So a friend sent me a link to The Toolbox Fallacy (the video above).
He sent it saying: "If you're pushing yourself to do Inktoberfest, I figure there's a chance that you aren't where you wanted to be with your art, by this point in your life.
The following 7 minute vid is a potentially impactful one, about how too many of us wait too long and have too many excuses for not taking more action sooner, toward becoming who we want to be."
First, I thought it was very nice of him to try to give me a gentle prod in the right direction.
The tl;dr of the video is "Don't wait until you have the right tools or environment or... whatever. Just do the thing that you love to do." In my case - make art.
I learned something, but it's not what you might think it would be.
I've been aware of what this person calls the Toolbox Fallacy for many years. For me, it's pretty much never about "I have to have X to make Y." In fact, to the contrary, I've spent a non insubstancial amount of time cheerleading others to 'just get started' with whatever they have on hand. Or, at worst, finding something (anything) to 'make it happen'.
It's true that I'm not where I want to be with my art. To grossly oversimplify, where I would like to be is: "Making a significant portion of my income (or possibly all of it) via the sale of art I've enjoyed making."
The reason I'm pushing myself to do Inktober (think NaNoWriMo but art using ink) is because I want to break from my normal digital production. I'm using Inktober to force myself into a 90 degree turn. Okay, so it's maybe more like a 45 degree turn. The point is that it's a different medium, there's a timer running, and it's an intense 'workout' of sorts that I don't normally do. Something like using (as I recently mentioned to Lindsay Harris-Friel ) a reduced color pallet to force yourself to think differently. These sorts of workouts often lead me to some of my best breakthroughs.
"Okay, okay. We get it. You've told us what you didn't learn. Can you get to what you did learn already?"
Fine. Be that way. I'll get to it.
Essentially, I learned two things watching that video:
- I'm giving folx the wrong impression about the art side of my life. I suspect this is primarilly because right now the majority of the art I'm doing is hidden from most of the world. I'm doing this on purpose (to create a 'big reveal' when our game Conquest! goes live. Still, I need to find a way to share more of what I'm doing. Part of this feels like a social media thing, and I need to do some thinking about it. More to come.
- It's probably time for a change. I've been doing effectively the same thing with my illustration for... well, probably about 4 decades now. Sure, I've gotten better at the thing I do, but if it hasn't brought me to where I want to be after four frickin decades then maybe I need to change the process / model / product. I'm pretty attached to the (art) process and the product, so maybe it's time to focus on the model. I've spent a lot of time working on character drawings, saying "See what I made? Don't you want me to draw your D&D character for $0.50?!" Just like the guy on the street corner who's asking for a buck, most folks just mumble some excuse and scurry away. The two people a year who actually drop a buck in my offered cap aren't enough to pay the bills. So I need to figure out something to get more work coming in the front door. Here again, I need to do some thinking about this, and I'll post more when I've figured something out.
Stay tuned, True Believers.
A quick (and terrible) collection of the images I've done for Inktober so far.
Top row is the 'standard' Inktober themes. Day 1 was "ring" and Day 9 was 'swing'.
Bottom row is the 'whimsical' list starting with Day 1 "fairy" and Day 8 'sorcery'. I haven't finished Day 9 for the whimsical list. (I'm posting this 10/8 so I'm a day ahead on the 'normal list'.)