We just released this weeks Warm Up Wednesday and always like and share if you enjoy!
When we decide to pursue art as either a hobby or a career the word “talent” is something that pops up. It seems to be a common platitude in fact. No matter how many hours, or how many responsibilities are sidelined for creative endeavors, the concept of talent always seems to take precedence over hard work in common vernacular.
The main question when making natural talent so important is determining how much of a creators abilities are God-given and how much is a result of simply putting in the hours it takes to get good. What of people who are “talented” at things but want to do something else with their lives? What about people who may not be perfect at something but if they are diligent enough get SUUUPER good…but quit because someone says they aren’t talented?
Our art was terrible when we were kids but people told us we were talented. God bless those people and it was great that we thought our art was fine at the time but it was far from master level. We were just obsessed about getting better and kept going even when we make work that will never see the light of day. We have each spent 20-30 hours on certain pieces…I would consider that in the realm of hard work. We are drawn to art and always have been so does it make all of our work the result of simply inborn predisposition? Maybe we should just concentrate on doing what we do instead of figuring out all this.
This is a topic that we will touch one in future posts and videos. Please share and leave your input regarding talent vs work ethic!
We live in an age where it seems like everyone feels entitled to opinions. Add in the fact that good art is everywhere so when it comes to figure out what style to do or what exact career path to follow it gets confusing. When we started trying to figure out what we wanted to do stylistically we had to figure out the following:
What do we want our art to look like?
There are a thousand ways to make a drawing or painting and so much subject matter to tackle. There is a limited amount of time to be alive and get good at things. You can’t do everything without getting overwhelmed. Yes, one artist may do great watercolor portraits, another artist may do beautiful Celtic folkart but that doesn’t mean I have to do those things. That person has reasons for doing what they enjoy, I need to discover my own tastes and preferences. You can appreciate something without having it yourself or simply take bits from each influence.
Why we are making art?
Am I making it as a hobby? Is it being made for a book or other publication? Is it being sold in galleries or being shown in exhibitions? Is it a physical embodiment of some emotion? Is it a vehicle for expressing a group of characters acting out a story of some sort? If it’s a part of a genre, which one and why? Who do I want to see this art and how do I best visually communicate to them? Figuring out the end game is useful for figuring out a path.
What was it about doing it that we even liked?
Answering this helped us discover the mediums we use. There are certain disciplines that we don’t do because we didn’t enjoy the process of creating it. Answering this helps lessen the dissonance between wanting to make something cool but not feeling like getting to the end point. What we do takes insane amounts of time so we need to enjoy the ride. It also doesn’t help if other people love the art but the artists looses a piece of his/her soul making it.
Artists and creators: Let us know! Are you doing the work you really want to be doing? If so how did you get there and if not, what are your obstacles stand in your way?
We just created a new segment on our YouTube channel called Warmup Wednesdays! These will be faster smaller doodles or sketches, mostly not related to any of the more involved pieces we may be working on at the time. Take a look and subscribe for more content!
Response to Roberto Blake’s video: competing in the saturated market
His question of the day was: the idea of competing in a saturated market scaring you off and keeping you from putting yourself out there?
I was going to slap together a little blurb in his comments section but instead will write a full post on this. I understand that this is something that others face as well so I will share this in this public platform in the hopes that this post as well as Roberto’s original content helps so, done take a chance on some idea.
Growing up Taisa and I assumed that a proper life would be to go to school, be good students get a job which will keep us employed for 30-40 years. Get a pension, retire and then mosey on off to the grave. We were risk averse because it wasn’t necessary for the above goals and in fact, competed with the prescribed life formula. It was risky to be risky even if the reward would be better. As stated in the post on why we don’t draw anime anymore, we didn’t have the tools to draw slick digital art like the top artists on early 2000s DeviantArt. I for one assumed that being competitive wasn’t an option. The fact that art is so competitive kept us from taking art seriously as a career option for a long time.
The only thing that made me think that I could do it was the points in life where it was necessary. I put myself out there because I had to. The alternative was to just get by in degree program I didn’t care about and eventually work jobs that I hated. So the option for us was binary: make ourselves competitive or be miserable forever. We weren’t even hurting anyone or doing anything unscrupulous, we wanted to draw some pictures. When the conversation was reframed in those terms that is when we stopped caring about challenges or others’ expectations for us. We figured out the things that we needed to do to improve because when it boils down to it those challenges tend to be excuses that feed into fear.
As Roberto stated near the end of his video on this subject; if you aren’t pulling the trigger on what it will take to tailor your life, if you aren’t engineering your ideas or contributing to the solution you aren’t allowed to complain. There are stories that we wanted to see in the world so instead of complaining about jobs or what other people are doing we are stepping out on faith and making it happen.
My final note on this is that everyone who has created successful things in some way started with nothing just like the rest of us. Even if a super great artist had a parent who taught them, that person still had to put the pencil to paper. Even people with inherited wealth can squander it away. Using other people’s innate superiority or privilege is actually an excuse to not do things when you break it down and just feeds into a fear of not starting.
Check out Roberto Blake’s video on the subject, we are more than happy to send traffic his way!
In summary, we know that there is a saturated market but we chose not to care.
His question stands: is the idea of competing in a saturated market scaring you.? Share this post with someone you think is letting fear hold them back!
We didn’t always draw anime as kids. In the beginning we would doodle characters from western animation, make up our own characters, and copied from books around us. Even as we would draw anime, we would occasionally draw things not in that style. But from the ages of 9-17 anime took over the life of our art. That coencided with the height of Cartoon Networks Toonami. During our teen years we discovered art on the internet (remember that dialup noise anyone!) and Deviantart.com. We saw people do those slick drawings that turned out to be digital paintings. For various reasons, we were stuck with traditional art and it became apparent that there was no way to make our stuff look that ‘cool’. So we stuck to being as best we could with traditional art. We did mess around with online tutorials and those infamous “How to Draw” books; y’all know the ones I mean.
By the time we were a couple of years in college, we had all but stopped watching anime for various reasons. When we decided to pursue art as a career, we did not delve back into anime for the following reasons:
-we spent so much time on learning fundamentals. We took the time in school to learn what we could. As I said above we did dabble in the basics of art but we did only the bare minimum that we thought we needed to make cool little drawings. We didn’t exactly know where we wanted to end up when we started taking drawing classes but we knew that we needed to build a solid foundation. At that time we didn’t want to focus on making a style.
-we started looking at other types of art/media. Soon after we immersed ourselves in basic art we took a look at art history, architecture, graphic design. We had to as part of our degree program but we did learn that there were so many disciplines! There were so many cool things in the world other than anime. We couldn’t just unsee all of it. We also broadened our horizons because we were becoming more aware of our worldview at the time.
-we needed to look into realistic career options. The options that we were aware of did not leave room for the style.
-there where things we wanted to articulate that weren’t served drawing anime. When we were younger we saw art in books or maybe on the internet. Those works were seen basically out of context. But we were seeing these digital paintings and cartoons on a screen, in their element…they way they were meant to be consumed. It wasn’t a fair fight! Then we were going to museums and galleries as adults. We’ve seen work from Kinkade, Dutch masters, Hudson River school, pre-Raphaelite paintings, life size portraits IN PERSON. Even work from contemporary artists is impressive in person but when I saw my first gold leaf medieval painting face to face at the Nasher museum in Durham I knew that there was a standard that I needed to reach for; especially with the subject matter I wanted to explore. The anime style would have handicapped our artistic expression.
Should other artists do anime then?
This is not a hard and fast no.
we do implore our fellow artists to do the following in the early stages of your artistic journey:
-get multiple influences
-figure out where you want to go with your art and assess the practicality of this plan
Please realize that anime style may not survive all of that but the experience will be rich and rewarded!
So what do you think? Please comment on your experience in different styles. How did you decide to make the art you do now?
Our newest video is up on YouTube! It contains Taisa working on the pen and ink drawing phase of what will become an acrylic wash painting. She explains her process, a few tips and tricks and there’s even some of our twin banter on there. Comment if there is content you’d like to see from us and share with someone who would find this type of content interesting.
October has concluded and it kicked my butt. I am working on a few oil paintings that I’d like to get done by the end of the year. Taisa, however, went all in with it. She got some amazing ideas out of it including but not limited to a full blown narrative!
In conclusion of this awesome art community event, it’s very important to use these community events as a learning experience. We implore you guys out there to not use these things as a means of drawing just to say you’ve drawn but to use it to hone specific aspects of your work. That’s my inspirational blerb for today. Have a great week!
Sometimes it can be difficult to stay the course with goals in general or find the motivation to slog through. As artists, we rarely get instant gratification. The type of work we’re doing requires hours of study, revisions, and good chunk of time watching paint dry. How on earth do we pull through?
For us the number one thing is a famous verse from the Bible
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen
The entire chapter goes on to provide illustrations of instances in which biblical figures took massive action because all they had to go on was the belief that their actions and faith would do something down the line. We personally make concerted daily efforts on our art because we believe that our hard work and diligence will pay off. Yes we plan systems to set ourselves up for success, we don’t have everything exactly figured out. We do have everything that we need to succeed, and what we don’t know can be learned or outsourced. We chose to believe that if anyone has been successful at something there’s nothing stopping us except the limits we place on ourselves!
TAKE IT SERIOUSLY
We don’t treat our work like a side hustle. Maybe compared to our family, spiritual or physical health our art takes one for the team…but we’ve already spent enough time and effort on this to just not do it. We took our art seriously before anyone around us did. We could haul off and become accountants and our friends and family would be fine with that. They believe in us and support us because we show through daily action that it is important to us. To anyone struggling to get people to support them, don’t cry and complain. You can show people better than you can tell them.
DONT HIDE CRAPPY WORK
Jauntycats don’t hide old work. We bare the cringe to ourselves frequently so that we can see it. Not only do we allow our past failures to make us better, we see what we do right and keep doing those things. We are not children who coddle ourselves or each other, we put our feet to the fire so every piece becomes the new “best thing ever.”
DEVELOP A ROUTINE
The problem with relying on willpower alone is that sometimes you don’t feel like being productive. That, added with the fact that you don’t see results of your work right away, can make the urge to quit unbeatable. We structure our lives in a way that encourages productivity even when we don’t feel like working. We don’t play games on our phones. We don’t watch daytime television at all *ahem Gunsmoke* We set bedtimes for ourselves. We meal prep so we don’t cook every single day (or waste money on fast food). We don’t live together anymore but are in the habit of calling each other to check in. The major part of the reason Jauntycat Graphics exists is so that we support each other.
We don’t wait for inspiration, we approach things in a logical way to make sure that we get something productive done most of the time. If systems break and negatively impact the day, improve the system. i.e. I stopped waking up on time because I hit the snooze button every morning for 2 months straight, causing me to wake up 3 hours late DAILY. I couldn’t get all of my chores done so I was stressed, the dog had to hold it, hubby missed breakfast, I didn’t start working until 1pm! My solution was to put the phone across the room at night so I have to get out of bed to turn off the alarm. Issue resolved.
DO DIFFERENT TASKS
We don’t always work on just one project until it’s finished. It helps to have a couple stacked up and be on different stages in all of them. I may be working on a drawing and glazing something at the same time. Taisa may be working on thumbnails for the next piece in the morning then go into a detailed ink drawing in the afternoon. We set up daily, weekly and monthly task lists so that we know generally how the day is going to go.
AVOID NEGATIVE PEOPLE
This is very important seeing as how this may include people whose relationship you value. We aren’t saying to totally kick these people to the curb but set boundaries for your own sanity. Maybe you just don’t talk about your goals around that person or only spend certain amounts of time with them. If you are around that person and they’re negative, be stubbornly positive…turn everything they say into something not so bad. Just because they have that view doesn’t mean you have to buy into it. If they get mad at you turning everything into a positive stand your ground. They are entitled to their opinion, you’re entitled to yours. If they insist on arguing with you about your goals, tell them assertively something along the lines of (this may be different depending on the relationship or their specific complaint) “I understand that you have that view but I’ve looked into this, this is what I’m choosing to do.” Flat tone, don’t yell or scream, no whining, don’t attempt to appease…no upward inflection in your voice as that suggests that you’re asking. This is your life, you’re not asking…you’re telling. Practice beforehand if you know you’re going into a hostile situation. Once you TELL the naysayer that you will stick to your guns do everything you can to be successful! Just don’t go back and demand they pay your way.
If it’s media that you’re consuming that is negative, turn it off. There are 2 reasons either of us watches the news…to see what the weather is or if there’s a serial killer loose in our area. We curate everything else very tightly. We don’t engage in things to make us feel panicked or to put us in a victim state. We surround ourselves with solution oriented material or at least do what we can to mitigate negativity. We no longer force ourselves to ‘tough things out’ just to prove we are ‘real’ grown ups. Life is too short for that.
We hope that this post could be of encouragement. Like and share if you think someone could use tips on how to remain on this straight and narrow path to be awesome!