8 Tips for artists struggling with motivation

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PixelMasher insane polycounter


'Sup all you art gangstas?! 
So I finally got around to tapping out another long ass article for anyone who fancy's a read. It's my response to the hundreds of motivation threads that get posted here and in other facebook groups, a kind of evergreen pillar article I hope I can just blast off like a BFG round next time one pops up ;) as always its a bit of a long read, but I hope it addresses some heavy hitting points a lot of people tend to struggle with. 

https://www.polygon-academy.com/tips-for-artists-struggling-with-motivation/

But seriously, it's a problem almost all of us encounter with from time to time, and if you wanna get super meta I was half writing this article as a message to myself after being a bit of a lazy slug-rat for the past few months. It's pretty much the key ingredients and process I used to get back in the swing of things and start producing content again, so boom, I kinda "Inceptioned" myself hopefully. 

I posted it here in general discussion because I find it is such a wide ranging issue rather than just a career related one, but mods can feel free to move it to career and education if they think its best suited there.

finally, I just wanted to say a huge thanks to everyone who has been giving feedback, posting links to the other articles to help others out and all that fun stuff. I got a bunch of heartwarming PM's from people saying they helped them out with some sticking points or got them fired up, which is super awesome. 

As always, thoughts, comments, crits all welcome below. If you think there is another heavy hitter point that needs to be added fire away!

I remember a couple years back Dustin Brown posted a dope article about motivation as well, I couldn't find it to add a link to it unfortunately :(

-Tim

Replies

  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor polycount lvl 666
    Seeing a new PixelMasher article is like getting a package in the mail. "Oooh goodie what's inside?" Thanks!
  • CrackRockSteady
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    CrackRockSteady Polycount Sponsor
    Another great article Tim.  I think you did a nice job of distilling the best pieces of advice that usually get posted to these common motivation threads, this will be a great link to point to when these questions inevitably pop up.
  • Taylor Brown
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    Taylor Brown polycounter
    Always happy to see another one of these. I swear I link them atleast once every couple weeks to other students in my program. Thank you for sharing!
  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR greentooth
    Great read! Was happy that you wrote that bit about playing games vs making games. 
    I feel that is quite an issue facing many people that try to pursue a career in the games industry.
  • Ashervisalis
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    Ashervisalis hero character
    I totally agree that joining challenges or competitions with a strict deadline drive my productivity. You can't procrastinate on those. Thanks for the post!
  • carvuliero
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    carvuliero sublime tool
    Yeah motivation is bullshit , its come and go and its too unreliable you need something bigger then just motivation you need a dream , a dream so big that can drive you thought any obstacle along the way
    Anyway motivation can be useful to boost yourself from time to time when you feel low , so I am attaching my short list of motivational videos[.pdf] if you haven't seen them all by now I highly recommend you do at least one

  • Raztt
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    Raztt polycounter lvl 7
    If there's not a Shia Labeouf gif I'm going to be dissapointed.
  • RyanB
  • Enhirement
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    Enhirement polycounter lvl 2
    Really nice read! Thanks for sharing. :smile:
  • William3DArtist
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    William3DArtist polycounter lvl 8
    "It's always nice to listen to motivation too not listen to motivation."
  • franman
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    franman polycounter lvl 10
    I posted a thread not too long again on my struggle for retaining focus.

    I've bookmarked the link and be sure to give it a read.
  • Torch
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    Torch greentooth
    I completely agree with getting involved in community - it's way too easy to feel alone on your art journey and as you rightly said, get into the mindset of "well this artist is clearly just way more talented than I am." Seeing other people's struggles/successes can give you a boost and help you realise it's a long process to improvement and getting that first job. Also, hard work > talent.

    Great advice, I'm sure this will help a lot of peeps :)
  • atomicpang
    Totally agree with all the points you made, very well written and thought out. 
    If people only rely on motivation to drive them to success/finish something then they'll never finish anything. As you mentioned, a lot of it goes into self discipline. Forming good habits, and most importantly simply enjoying the process of modeling.
    There's nothing more i enjoy than modeling. Sure sometimes it can be tedious work, but that's almost part of the fun in a weird way. It's hard to explain but modeling for me is just something i snap my mind into. Zone into it, listen to music and enjoy the process. 

    Your advice will be very helpful to those new to modeling for sure!
  • zaha
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    zaha triangle
    Torch said:
    I completely agree with getting involved in community - it's way too easy to feel alone on your art journey and as you rightly said, get into the mindset of "well this artist is clearly just way more talented than I am." Seeing other people's struggles/successes can give you a boost and help you realise it's a long process to improvement and getting that first job. Also, hard work > talent.

    Great advice, I'm sure this will help a lot of peeps :)
    Indeed, me too. That's the reason I registered here today.

    Really great article and hit quite a few bad habits I often fall for. :neutral: But it also really motivated me to work on that, so here we go! :D
  • Biomag
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    Biomag polycounter
    Something that actually helped me with grasping the situation you have as a game artist is the comparission to professional sports. Its much closer to reality than comparing it to regular jobs, since recruiters actually see your work before they even meet you. Getting hired in AAA is similar to getting drafted. Out of the 6 guys that joined the new Ubisoft Bourdeaux character art team this year I think 3 where Ubisoft employees from other studios, 2 were new to AAA-procutions and I knew their work from classes I took and only 1 of them was a guy that was neither working at Ubisoft nor known to me. What I am saying is that the chances are you know the next 'AAA-draft class' - their work is out there, they are putting in the hours and getting noticied for their finished game art about ~1 year before they make it.

    Like with sports, you need to practice pretty much daily. Sometimes a break might be necessary to give the muscles a rest, but at the end of the day its only a small group that makes the cut and that group is most likely not unknown (at least their work isn't). Don't get me wrong, I am not one of those saying 'Do just art!!, I think there needs to be as much of a balance as possible for a healthy life, but if you want to get into AAA-productions, like with pro-sports you only get there with sacrifice. No shortcuts. So better get real about if that is the life you want.

  • Eric Chadwick
    The link you might have been looking for?
    https://www.dustinbrown.com/blog
  • Ibrahim_Lancoln
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    Ibrahim_Lancoln polycounter lvl 3
    Thank you for these advice Tim, I just discovered your blog and it seems gold :)

    I like your quote:
    "An amateur waits for inspiration to strike, a professional just gets to work"
    It made me think of this quote:
    "The Strong finds a way, the Weak finds excuses."

    I really agree with the deleting old work, these are thoughts that have weight on your mind even though you don't realize it, be light.

    Here is something I learned from my experience if this can help some artists:

    The worst thing I used to do is to plan tooooo much. Having a strict schedule even if I am the one who made it, doesn't work for me. Why ?
    Because I found out that I run on "What my soul tells me to do". This is not about feeling but more about "Is this action will reflect what I am to be a whole or not ?" 
    AND once I know the way, I start to plan accordingly. 

    To stay motivated I have one major thought:
    "It has to be personal." 
    Heart first, plan next, results will come eventually. 
    But planning without heart will create a burn out.
  • AndrewAlexArt
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    AndrewAlexArt polycounter lvl 4
    For me to stay motivated helps own ambitious projects (half-year or little less long) which I dreamed to create. Because during this time I plan to study a lot of new skills for my future job. it's very interesting and in the end, you could get a more valuable position in the company ;)
  • sacboi
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    sacboi polycounter
    Another insightful article! that pretty much catalogues at moments spent on my personal artistic journey 'conjuring' self imposed litany of obstacles I've run into both professionally and as a tinkering hobbyist, which upon reflection for me is actually a much needed morale boost in finishing that everlasting sig linked HS project of mine, so now I do think it's high time to kick procrastination in the ass :)       
  • Dreyzie
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    Dreyzie polycounter lvl 2
    I've been in a rut for the past month, and this article was a great dose of reality. Thank you so much for this.
  • Ryusaki
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    Ryusaki polycounter lvl 3
    I dislike unwrapping very much (especially hard surface stuff). It drains my energy while boring me. Waking up with the thought of having to do 8h of unwrapping would be very fatal for my motivation.
    My solution: never let that happen and break down the process so that the amount of unwrapping to do never piles up too much.
    I do it early and in-between the modeling. Which also has some nice benefits.
    So splitting the problem into smaller chunks which are evenly distributed over time has changed my productivity for the better.

  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor polycount lvl 666
    Ryusaki said:
    So splitting the problem into smaller chunks which are evenly distributed over time has changed my productivity for the better.

    Yep. 

    I found after a few annoyingly long unwraps that a bit of forward thinking can save a lot of trouble. So if you can identify which elements of your model may be mirrored of duplicated early on, go ahead and unwrap them at the beginning. The principle here is : if something sucks a lot and you hate it, find a work-around. 3d doesn't need to be torture.
  • cookiefrenzy
    Its a good read definitely 
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