Art and life - 2018 so far

Hi everyone, it's been a long time since I've updated my blog.

I'd like to keep on top of regular updates but figure it's best to just make a post when I have something worth talking about. I have a lot planned for this website and my art as a whole which I'm really excited to share going forward!

This year has been super busy. Probably the busiest its been for me in a while, which for the most part is a good thing. It's always a comfort to know there is work to do especially if it's work that I enjoy, but with that workload comes a stifling inability to relax and enjoy any time I do have for myself. It's something I've noticed become a problem in the past few months especially leading up to my trip to America. I've felt a prolonged need to be productive and to fill any down time with work. While I do consider myself a driven person with a strong work ethic, I needed to appreciate that as a human being it's healthy and normal to wind down and do something to switch off your mind for a little bit. Working non-stop and spreading myself too thin eventually led to feeling overwhelmed, helpless and panicked resulting in burnout over this summer. It wasn't a great time, but definitely a teachable one and I'm far more aware now of my limits and when to say 'enough' for one day.

A bit of background to this: I work full time as an eLearning developer which involves many disciplines such as graphic design, video production and editing and script writing. There are a lot of industry trends to keep on top of. I also manage my own workload, storyboard every course, build, upload and QA our modules. I absolutely love my work and find it hugely fulfilling.

In June of this year I opened commissions in my free time (aiming for 3 per month, with the potential of them being fully illustrated!) - the first few slots were grabbed quickly. It's exciting and flattering to know that people want to own my work but I quickly realised that I had bitten off more than I could chew. Around this time, a number of colleagues on my team had left which meant my workload had increased. I wanted to draw for myself to relax and not feel like I had over encumbered my to-do list and filled every iota of free time I have with more work. I realise I am to blame for this and should spread out my commission work across a more manageable and realistic timeframe, especially for work like full illustration which is very labour-intensive. My trip to America was so good for helping me to disconnect and feel happy in the present moment again; I definitely needed it and saved for so long to make it happen.

Going forward, while I wish to continue with creating art for others, I have also been writing a story which I plan to illustrate. It's a project that's been in the works jumping between my mind and several sketch/notebooks since 2013 and I'm SO excited to see this project through. The story is personal, inspired by several life events but with a fantasy twist that I'm hoping will be loved and cherished once it reaches an audience.

One good thing that's come out of the burnout I experienced this year is that I'm more aware of what I can and cannot realistically handle outside of my full time job. For the time being at least, I have to say no to additions to my to-do list. It's okay to work on your own projects simply for the love of it.

On another note, it's okay also to step back from social media! Switching off to focus on your own space and filling your time with the things you love truly is healthy and I'd implore you to take a break if you feel like you need it! Turn off those notifications! Stay true to yourself and your limits. Companies like Facebook know they have you hooked and want you to stay hooked. Ask yourself if social media really is helping you at any given time and if it's not, take a break. It's okay!

See you all soon with some new art!


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