Trusting your inner voice
It was a few months ago, I was sitting at my desk staring at my iPad and thinking, I just don’t want to do this right now. The problem was that I had been feeling that way for a little while, and it was getting stronger. I knew I still wanted to draw, but there was something missing in my practise, something that made it feel incomplete.
Technology has been such a great gift for artists, it makes our lives much easier and helps us provide the best service possible for our clients, especially as commercial illustrators. For some, their creativity can blossom and grow thanks to the technology, but for others like me, I feel like I have a special connection with painting. It’s something that is so familiar to me because I have been painting since I was very young.
Painting was always the one thing I loved to do and the one thing I was good at. I never knew if I could make a career of it, but my happiest moments are spent painting in the sunshine.
For a few weeks, I went back and forth, trying out different methods and ways to combine both digital and painted elements. I even tried to ignore my feelings that were telling me to paint again and kept on with the digital illustration because, well, I was good at it! I had spent 2 years getting to that point and switching over really felt like starting all over again.
It was never an overnight decision to switch over to painting, but a tedious process of trial and error, seeing what worked and what didn’t. My biggest dilemma at the time, aside from the feeling of painting was that I loved the way the paint looked for certain elements much more than the digital illustration.
Fast forward a few months, I am so glad I made the switch to gouache and watercolour. It has made such a difference in my overall happiness while working on projects and it challenges me in a great way.
I think sometimes we really do have a bit of “artist wisdom”, an inner voice that starts to sneak up on us and say “hey! try this! something isn’t working here!!”. At first, we resist this voice because we’ve worked so hard to get to where we are, why change??
Sometimes the voice can just be a curiosity, but in this case, it was the push that I needed. I couldn’t sleep, I had trouble thinking straight or making decisions because I was so consumed about whether or not I should be switching over to painting. I was scared, I had taught myself that digital illustration was the only way I would be able to make a good living as an illustrator because it’s more efficient. Boy was I wrong!
If anything, switching over has made me busier than ever! My illustrations are much more diverse, and applicable to several different subject types rather than only drawing fashion. I love the way things look when they’re painted, and I’m so proud to show off my portfolio these days because I’ve come so far and worked so hard to make it look the way it does now. This is because my work feels very authentic to my personality now, it feels like an extension of myself and my personal taste. This is of course different for everyone, but here I am talking about my own personal preference.
From one artist to another, preferences may be very different, but I know other artists have had this little voice creep up on them as well and I know how stressful it can be to detach from everything you’ve worked so hard on. It’s important to remember that the progress you made will always be progress, even though I no longer show/advertise my digital illustrations, I learned so much from them that I apply in my current work. It was not wasted time at all, it was growth.
Today, I get to work on so many exciting and different projects, and I get to do them while painting away in my little studio. I enjoy every moment of it, even if the project is challenging. My clients benefit as well because it helps me think outside the box and always go beyond their expectations because I truly want the best result possible for each project.
If you get that little voice in your head telling you to try something, just try it! It may be nothing, but if it starts to consume your thoughts, do yourself a favour and don’t resist it too much. It could be the next best thing for you!
Sending you all the love and creativity in the world!