There are certain areas of my life that I tend to naturally overthink. For example, I used to try on at least 4 different outfits before heading to school in the mornings, questioning the comfort, the weather, the style, pretty much anything you can think of.
I’ve always had a hard time making stern decisions, and I have been noticing this showing up in my illustrations lately as well. I think part of it is normal to wonder if perhaps you could be more successful doing things a little differently, but I started second guessing my choice of medium, the concepts and the style.
Every time this overthinking happens, it starts to become a little battle in my head with one side saying “better start all over again” and the other side saying “this just means you need to experiment a little”.
So, when I finally had some time around client work to make some space at my desk, pull out my paints and get crafting, I quickly remembered why I draw the way I do with the medium that I use. Although illustration is an art, it is not the same as fine art where you make a painting and sell it (ok, that can actually be part of it but it’s not usually the focus).
The scope of illustration is to make drawings and paintings that cater to a client’s vision. Therefor, throughout the process of a project there are sometimes lots of revisions and edits to be made. I’m not entirely sure how illustrators who use paint are able to make these edits once the paint is on paper, but with digital illustration a quick tap of a button and you can easily revert a mistake.
My point is, if you have been doing something a certain way for a long period of time, there’s a reason why you have ended up where you are, and if you’re having doubts it doesn’t mean you need to start over. It could just mean you need some time to play around and explore. You’ll most likely quickly come back to the way you’ve been doing things, maybe with some extra tricks up your sleeve.
The illustration world is quite a confusing one, as is any art form, but ultimately it is what you make it, and you always hold that power to evolve and shift it to suit your preferences a bit more. It doesn’t mean you have to start over.