It’s Not a Race

I was looking through my sketchpad the other day and seeing all the unfinished work I began to become increasing frustrated.  Juggling life, work and art can be hard and there is not enough time to complete the art I would like.  The summer holidays are a time when I often take time off to draw and have big intentions of filling sketchpads, drawing outside but the reality is a bit different.

I thought I would discuss pace and the idea that it is a race and the frustration that this can cause as it is often expressed by students I teach.

Sketchbook of unfinished work
Unfinished work can be frustrating

The I asked myself does it have to be finished? Why? I came to the conclusion that it was the starting that was most important.

Are you putting a lot of pressure on yourself to work at a certain pace? I know I have very unreasonable targets for myself.  I set myself a project a week and sometimes it just isn’t possible to complete.

Smaller Tasks but Regular Tasks 

I feel that I should be able to produce more and put a lot of pressure on myself which can lead to sleep deprivation and feeling overwhelmed and burnt out.  I’ve now started setting myself much smaller tasks, which I try to do regularly as a habit.  It is surprising what you can do in ten minutes if that is all you have.

Drawing of a flower
Small tasks everyday are better than one big project.

Are you Comparing Yourself with Others?

It is often the case that we see art being churned out at great pace on Instagram by established full-time artists.  It is a bad idea to compare yourself with others who may have all day to draw and paint while you are juggling many other responsibilities.  Work at your own pace and try not to compare.

How do you manage art with life and find the time?  Share your thoughts here…

2 thoughts on “It’s Not a Race

  1. “It is often the case that we see art being churned out at great pace on Instagram by established full-time artists.”

    I did previously think that to some extent, I stopped comparing myself to others very early on, in fact when I very first started drawing.

    However, the fact it takes me seemingly 5-6 times longer than others to create a certain type of image (I have something very specific in mind) did make me slightly paranoid. Why am I so slow? I would ask.

    I’m in the fortunate position that even though I do sell artwork I don’t have to produce art to make a living, which is just as well as all it pays for really is new supplies and I give my time for free.

    I am slower, I have compared hours rather than days with fellow artist friends which is an important leveller to stop comparing with those that spend eight hours a day rather than one or two.

    However, I reconcile it with the question “am I enjoying spending the time doing it?” and mostly the answer is yes. If it takes longer and you don’t enjoy it then stop – simple as.

    Yes I have an “art idea list” which expands quicker than I will ever likely catch up with but I just have to accept it.

    If it’s an enjoyable journey then does the destination (or the number of them) matter as much?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good points, it can take a while to be at peace with our pace so many do feel pressurised to create like a factory and I think social media is often behind this pressure. I always think time away from the influences that are making one compare is best if you fall into this trap of feeling the pressure.

      Liked by 1 person

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