With the dissemination of digital art tools among today's youth, breaking into the commercial art industry has become that much harder. Look at it this way, there's only so many artists Marvel or DC will hire as inkers, or colorists. There's only so many publishers willing to higher new talent to create book covers, or posters, or what have you.

It's a desperate race as young artists struggle to match the speed and artistic skill of professional artists. They're putting just about everything on the line for the sake of art. So what is the first thing that tossed away in this lifelong pursuit to be the next Ryan Church?

Is having a glamorous social life all it's cracked up to be? I was inspired to write this post after reading an innocent little thread on the well of artistic ideas, ConceptArt.org. The topic began when a young member named Mescher, gave her thoughts on the issue of "Art vs. Social Life":

"Lately I've been finding myself having to choose between art and a social life a lot more. I'd just
rather be drawing. I either feel like I'm neglecting my friends for art, or neglecting my art for my friends.

I'm hope this will get better when I start at CCAD (
Columbus College of Art & Design -ed) and meet some people who actually like art. But am I just supposed to kiss my current friends goodbye until then?

I mean I like them and all...I just can't take another round of guitar hero. They all have the "it's summer and we should be hanging out and doing nothing EVERY DAY till school starts" mentality. Am I being selfish? Anybody else have this problem? Please tell me it gets better!

Pleeeeease...I can only watch Donnie Darko so many times!"

My thoughts:
Honestly now. This is really a painful subject to discuss. Rather than elaborating my thoughts on this matter, lets hear what other people have to say about this! Perhaps their opinions will mirror my own:

Tugelbend has this to say:

"I'm in the same situation actually. Right now I'm "losing" my friends because
we don't share the same interests anymore. I rather work my butt off than just "hanging around" though it's not like I don't see them anymore. I still go out for a beer about once or twice a week with them but I find less and less to talk about. My head is filled with art unlike theirs and I see where this is leading to.

But whatever,
art has top priority. You know, they can waste their time as much as they want.. but without me. I just hope that I will meet other people like me in the future and until then I'll run around friendless. sounds pretty emo lol"

My thoughts:
Hmm... I won't say I'm losing my friends because I love art. In fact, I'm pretty sure my friends don't even know I do all this weird art stuff during my free time. I know it sucks now to have someone to really relate to when it comes to this stuff (except for my brother maybe). There is a definite feeling of
alienation when it comes to talking about my hobbies and stuff.

I talked about this before, but join a sketch group! If you can't find one in real life, go online! That way you won't feel like such a loner when you hone your artistic skills

A member named Wheezy offers his own thoughts on the matter, something I think is quite nice actually:

"Take your sketchbook with you for some life studies, maybe get some ideas on something bigger to do later. Draw them playing guitar hero. If they are really your friends, then they already know you are into art etc. and will be cool with you doing that. Don't shut part of your life out because of art, let them help enrich your art even more by expanding your perceptions of what is around you."

My thoughts:
I probably shouldn't mention the time I desperately felt the need to paint or draw something while I was
chilling on a white sand beach. Yeah, good times.

But here's something interesting, a member and artist of some skill named Naomi offers her own unique 'guidelines' on this subject. I made it sorta bullet point-y since it seemed to fit that way:

"I've said goodbye to a lot of "friends" over the years. Especially people who don't teach you anything, who keep complimenting your art but never actually buy any.

  • Get rid of these people fast. Do not hang out with them do not do free commission work for them.
  • Get rid of non-artist friends who put you down.
  • Now if your friend is an artist you have an advantage by working together and improving your art. there is no reason to neglect your chit-chat and shoulder to lean on duties there.
  • Also get rid of boyfriends or girlfriends who don't support your art dreams, or people who think you're worthless because you do art.
  • This includes family. No matter what they say, your family can always be cut off. If they are bringing you down get rid of them.
Another thing I must say, is if you find yourself spending more time with your friends than with your art, maybe you should think about ditching them as well."

My thoughts:
The deeper I get into this topic, the um... stronger these young artists opinions get! Ah, but from where I live, I can sort of see where her frustration is going. Everyone always asks... how do you hope to make a living as an "artist"? Is it possible to quit your day job just because you started selling commissions to aficionados at deviantART? Hmm. I guess you have to really ask yourself what level is your passion for this sort of thing. Can you survive living alone, honing your art skills in a tiny flat, eating non-fat crackers and drinking water? Ah, who knows? But if you found Naomi's views to be interesting, why not check her portfolio out? Check out her sketchbook too!

Moving on... If you are one of the lucky few who actually got into an art college, than lucky you! This is probably the one of the few places on Earth where you'll find people your age who share the same interest and viewpoint in life. A member named Space Sprayer offers his experience on the matter:

"I had to make this sacrifice. Unfortunately it doesn't ever stop, although it does get easier. I lost touch with all my mates during college, but then they were a group who had very different goals in life anyway.

Now that i'm at uni studying for my Bachelor of Arts, surrounded by people who have the same interests and aims. As a social event instead of going out and getting pissed like my old mates did, we might go sit in the park on a nice day and draw the people that pass by, or the scenery around us etc. I still have to forgo the occasional social event because of work, but my mates here understand that."

My thoughts:
Sacrifice - for the sake of art. Ah, what a compelling notion...

On the subject of finding like minded people, why not try to find out if your area has any kind of artist's convention or something like that? Back in 2007, I traveled all the way to lovely Singapore to attend the CG Overdrive event - and that literally changed my mindset on art. I talked to folks like Michel Gagne (a great FX animator) and the boys of Imaginary Friends Studios. A very memorable experience.

I would have loved to attend future CG Overdrive events, but I didn't like how it focusing squarely on 3D art. All that Zbrush talk, rigging, character modeling doesn't interest all that much. I know that having basic knowledge in 3D modeling can have such a massive impact on one's portfolio, but hey, I already have trouble drawing a person - what makes you think I'll have an easier time makin' one in the third dimension??

Sorry, got a little carried away there. But out of all this, what has
Mescher have to say about Art versus a Social Life?

"Now that I think about it, I don't really like my friends as much as I used to. That's probably part of the problem.

My boyfriend doesn't mind letting me draw him all day, and he's the only person I really care about. He actually said he'd go to the zoo with me so I could do animal studies. I think he has nooooo idea what he signed up for!

I guess I'll just have to get used to keeping a balance (and figuring out what I actually want.) I can't have my cake and eat it too, right?"

My thoughts:
That's the spirit! Why should you let one aspect of your life run you like that? Try to find a healthy balance so you won't feel like a total shut-in. If your love for art can't be helped, then at the very least try to accommodate your real life friends from time to time. You could be a happier person knowing you have a life beyond your self-absorbed world of art. Just throwing my thoughts here... :)

Ah, but this member... Jushra, offers a very unique point of view:

"There's a book I had read entitled The Virtue of Selfishness. The title is a bit of a put-off it seems to most, but inside there was a wealth of knowledge to gain.

Nobody can tell you how to live your life except for you and nobody will bear responsibility for any of your actions but you.

Don't try to control your peers and don't let them control you. You have to keep what you value close. Choosing your values is another story though. Don't sacrifice yourself to others, nor sacrifice others to you. You have to sometimes trade-off for balance, but make sure it is done for the right reasons."

My thoughts:
I have to admit, that statement is quite empowering. Well, it really depends on the person I guess. What do you value more in life? Are you willing to sacrifice one for the other? The thread goes on explaining a little more about that. People start offering their own wacky point of views and anecdotes. You can see the full thread here.

The person who started this thread would later make it clear that she isn't saying that you should get rid of your friends just because they aren't artistically inclined. For her, the problem arises when your friends start becoming needy of your time, and simply take the time to understand what you are doing and why. Ah... well. I get that. Hmm... What do you think??


  1. adorna Says:
  2. well, another way to look at it is that you need to live in order to create anything, painting, book or whatever.
    So I'm all for drawing friends at playing guitar hero and taking a day off to do something you feel you need to do, but turning into some sort of eremit is a pretty good way to shun yourself from inspiration and new ideas and all that. And - though having artist friends is great, I think having non artist friends is pretty healthy, too. Sometimes, you just need people around you that won't talk about art and don't have a fragile ego and want you to give them feedback and encouragement and instead just like you and want to spend time with you.

  3. ChrisK Says:
  4. I'm just nodding along with what you said, ulrike. What you said is right on the money.

  5. Anonymous Says:
  6. You know, this post kinda struck me.
    I love art with all of my heart and always have. Everyone who knows me knows I love to draw but nearly everyone who knows me tells me to do something else or to get a real job. My parents never allowed me take art classes when I was younger and to this day don't even pay attention to the art I make. More and more I've become a hermit, rarely leaving my house unless my editor drags me out for coffee. I have no friends besides my editor, I have nearly no family.

    I guess it's kinda sad in a way but it's not like I'm not looking for friends to do art with or against them but it's that other dedicated artists that would be willing to work with you are so few and far between.

    If you really love something you'll sacrifice everything you've got for it. You can't say you actually love something if you don't. At least, that's what I feel.

  7. ChrisK Says:
  8. Sorry it took me a while to get back to you.

    I do get what you're saying, and I sympathize. Sometimes, some folks just don't have that great desire to be surrounded by people, in bars, and all that. And hey, art is your passion, so by all means, go for it.

    But the fact is you admit you feel a little lonely. It's the 21st century! Try reaching out to people through the net. Find folks with similar interests on art sites or social network sites. Go to real life galleries and conventions and strike up conversations. That kind of stuff. You'll feel a lot more fulfilled, and having new experiences can have a profound effect on your art.

Blogumulus by Roy Tanck and Amanda FazaniInstalled by CahayaBiru.com


About Me

On and off blogger.
View my complete profile