Only recently I could actually tell myself that I've been getting better with my craft, when I forced myself from the rut I was stuck in and make art a habit of mine again. I remember when I was much younger, probably when I was fourteen, that I had so much passion, I created everyday.
Adult-ing happened. Shit happened, and honestly there came several times I wanted to just give up on everything. My career, even now, is still dwindling on a tightrope. I do admit that I'm very hard on myself, and I push myself a lot, too. Hence, it was very likely for me to burn out.
It did, luckily, take a toll on me. I started 'wanting' to feel better about myself again. I did find out that I measured myself with productivity and improvement in terms of my favored craft -- though, picking up the tools to create again felt unusual at first. I no longer had the confidence -- but the very first step, I think it's when we take the risk and the strength to feel better.
Making the craft a part of your life.
During the twilight of my darker days, I made sure I went out everyday, bringing sketchbook and tools with me. As an introvert, I do find more comfort in the confines of my own room; but during those days, nothing was happening and it was just so easy to be so negative about things.
So I went out everyday, going to different places where I can just sit down and concentrate on my journal. I did that until I could finally feel motivated inside my own room, and continued to do so everyday. When I do feel lazy, I force myself listening to songs that instantly make me feel inspired. That, or I watch a visually pleasing film or show.
If all else fails, I go back to the phrase, もののあはれ. 'Mono no aware' is a Japanese term which means the 'sadness or empathy of things'. Sadness knows how to provoke the creative mind the most. I think, the most challenging part for the creative person is to understand or empathize with feelings and see the beauty, while being detached to them. It is sadness as well, that destroys most of us creatives. Now though, I think I'm better at handling sad things.
Of course, rekindling with my craft only meant I had to catch up with what I've already learned. I had to re-learn it again before I could take a step further for the betterment. Cliche but true, practicing really is the only way to become better. I made sure that I at least spent two hours doing my art everyday.
I know a lot of people praising me for my works whenever I share them online. While I do enjoy flattery, I always keep in mind that somehow, my piece could still have gotten better. My father, who's also a visual artist, taught me to never be satisfied with your work until you think you've achieved perfection. While it is impossible to achieve it, it is how an artist should work.
It is also good to keep trying new things. One thing I've learned too is that sticking to a certain medium for too long can easily burn the artist out. While we all know there really is that one medium we're really attached to, doing the same thing all over again can bore the artist out. It's one of the major factors when an artist ceases to pick up a pencil or brush. So, I say, keep trying new things, new techniques, new styles, and new medium. I
So for now, this has been my cycle for maintaining and improving my skills. I hope it could bring some help to those who are experience the same phase.