A to Z: Dogs and Creative Burnout

“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

A Review of Moo(.com)

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

I‘d never had professionally printed business cards until the beginning of this year.

My usual process was to make the designs, print the cards at home (or Office Depot), then cut them myself. To add some pizazz, I would take a red sharpie and draw along the sides of the cards. While this worked, it wasn’t what I was looking for when it came to quality.

Enter, Moo.

I had been recommended this company once before, and when it came time for me to send out postcard batches, I knew I needed professional (affordable) printing. They were having a sale, so I took full advantage of the offer by ordering 25 postcards and 50 Luxe business cards.

What really drew me to Moo besides the sale price, was the ability to upload multiple designs for both the fronts of both business cards and postcards, as well as the Luxe option, which gives you a coloured edge lining. My only disappointment is that you are limited to one design on the backs of the postcards, but I’m really digging deep to find a complaint on Moo.

When they arrived, the packaging was classier than I expected. The business cards came in card holders that were closed with a ribbon stamped with a seal. The contents were not disappointing - the postcards and business cards felt sturdy, looked great, and the coloured trim on the business cards (that weren’t coloured in sharpie) made me giddy with excitement.

(*note - the actual products differ slightly in the photos, they look much better in real life)

Seeing a business card with your name on it never gets old, and with these cards, I feel like my first impressions with potential clients will be a little better than my homemade ones.

If you want to try using Moo for your printing needs, you can click this referral link to get 25% off your first purchase.

Moo Rating

★★★★☆ Ease of Use

★★★★★ Packaging

★★★★★ Product

★★★★★ Customer Service

Use the Templates

When I made my first batch of 50 Luxe business cards, I didn’t use a template because I didn’t know Moo had them, and it caused a printing issue that left me with 7 usable cards out of 50. Using a template makes things so much easier and quicker to do.

I contacted Moo’s customer service and they were so frustration-free to work with. My customer service representative was quick at replying, very friendly, and helped me so much throughout the process. In the end, they reprinted and shipped to me 50 new Luxe business cards for free. Talk about customer service!

Find the template that you need here:

Pro Tip: Use the templates that Moo provides to design your cards.

Artistic Growth

“Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.” - Napoleon Hill

Artistic growth is a strange concept to me.

It’s like my hands and mind are communicating more effectively as a team to produce artwork that is better quality and more enjoyable for me to make. Whereas before, there was some form of dispute between the two, which led to art that wasn’t as pleasing to me.

To cultivate this growth, I started with drawing every day and taking self-taught art courses every week. This led to me being confident in my work and creating my own projects.

Some of these projects were just to test myself and to have fun artistically, like my first Instagram series Monokaleidoscopic. This series allowed me to explore outfits and environments, something I felt I haven’t been doing enough of. I was also able to explore the narrative of a young woman meeting and befriending a cat, watching their relationship grow in each illustration.

Of course, with growth comes struggle. It’s not that the more I grow, the more I struggle, but rather, the more I grow, the more new experiences I get to learn from. I look forward to the new experiences I’ll have the rest of this year, and I hope you do too.

As always, take care of yourselves, and thanks for reading,