Making art is a battle.
Making art can feel like a struggle. A struggle to find the right time. Or even just a struggle for knowing what to work on.
Sometimes it feels like it's never the best time for making art. But when it is, something seems to always get in the way.
So when is the best time for making art?
As I'm writing this a fire truck just drove by my house. Full sirens and all. It was the second time this morning and others will probably drive by throughout the day.
At night, there’s always a few drunk people singing and being loud with their friends as they walk by. There’s great mezcal bar a few blocks away, so naturally this common side effect.
The starving artist mindset would be to give in to misconceptions and blame all these external factors. Blame them and believe they're preventing your success as an artist. But they're not.
Being a career artist means you have to push through and make art no matter what. Even if you don't have a fancy studio. Yes, even if your dining table is the only space you have for working on your art.
My drawing teaching, E. Michael Mitchell, converted half his house into different spaces for making art. He used what he had to the fullest.
So why am I sharing these fun details with you?
These are the distractions I regularly experience when I sit down with the intention of making art. Some days I like drawing when I first wake up. Some days I prefer drawing at night. It's never the same.
When I’m not drawing at home, I’ll go to the zoo to draw in my sketchbook. Where screaming kids are part of the landscape. I'll sit there on a bench trying to figure out if my drawing styles are getting messed up or not.
If possible, I would have an amazing secret art studio in Kauai. But I’m where I’m at in this moment right now, and I have to draw. If I don’t do it now, it won’t happen.
Most of us don’t have the luxury of having a secret treehouse art studio on an island where it’s quiet all the time. Where the only distractions are the ones we bring on.
A majority of the distractions out there are not under our control. Do you know what you have to do? Make the decision to actively ignore them.
What is in your control, are the apps on your phone, having multiple tabs open in on your browser, comparing yourself to other artists, and generally overthinking your work. All of which will go away if you replace them with action.
The right time to take action with your art is to start making art right now.
Our art should be treated as something we need to seduce. Where the lighting and mood have to be just right.
While it’s nice to have the things around you to make everything ideal. Just don’t fall into the trap of leaning too heavily on a particular tactic or tool as a crutch.
Finished artwork should be your biggest reward. Not the amount of coffee or how quiet it was around you as you worked. By pushing through and taking action with your art – even if it’s as simple drawing random lines – taking action will help you overcome the curse of inspiration.
Your creative actions will result in inspiration.
When your artwork becomes a daily action without the need for inspiration, more finished artworks will happen. For example, the accomplished feeling you get at the end of a drawing session will become your reward. Putting in the work and moving forward. Instead of overthinking and waiting.
Creating a full body of artwork is a side effect of taking action. The more time you dedicate to the action of making, the more likely you are at creating something that will carry you forward professionally. Increasing your odds of truly awesome works with a daily routine of blindly taking creative action.
Draw when you’re not hit by the feeling of inspiration. Later on, when you’re looking back at the specific artworks you made. You probably won’t even remember where you were, what you were thinking, let alone if you felt inspired.
Make art to consistently get better. Yes, not everything is going to be perfect. Everything won't be something you’ll want to show people.
Most of my drawings don’t see the light of day. Ultimately, the more I draw, I get the bad drawing out so I can get closer to the good ones.
You can’t let yourself use any sense of fear or overthinking as procrastination.
However, a professional artist knows the best way to create is to put in the work.
Never wait to be inspired.
Inspiration only makes an appearance you start making art. Activating your brain to create by literally starting to draw – drawing anything, even a scribble.
This is how I think about my drawings. I’m not the best, but I’m a hard worker. I’ve done the same with my drawings and writing for the past many years. I’m not seeking out any magical accreditation from the universe. I’m only exploring what happens when I dedicate time to my sketchbooks. Seeing where the action takes me and how things turn out every day.
Finally, try not to dwell on the past or the future. There will always be a fire truck speeding down the road blasting it’s sirens. This moment, right now, is your time to draw and make your art.