Have i "made a huge mistake"?

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Old 05 May 2013   #1
Have i "made a huge mistake"?

That was paraphrasing G.O.B from Arrested Development, but my issue is almost as tragic/comical. I graduated from an audiovisuals course and in the last months i've been struggling to create a portfolio to apply for a job in the industry. So far my progress has been: i got nothing. The areas i -supposedly- intend to pursue were modelling, animation, even matte painting or screenwriting . But every time i open Maya, Photoshop, Word, i literally stare at the screen scribbling, noodling, moving verts without being able to create anything. Don't get me wrong, i have a very vivid and wild imagination and i'm constantly thinking of "sketches" or scenes, characters, places etc. But something is lost in the process of transposing those ideas into a canvas, be it 3D or 2D, or even words in the case of trying to write a short story. It's like if you know what you want to make, even know the details, but when you actually start to work on it *puf* it vanishes in thin air and you end up blocked.

I dont presume there are "naturals" or that art appears magically without lots of work for everybody, but for sure almost all of you are able to start a piece and end it. So i'm starting to think if i made the proverbial "huge mistake" pursuing this area and that it's not normal to struggle this much just to make a portfolio or to block this easily. I know i want to pursue a creative career, and i am experimenting with lots of different areas, from sculpting to writing, modelling, even photography, but i'm starting to feel a bit scared, to be honest, to think i may have wasted all these years and i don't have the vocation to make a living expressing myself. So, has anybody been through such similar experience? If so, how did you overcome it? Cheers!
 
Old 05 May 2013   #2
Yeah loads of people have been where you are. Here is a good read for you:
Art & FEAR
Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking
DAVID BAYLES and TED ORLAND

Its a short sweet book that someone here recommended.

I like making stuff. As a kid I really enjoyed LEGO. I would build things using 3d programs if I needed to or not because I enjoy it. If you fear failing at something the fun goes right out the window. Read the book you will understand right away.

Good luck.
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Old 05 May 2013   #3
I think this illustration sums up the perils of the creative process pretty well : http://www.viruscomix.com/creativevitaerc.jpg

If you're struggling to complete something the only advice I can offer is to set yourself short deadlines and work quickly. It's easier to complete something when you don't have time to obsess over what it isn't and it's easier to throw it away if you haven't invested a huge amount of time.

If all goes well your confidence will pick up and you'll eventually be be able to work on more involved ideas without wanting to hurl yourself through a window.

Good luck!
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Old 05 May 2013   #4
Originally Posted by Shesul: That was paraphrasing G.O.B from Arrested Development, but my issue is almost as tragic/comical. I graduated from an audiovisuals course and in the last months i've been struggling to create a portfolio to apply for a job in the industry. So far my progress has been: i got nothing. The areas i -supposedly- intend to pursue were modelling, animation, even matte painting or screenwriting . But every time i open Maya, Photoshop, Word, i literally stare at the screen scribbling, noodling, moving verts without being able to create anything. Don't get me wrong, i have a very vivid and wild imagination and i'm constantly thinking of "sketches" or scenes, characters, places etc. But something is lost in the process of transposing those ideas into a canvas, be it 3D or 2D, or even words in the case of trying to write a short story. It's like if you know what you want to make, even know the details, but when you actually start to work on it *puf* it vanishes in thin air and you end up blocked.

I dont presume there are "naturals" or that art appears magically without lots of work for everybody, but for sure almost all of you are able to start a piece and end it. So i'm starting to think if i made the proverbial "huge mistake" pursuing this area and that it's not normal to struggle this much just to make a portfolio or to block this easily. I know i want to pursue a creative career, and i am experimenting with lots of different areas, from sculpting to writing, modelling, even photography, but i'm starting to feel a bit scared, to be honest, to think i may have wasted all these years and i don't have the vocation to make a living expressing myself. So, has anybody been through such similar experience? If so, how did you overcome it? Cheers!


Perhaps you are simply not creative and or not productive at a rate fast enough to compete against others better equipped? Better to find out now than to waste more of your time in a field that is a bad fit for your abilities or lack of them. If so, keep the art endeavor as a hobby and find another field for an occupation.
 
Old 05 May 2013   #5
Maybe you need to reorganise your work space so it feeds or keeps you 'groove' going.

I know this makes a world of difference for me sometimes.

Another good tip is to always have a notebook with you where you can write all your creative ideas down whereever you are.

Getting things on paper first also helps the 'workfow' allot.
 
Old 05 May 2013   #6
Another question:
How comfortable are you with computers for everyday tasks?
Might seem strange in this day and age-but sometimes the tool can get in the way.

I went to school with a brilliant 2d animator (old school). But his switch to a computer for animation did not go well. He really struggled and was far from comfortable animating that way. He was just awkward with computers in general.
By the end of the program he basically had a simple character doing one major position shift and thats all he could figure out how to do with the time he had. Ironically it looked extremely good. Probably the best character animation in the class (he was the only one of us who had previous animation chops). But the tool -computer/software (Alias studio-this was back '91)- was not for him. I wonder how he'd like today's software like Toon Boom et all...much more up his alley...

Anyway...how far beyond pushing buttons have you gotten?
 
Old 05 May 2013   #7
Originally Posted by Kanga: Art & FEAR
Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking
DAVID BAYLES and TED ORLAND


Thank you, i'm reading it now and it's so true and identifiable!

Thank you all for your insights, have been very helpful
 
Old 05 May 2013   #8
Taking a piece from start to finish is unfortunately not a skill everyone has. Actually, skill isn't even the right word. More like passion. And partially responsibility. Doing something you like will obviously be easier to get it done however.

The field you choose sounds completely different though. Screen writing and modeling - not related at all IMO. For now I guess it's ok to try out different things. But at some point you really will need to choose your path.
 
Old 05 May 2013   #9
Small steps.

It's all about learning how to manage yourself, your time, and the things around you that need your time.

When you're able to have an hour or two hours of pure free-time then getting creative tasks completed is a breeze - it's when you've got a dozen worries going on in your mind that creativity is sapped from you, and you lose the motivation to give 100% to your work.

Also it may be worthwhile getting some direction, someone has already mentioned that screen-writing, and modelling are two very different tasks. You can blend them together by working on a short-film (I can't recommend this process enough, you improve on so many levels,) but perhaps, for now, try focusing on one specific creative task at a time. And, give it 100% of your time, effort, and concentration. You'll be rewarded for it.
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Old 05 May 2013   #10
If you do nothing, you're guaranteed nothing.

Words to live by, that.
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Old 05 May 2013   #11
I've recommended this a few times to other people because it helped me so much. Join a competition. I've started 3 or the past 4 HCM modeling challenges right here on this site and have finished 2 of them. (The other one work took up my time.) My reasoning is that I have an extremely hard time ever finishing a project. I have tons of half started things that I just never pick up again. Having a predetermined deadline and a set subject forced me to start manage and execute my project and the results were better than I could have hoped for. I produced work to a quality that I would of had a really hard time hitting if there was not a structured time frame I had to stay in.
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Old 05 May 2013   #12
What mlager8 said. If you're the type that needs motivation then having the artificial limit put on you helps tremendously. I would never have gotten half of the stuff I've done finished if not for the challenge deadline.

Originally Posted by Shesul: But every time i open Maya, Photoshop, Word, i literally stare at the screen scribbling, noodling, moving verts without being able to create anything.

So far, everything you've described sounds like me so I'll tell you what helps me.
1. Start with a plan. If I sit down to work in Maya or ZBrush with no plan or idea then I will make nothing. Start with an idea, then move it to paper to rough it out then hit the software.
2. Give yourself deadlines. If I don't have hard deadlines I'll fire up Steam and start playing games with friends. The deadline, artificial or real, makes me work harder. It accomplishes the almost impossible task of making me not play a game.
3. Get feedback. Find a group of peers you can bounce ideas off of. I have a personal group I can talk to directly for great critique and there is the HMC which is always full of helpful people. But you need to plug in first. Not everyone will communicate with you right out, but hang around long enough and people will start recognizing you and want to help more.
4. Keep it simple. If you know your problem is the initial spark, then cut that part out and do some fan art or work from a concept that you like. If I want to work on anatomy or something specific like the hands, I don't want my crappy concepts to get in the way so I cut that out and get good reference instead.
5. Don't rush. I frequently will try and skip the initial tedious (highly important) steps so I can rush into something I like more, like sculpting. But without that good foundation your going to have problems later on. I will always have this problem I'm pretty sure.

Good luck!
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Old 05 May 2013   #13
It could be a personality issue too (just to cover all bases). Not all personality types are suited to prolonged period of concentration that requires imagination, creativity, critical thinking, planning, discipline, passion, tenacity, time management, and sacrifice. And this isn't just for one project, but for an entire lifetime of a career that spans decades, day in and day out.

Do you actually LOVE and ENJOY the process of creating itself, or do you only like the idea of being creative or the rewards that will one day come from a creative career? Also, are you mistaking your love as a FAN of creative mediums (movies, games, illustrations, music, books, etc) for your love as a PRACTITIONER of the creative mediums? Too many people confuse the two and end up having to face the fact that they were never supposed to become a practitioner, because what they were truly in love with, was being a fan, and having to be a practitioner was simply too much pressure, too much sacrifice, too much work, and too tiring, not to mention too painful emotionally and psychologically to always feel that nagging self-doubt and self-loathing.

If you truly love creating for the sake of creating, then it should come natural to you, because you can't wait to dive into whatever project you just HAVE to be immersed in--it's like an addictive drug to you. You can lose yourself in your creative vision and every moment spent doing it is a joy, even when it is believably challenging.

If you don't feel that, then maybe it's time to reassess if you really want what you THINK you want, instead of what you're actually suited for. There could be other things in life that you're much better suited for--things that you actually can enjoy and love the process as well as the idea of doing it. You might end up being much happier doing something else with your life--it could even be something you haven't even been exposed to yet, and you might find it if you did some traveling, changed your lifestyle, tried new things you never thought of before.

It's one of life's greatest challenges to find your true calling. Many people don't find it until later in life, or their priorities and tastes changes as they get older, so the dreams and goals they had as a child or young man becomes irrelevant later in life. It is good that you are asking these questions because something doesn't feel right, and instead of putting on a blindfold and keeping forging ahead mindlessly, it's much better to really step back and assess your life, your priorities, and the various possibilities open to you.
 
Old 05 May 2013   #14
I have a generalist type of mindset and when I was learning stop motion animation and writing and trying different things I did experience a period where I just could not decide what to work on--I would start and stop, and felt very indecisive. There may have been other factors at work that hindered me, but over time that problem passed.

If you did take a course and if you do have a wild and vivid imagination and conceptual drive maybe its just a matter of organizing yourself or finding what interests you the most.
I cant remember what happened that made me get over that period of indecision.
I think it was more of a problem with animation than writing-when I decided to focus on writing first and foremost I felt better-and returned to animation much later.
 
Old 05 May 2013   #15
Originally Posted by Lunatique: Do you actually LOVE and ENJOY the process of creating itself, or do you only like the idea of being creative or the rewards that will one day come from a creative career?

That was really well said Robert.

This is a problem I find with myself too often. An idea I think is fantastic will pop into my head and I'll spend time developing it. Well an idea is great but then I assess just how much time it will take to make it reality and then the rubber meets the road. Either challenge accepted and I go at it or I get that staggering feeling of "Man I really have better things to do".

Not to mention while I'm working on it I'll have a dozen more potentially great ideas that make me want to abandon it and start on them.

For example, currently I am on the cusp of beginning a project I know is a good idea. I've been working on the script for about a month. But now I'm at the "rubber and road" part and in this case it's about a year's worth of work. Do I really want to dedicate that much of my life to something? Something that I probably won't finish and definitely can't get any financial reward from.

(The answer is yes by the way. )
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