A Day In the Life 2: Creativity

This is going to be one of those posts that's primarily for other artists and aspiring artists. Being a creative and staying creative are two vastly different things. In this part I kind of mention some of the stuff I address on a daily basis that play to an artist's creativity.

Part 2: Creativity

An artist of my type, (Illustration/Comics/Concept), typically has to wear a few different hats and each hat has an impact on creativity - positive and negative. For myself I find keeping an artistic mantra or an artist statement of a sorts in mind at all times, is critical to staying creative. I find whenever I have deviated from this, I see periods of lapsed creativity.

Some influences on creativity:

Stagnation - In my opinion, the number one killer of creativity. No one likes doing the same thing over and over - especially when it comes to art. We are just not copy machines, and replicating something like a copier is akin to pouring a bucket of water on the creative spark. If you find yourself drawing the same thing over and over, stop. Make a change. I have quit jobs and changed careers because of this. 

Overcommitting - With an almost 3yr old son, I've learned I just can't commit to the number of things I used to be able to (though it's getting better as he gets older). Still, this is one I run into from time to time. I do my very best to say no to projects when I think the work may suffer due to previous commitments, and to know my limitations.

Environment  - This can play a big role. I find stagnation of environment to be kind of stifling and I try to change up my environment when I feel like I'm trying too hard to be creative. I play a sort of ping pong between crowded places (like coffee shops), with bustling people moving around me, and my solitary studio with little to no noise. For some folks the state of the environment is an issue - cluttered vs orderly. I've found this really depends on the artist though, as I've seen some amazing stuff come from the most cluttered, messy places of work.

Deadlines - Deadlines and juggling projects tend to impact the time one can spend on anything, and as an artist, keeping clients apprised of your schedule helps immensely. Some timelines and project types warrant that creativity is sacrificed to a certain degree for speed. In other situations personal schedules, children, travel, and other items can both hurt and aid in creativity, and a lot of this is due to mindset. Staying creative in any situation can be tough.

Stress - How an artist handles stress is kind of unique to each person. I've seen some artists do their very best work under incredible pressure, and others fall apart completely. How each artist handles stress is key in how creative they can be during these times. This can be both mental and physical. I know I push myself physically to meet deadlines

Collaborators - In many (most) projects artists work with others in various capacities. Sometimes they are co-artists with others (authors, colorists, inkers, etc), and other times there are collaborators who oversee their work (editors, publishers, ADs, CDs, etc.) Over the years I've seen good and bad relationships in regard to creativity, and probably the best take away I can offer, is to find and nurture good people to work with - those that want to bring out your best work. In many ways artists must put their trust in the collaborators to steer the work to being as fantastic as it can be, just as collaborators trust artists to take their feedback and bring their A-game.

Muses - These don't necessarily have to be people. They can be pets, other artists (though I caution against this), places, emotions - so many different things. I've had them all at one time or another, and I find they come and go quite often. Ride them while you can, but it's risky for professional artists to depend on these. We can't wait for inspiration, and have to be able to draw on ideas and concepts without a lot of notice. For myself, life experience beats a muse.

Social Media - We all need this in this ultra-connected world, but it can be both a blessing and a curse if an artist doesn't understand how to manage the use of the various networks. I could write a whole book about this section alone and it's impact on creativity, but the short and skinny - a best practice is to limit one's time on these. Some pitfalls: Internet rabbit holes when searching for reference material, getting lost in another artist's work, and it's easy to have one's ego get the better of them with works receiving thousands of likes. I've seen many an artist stagnate at a taste of web-fame. On the blessing side: I've found and discovered many of my favorite and most inspiring items randomly through social media; Perspectives and techniques I'd never thought of that I could apply to my own work. Again though - moderation. It's easy to loose an art day online.

Routines - Some artists have specific routines to help combat creativity breakdown. For others, a routine becomes part of the problem. For me, I have a couple of general rules I go by each day, and in some cases each month to ensure my creativity doesn't falter. Some of mine include:

  • travel (I do this at least once a month)
  • draw something for me every day. (this sometimes gets put aside to draw something for my son)
  • if I ever get the "I've drawn this before" vibe, redo it.
  • take a break and go outside every couple hours. (good for fitness sake as well)
  • make time for family, even if it means staying up late to art later.
  • share what you do to aid creativity with other artists

What sort of challenges do you all have to your creative sides? What are some of the positive influences to your creativity on a day-to-day basis? Nurture those pluses and keep moving forward :)

 

Commissions & Cons 2018

I have a number of cons I am tabling at and am a guest at this year. o view the list in full, head over to my Events page.

First, I have Emerald City Comic Con (ECCC). This con is always one of my favorites of the year and one I aim to never miss. Some tickets are still available as of this post and if you are interested in picking up a pre-con commission from me please send me a note here.

eccc_logo.jpg

Next on my List is a first con for me - Jacksonville, Florida's Collective Con. I've been trying to make it to this con for some time and they've asked me to be a guest this year. I know a lot of folks who live out that way and I can't wait to see what this up and coming convention is like. I am now taking pre-con commissions for this show. I will also be doing at-show sketches as well.

collective.png

Next up: Awesome Con! I've been going to this one since it's inception and it never disappoints. This one just keeps getting better and better every year.I am guest again at the con, this year and I am now taking pre-con commissions for this show. I will also be doing at-show sketches as well. 

AC18-DanielGovar-WEB.png

Last of the conventions I will be at that I am taking pre-con Commissions for is Chicago's C2E2. Another that is always a favorite. 

C2E2-Logo-Horizontal.jpg

Another I will be taking commission requests for, starting in April, is Heroes Con; or as most comic-oriented artists like to refer to as the Creator's Con. This con has been my favorite of every year for almost 10 years and one I have only ever missed once before.

HeroesCon-Logo.jpg

Holiday Commissions!

My commission slots have been closed for some time, but I've opened 10 slots for Holiday originals, if folks want to give the gift of original art. I have made a number readily available via my shop link. If interested in something larger, please contact me directly to set something up. All art requested as a holiday piece, is guaranteed delivery before Dec 15th.

card_front.jpg

I also offer "Commission Cards". These are pre-paid original art pieces that may be given as gifts; the art to be discussed and requested by the bearer of the card. These should be available for sale in the shop on Monday 10/23/2017. 

A Day In the Life 1: Time

Illustration, be it sequential comic art, covers, concept work, etc. is a tough business to make a living at. I just finished my taxes and came up with some interesting numbers for the year. I'm a self-employed guy with a young son, lady, pets, and a home we own. Making ends meet is not necessarily a struggle for us, as it's an exercise in time management and juggling. My incredibly kind colleagues and art pals comment at my speed and the truth is, I cringe at how slow I think I am at times. I tend to work insanely late hours lately, though this fluctuates when needs must. I also juggle multiple projects and commissions in a delicate balance. Three Days a week I don't work; I'm a stay-at-home dad to my 2 yr old son. All of this (and taxes) got me to thinking it may be interesting to break down what it is to be an artist of my type in a few parts. Note that these are meant to just be a glimpse into things people don't really thin about when they think of art - The making of the sausage, so-to-speak. And I am super happy with my life. Sure there are times of struggle, but that's all part of life. 

Part 1: Time

Time is a friend to no one. There's Just never enough. Below is an average breakdown of my usual workday. On the good days I grab something legitimate for lunch, or have dinner with the lady and son without bringing something to work on or plan out to the table. Multi-tasking, I hear, is a bad thing, but on my best days I tend to juggle and manage 4 or 5 pieces at a time. The typical work day is below - note that I didn't get to eat lunch. I've learned to make it a point to have breakfast at the very least and snack when you can through the day as healthy as possible. 

 Note: Time such as writing blog's like this, scanning, packaging and mailing artwork to commissioners, purchasing supplies, registering/applying for conventions, etc is not listed at all but are all tasks I tend to manage semi-daily.

Note: Time such as writing blog's like this, scanning, packaging and mailing artwork to commissioners, purchasing supplies, registering/applying for conventions, etc is not listed at all but are all tasks I tend to manage semi-daily.

Conventions are even worse when it comes to time. During the large conventions I tend to wake up around 6 or 7am, and begin to work on commissions on my list for that day. Generally I need to be at the convention around 10am, though I usually need about 30 minutes to setup and get water for watercolors, as well as stock up on drinks and snack foods. I will likely not eat until 8 or 9 PM, so I do my best to get a big breakfast each day of the con. It really is the most important meal of the day. Throughout the convention day, I will be talking to table visitors, signing autographs on work I've done that they've brought with them, or signing and selling prints and sketchbooks as well as originals. On top of that I am setting up convention sketches and any tie I am not talking to someone, (and even when I am), I am drawing and painting sketches folks have already set up with me. In the evenings at conventions, after dinner, there is really important shmooze time that is required. It's part of every industry, but there is a necessary 2 or so hours of drinks and talking to editors, writers, and fellow artists. It's where everything from industry news to potential projects are discussed. After this, I tend to head back to work on easier convention sketches (the trickier ones are best done sans alcohol). I usually crash around 3 most con nights and begin it all over again the next day for 3 days straight.

On my non-work days I tend to work from the hours of 10pm-3am as I usually have one or two projects to catch up on or a commission I need to finish up.