Creative Rut

Throughout my teens, I wanted to be a comic book artist. I built my skills from crappy Spider-Man drawings, to goofy manga sketches, to detailed pieces of art.

In college, I couldn’t figure out what I wanted in life. Illustration was impractical and was suggested it wasn’t a real path. I was encouraged to focus on the things that make money: coding, computer sciences, and technology. I didn’t care much for it.

After college, I worked a myriad of office jobs while doing some writing and sketching on the side. But I felt like I was hitting a dead end in all aspects. I simply couldn’t afford to be an artist and I was nowhere skilled or motivated enough to sell my own art.

I chose the Navy out of despiration, feeling that structure and discipline would help ease me out of that rut in my life.

During those six years, I struggled immensily and fell into a deep depression. I began writing, but that was discouraged by superiors. I enjoyed fixing stuff, but I didn’t quite mesh with the rest of the crowd. Drawing was difficult on a boat, and I was never afforded the luxury of privacy throughout my three deployments.

Each attempt I get back into art, I make excuses why I shouldn’t: too much of a time commitment, too expensive (art supplies and computer hardware), and a lack of direction in what subject I should draw.

The last six months I’ve been working at my new job which I enjoy a lot. I get to fix things and make creative solutions to complex problems by looking at things in a different angle. Yet at the end of the day I go home, bored…feeling like I should do something more than play video games.

Yet sometimes I feel like I almost if I enjoy more the “idea” of what a perfect game would be. I imagine fascinating characters, interesting settings, and stunning backdrops. I look at Assassin’s Creed or Disney Infinity…not because I truley believe the gameplay will win me over (it usually doesn’t), but because I’m simply fascinated by the character designs. I think “Wow, it would be cool to illustrate a cool action pic of Evie Frie from Assassin’s Creed!” or “I love seeing Marvel/Star Wars characters drawn the Disney style, I would love to emulate that”. It could be the shittiest game in the world, but if the characters and setting looks awesome, I’ll probably play it.

Lately at work, we’ve been streaming Bob Ross on Twitch along with some other talented artists. Watching some of these artists reminds me not only of what I once was, but what I still can be: an artist. Money and hardware isn’t a problem anymore…it’s myself. It’s the fear that I’m simply fooling myself on a dream that isn’t feasible at my age…that I’ll never make something that people would like…that it’s just a stupid hobby.

And that’s what scares me the most.

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