It can be rough to keep your imagination and creativity safe while braving tough times… but life’s ups and downs shouldn’t be the reason for you throwing in the towel!
I’ve had a lot of friend’s who’ve been aspiring artists. Some traditional artists, some comic artists…the whole shabang. We’d talk for hours and hours about how we were going to grow up and become “successful mangaka (Japanese comic artist)” and be the next “big things”. It was great, we’d even write scripts and start making drafts for our art .. but homework was such a load on our shoulders back then, we couldn’t find the time to get it done together. When 2 of us were free, the other 3 would be gasping for air in Geometry… but we still hoped and dreamed.
As we got older, some lost interest, and wanted to focus on more “important things” .. like their grades, or work for college. They didn’t feel they could do both. Others just.. simply lost interest. However, when someone would stop arting because of hardships in their life .. such as relationship issues, family or health problems .. things of the sort… it really hurt me. Especially since I myself had gone through it too.
I suffer from chronic anxiety … on top of that I have SPD (sensory processing disorder). Not a great combination, those two. And yet I lived through it: I’d draw at the window when i was young day in and day out, creating scenes for characters and thinking up stories for them. It helped me a lot with my issues. It kept me calm and focused. I’d draw in school, home, anywhere I had a pen and paper..
My grandmother was very supportive of my art. Despite me not doing well in school (back then especially, grades were taken bloody seriously in Japan. It was like … ‘No A, No Life’), she encouraged me to just “do my best and have to regrets”, and to continue doing what I loved. However, when I’d come to America for school, my environment wasn’t nearly as supportive. During high-school, My mother would only worry about what teachers said instead of acknowledging what I actually showed some interest in, and my step-father spent his days talking down to me about how I “will never make money” as an artist.. (which I debunked a week later by selling a piece for $45 ;D .. hey it was a start). It was only after I put my foot down and expressed my conviction, that things started to shuffle in my direction.
But life went on, and drama continued to happen in my household. It made my anxiety worse, and some days it was so bad, I couldn’t sit myself down to draw..or do anything for that matter. I was a frantic mess. I really WANTED to draw and improve, but I was too distraught to stay focused and do it. I was too busy worrying about everything else. But then I got to thinking: Maybe I’m handling this completely wrong. Most of the thing’s i’d allow myself to get upset by and flustered with were things outside of my control; things having to do with other people. Even my relationship problems can’f be fixed by just me alone…The problem was that, I started to feel guilty for drawing when all of these bad things were happening around me.
Art was mine. And if you’re an artist too, Art is Yours. It is one of the few things in your life that you DO have full control of, and to allow outside situations in which you have no control affect your ability to produce is a terrible waste. You deserve art, and you deserve to be happy while creating it.
Remove yourself from the toxic environment that is poisoning you. Draw at a friends house, a library, a coffee shop..somewhere where you can find peace of mind. If you can’t, create a playlist of music you love and lock yourself in your room with some headphones. Create a creative bubble around yourself, and give yourself the creative release you deserve. Create a piece symbolizing your frustrations or worries … and allow yourself to transcend them. You must embrace your passion even in your tough times. You’ll be happy you did, when those tough times come to pass…