“It's important that you don't lie to yourself. If you lie to yourself, you end up with burnout.” - Patrick Pichette
In my quest to commit myself to more personal art projects this year, I burned myself out.
I have been listening to videos from various professionals, who were talking a lot about the importance of personal art projects and also warning about “creating art just to post on social media”. I started my A to Z: Dogs series as a fun personal project that I’ve wanted to do for a few years now. I was excited, motivated, and really enjoying the process of creating each dog.
As I was nearing the end of the series, I realized that drawing each dog felt like a chore, my heart just wasn’t in it anymore. I was making the series to post on social media now, instead of for my own personal enjoyment as it was originally intended. The trouble began when I started to feel this way about my art in general - so I forced myself to take a break.
Creative burnout is a scary thing. For me personally, it’s hard to differentiate between creative burnout and depression. I feel numb to my art, but frustrated with myself because I know I should be creating something.
Every time I’ve experienced burnout I’ve thought about my career choices, thinking I should be doing something else. But every time, when I ask myself what I’d rather do, I say “nothing”. Art is my passion, I love creating for myself, I love creating for others, I love my job. This reminder is what keeps me going; I take a break for a bit, and come back when I’m ready and inspired.
This list contains what I usually do when I need to take a creative break to recharge or think I’m on the edge of creative burnout:
Make a list of my problems and possible ways to solve them
Make a list of my short term and long term goals and steps to take to achieve them
Talk to someone about my thoughts and issues, and be open to their feedback
Play video games, Watch animated movies/tv shows, Read books
Bake or Cook
Clean and Organize
Watch speed paints and videos from artists who inspire me
Look at my inspiration boards on Pinterest and Instagram
Doodle for the sake of doodling
The truth is, many artists - professional or not - go through some form of burnout. We’re only human; be kind to yourself and know that “the wise rest at least as hard as they work” -Mokokoma Mokhonoana.