was just trying to get used to creating again.
I’m happy to say though that with this next batch of illustrations, I see a consistency and I really like the results. And it’s not even because most of my illustrations are based on the same photo shoot, though I’m sure that helps. I just see a connection here between each image where even though they contain different personalities and looks, they all represent a similar style.
I have to admit, it’s been a long time since I last sat down and allowed myself to create freely. Something about creating without a purpose has always felt wasteful and not allowed in my mind. I could flex my creative muscles if it were for a blog post or to go with a letter I was mailing to a friend, but to create for just the sake of creating? Well, that mostly hasn’t been the case for me since high school. (And believe me kids, that was a long, long time ago.)
The only exception has always been during my depressive episodes in which I turn towards creating to escape the thoughts of my racing brain. I find it’s one of the few things in life that absorbs me fully and brings me a sense of peace (which actually seems a bit counter-intuitive as a perfectionist who can always find something to hate in everything I do).
With my last fall into that dark world, I finally realized that my creating doesn’t have to be limited to bad times. If it helps me when I’m feeling down, surely it can make me feel even better when I’m feeling up. And so, over the last few months, I have created regularly again, without a reason, and it feels great.