One of the biggest annoyances you are bound to come across working as an artist for a living is the vast number of people who think you do "nothing" all day long.
I'm not sure how this came about... People seem to be under the impression that being an artist is easy and that we shouldn't be allowed to complain that we are tired after a long day's work. After all, what did we really do all day anyway? It's not like our job is labour intensive or challenging. Really, we all love to draw therefor it must just be the easiest thing in the world right? Do you see where I am going with this? I will warn you, this will be a bit of a rant post since this is something I have encountered a few times when dealing with people and I think it's high time to set the record straight.
Let's break this down into more manageable chunks. I would like to start off by saying that being an artist professionally is not easy. Whoever said it was, was lying. So now I suppose you would like some proof right? OK, let me walk you through this...
Work starts at 9am and you get there half an hour early to get set up. Depending on which industry you are in (animation/gaming) and where your team is at in it's production schedule, you could be looking at (on average) anywhere from a comfortable 8 to 12 hours per day. You may or may not be paid overtime depending on the policies of the studio you work for and/or the contract you signed. If you are lucky they may provide you with food or reimburse you for your dinner.
Now if you are like me, and you manage a team, you not only need to accomplish your own work, but you need to provide feedback for your team and fulfill other leadership tasks throughout the day.
Depending on how fast you are able to work you may or may not have time to take breaks and in fact you might find your butt glued to your chair (I sure hope you got a good one) for the entirety of your day or until your bladder is ready to burst.
So that's just the technical stuff. Let's talk about what actually goes into making art, good art. There's a magical easy button right? Like on those Staples commercials. Artists just press this button and POOF a perfect finished design appears and no blood, sweat or tears were shed.
It's probably my favourite thing to deal with people who assume that it's just the simplest thing in the world when in reality, it's more along the lines of this:
What the project needs + What you think the project needs + What your supervisor thinks the project needs + How much time you need - How much time you actually have + Stress + Anxiety + A pinch of luck and magic - Sleep lost = Final Product.
Now what do you do if the creative juices aren't flowing that day? Magic easy button right? Wrong. You push through with determination and very loud music because it is your job to be creative. You try it. Try being creative on cue before telling me (or any other artist for that matter) that it's easy.
So what do we artists do when we encounter someone who rolls their eyes when we tell them we've had a long hard day and need to kick back and relax? No seriously, if you have the solution, I would like to know.
Hopefully you are one of the lucky ones, like myself, who are very fortunate to work on a project you love for a company that feels like family, that's when all of the hard work and long hours are totally worth it. As for dealing with those lovely, sometimes very ignorant, people, there really isn't a whole lot you can do. You know how hard you work and that's what matters because at the end of the day you are the one living your dreams.
I hope this gives you a little bit of an insight into this topic and I look forward to seeing you in my next post!
Hi! My name is Courtney and I am currently working as a character designer in the animation industry!
Artwork and Content is © Courtney Pearson 2016