Hey. My name is Jess. Probably never heard of me until now :]

Anyway, I want to talk about why I got back into art, why I got out of art in the first place, and how I feel being into art again. I know, a lot (little voice: HOW ARE WE EVER GOING TO COVER ALL OF THIS SUBJECT MATTER?).

So. We should start with how I got into art in the first place, right?

My mom gave me some papers and crayons and said, “Please child you are so annoying leave me alone.” Just kidding. My mom loves me and she didn’t say that. But that’s basically what she was saying. Because we know how annoying little kids are. (Sorry, little kids.) Anyway, that was my weird way of saying, “My mother encouraged me to draw,” and I ended up really liking it.

I just drew anime characters and other random things for a long time after that. Really loved the anime-esque style, as an Early-Stage Weeb like me would have. At some point in time, I began to answer teachers’ question of “What do you want to be when you grow up?” with “Artist!” It was also around this time that I would have family members explain to me that being artists didn’t make a lot of money.

Now, I stopped drawing because I had this notion that artists didn’t make a lot of money according to the disdain of a lot of older people I shared my dream to. And that was bad.

From there, I sort of just convinced myself what they said was true, because trying to be the “one in the million artist” but FAILING was scarier than anything. I also sort of just believed the idea that maybe being an artist wasn’t the right answer. I also compared myself to other artists who were better than me or produced such a beautiful singular piece of work I have ever laid eyes across…! And that just piled up. Basically, I took the easy way out: It was easier to accept defeat early than try and still lose.

But…

center on my emotional closed face, cue eye opening when suddenly!!!! a sparkle shines in my eyes before a fast zoom-out reveals I’m standing on a beautiful tall rock (technically, a small mountain) in the middle of the jungle, where the ombre afteroon blue-orange sky has an American Eagle soaring across it, cawing its courageous red-white-’n-blue caw, revealing this to be an article advertisement… for Little Caesar.

“Pizza-Pizza”

… why am I now getting back INTO this!?!?!?!?!?!

The answer: I realized I wasn’t the most productive in my down time and spent my time on activities/things I didn’t really care about, so I would frequently just feel so ugh and unproductive. In made me feel unfulfilled. So I realized I needed a hobby, because that’s what people do in down times right - hobbies??

Anyway, it made me think of art and how I always sighed in awe — record track squeaks — just kidding, we don’t fucking do that sappy shit over here, bitch!

Ahem.

What I mean is it made me think of art and I was going to say the beautiful drawings I saw on Instagram all the time made me feel so excited but also sad because I had not drawn in a long time. And… it just clicked.

I need to fucking draw, and I needed to overcome this weird complex that because I had not drawn in a long time, I had not improved in these recent years but other artists who were actively drawing had, and they were probably 10000000000000e19 times better than me. (Which was true!) But this also brought up the issue of why should I care who is better than who if what’s important is I’m partaking in the activity that makes me happy? Isn’t the important thing the happiness, not Who’s The Best Artist? (And is there even an answer to that?)

From there, I just try to draw more. I tell myself, when I am mindless consuming content, “Is this really making me happy? No? Yeah, ain’t think so,” and force myself to do some X activity (like draw for 10 minutes). I force myself because if I don’t change, my life will not change.

It’s always starting to draw that’s hard, because once I draw for even a few minutes, I find myself getting sucked in to the drawing and it’s fun.

My main goal, though, which I started last Winter semester, was to sit and draw for 30 minutes. I wanted to train myself to get into the habit of really spending time to draw, and I felt like 30 minutes was a solid amount of time for myself.

Now, how do I feel about getting back into art? It feels good. I remember how much fun it was to draw big tiddy anime bitches — my bad — I meant wholesome kid cartoons. But in all seriousness, it’s really fulfilling. I am putting time for myself to do this enjoyable activity. Also, as a programmer, it’s nice to be able to turn off that thinky side of the brain and engage in something a big more intuitive and artistic.

I’ve also come to peace with not chasing after my childhood dream of becoming an artist. Because now I’m a programmer.

When I was younger, I would get very defensive when people critiqued my art. I also didn’t like people telling me what to draw. It took away the fun! It’s all worked out that I have found programming to be another passion, and I am able to keep art as a personal hobby. It won’t happen where I begin to slowly fall out of love with a passion of mine (art) because I have to do it for a living. I don’t need to be a famous crazy awesome artist to live a fulfilling life. For me, it’s that I am setting time to create art that is important.

I hope this inspires you to reconnect with your hobbies, even if they may not be the ones that you were encouraged to pursue growing up. If that’s fighting rattle snakes on the highway at night, you do you. :heart_eyes: :heart_eyes: :heart_eyes: If it’s making seal noises and flopping naked on the sand… I’m going to call the police.

But seriously: Make time to do the activities that you love.

Don’t forget them! Don’t be like me!