Why Giving Up Won’t Solve Your Problems

Old-Man-in-Sorrow-Van-GoghSure, there are good reasons for quitting.

My friend Akiko Crawford (She’s an environment painter at Disney) said that when we’re just starting out as painters, we often learn more from starts than we do from finishes.

So if you’re half-way through a crappy painting and you’ve learned everything you’re going to learn from it, quitting might be a healthy choice.  …as long as you move onto the next painting with the knowledge you gained from the last.

Stories are the same way. If your script/ manuscript is a train wreck, it might be better to simply start over.

But many artists just abandon their work in a swirl of frustration and self-doubt. Then they spiral into depression for a few weeks until guilt motivates them to try again.

This, my friends, is an unhealthy cycle.

Works of art abandoned for frustration, self-doubt and depression are needless casualties of a needless war.

So if you want to break this unhealthy cycle and finish more art, read on…

Art IS Problems:

Let me say that again: ART IS PROBLEMS.

The process of art-making is basically just a sequence of problems with corresponding solutions that begins with an idea or an inspiration and ends with a finished piece of art.

Tricky camera angles. Boring page layouts. Boring scenes. Stories missing endings (or beginnings or middles). Drawing the human hand.  Drawing the human nose.  Drawing the human anything…

THESE problems are inherent to the creative process.

THESE problems are inevitable.

THESE problems are ordinary.

These problems are not obstacles on the path. These problems ARE the path.

How many great works of art have been abandoned because the artist blamed himself for an ordinary problem?

The Rocky Gap:

If a climber attempts to climb a mountain, he will probably encounter more than one perilous, rocky gap.

The climber doesn’t stop and blame himself for the rocky gap, does he?

“This rocky gap is all my fault.”

Of course not.

When the climber encounters a rocky gap, he doesn’t suddenly consider himself incompetent or unworthy of the journey. Quite the opposite, in fact.

The rocky gap is a landmark of progress.

The rocky gap was there for every climber who went before him and it will remain there for every climber who goes after.

The rocky gap alone is not a good reason to stop climbing.

Giving Up Won’t Solve Your Problems:

Once, sometimes twice or three times a week I get an email from an artist who is about to give up entirely.

These artists blame themselves for the ancient, rocky gaps.

Instead of giving up, you should probably find your way across or around the rocky gap…

If you decide to turn back, don’t do so out of frustration, self-doubt or depression. …and certainly don’t turn back just because you’re bored. Only turn back if there’s a significantly better, creative path up the mountain.

Art problems are external. Don’t internalize them. Don’t blame yourself for their existence.

The rocky gap is not your fault.

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{ 68 comments… read them below or add one }

Cassandra Lee

Its great when you can rather turn these problems into challenges. I’m starting to thrive on proving people and obstacles wrong when it comes to my art.

Through out the past three years of a visual arts degree through distance education, I was often stuck at home alone having to teach myself the software and how to pull together videos and animations when I’d never done it before and some how the assignment always managed to come together, so I guess that taught me I can rely on myself more than what I initially thought :)

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Chris Oatley

That’s a good point, Cassandra. At CTN-X, I was talking with my buddy Seth Rutledge about how we both learn software programs super-fast when we’re learning them for a project with a deadline.

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Travis Bond

Yeah, I also think I’ve found that when I am having the most trouble, when I most feel like giving up I will have a nice break shortly after. It’s as if you’re aware of what you want to achieve at your weakest moment, and you just can’t do it. You’re growing, though, because you want to be better. You have higher standards than what you can accomplish. That’s always what keeps me going. I pretty much know at this point that if I am feeling defeated, I just have to press forward and something much better than I thought I could do comes about. So rewarding, and fun!

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Chris Oatley

A few weeks ago I was working on a new painting. Something just wasn’t right. I got feedback from several friends. I adjusted the image based on their notes and the painting definitely improved.

Ultimately, I abandoned the painting. …and I’m really happy with the new one I started immediately after abandoning the previous painting.

My point is, I didn’t abandon the previous painting out of self-doubt or frustration or depression. Although it was difficult to quit. But I abandoned it because I knew I could do better.

…and that’s the thing to keep in mind – exactly what you’re saying. Higher standards make us better artists, but there is a cost involved. It isn’t easy to throw stuff away, but when you throw something away in favor of a work that is clearly better, that’s not defeat.

It’s a victory.

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Olubunmi john

Really…this is very inspiring,as an animator(though i have not experimented a lot,i just got a new pc) i usually feel depressed when i see my friend put their work out there,and all i can do is beg someone for his/her PC to quickly do something and put online…i got to a stage that i felt abandoned in the creative,i usually think i can never get anywhere in animation,then when i was reading some animation post from glen keane,i was enlightened,i told myself that as long as there is paper and pencil,so have been drawing more ever since then,and have done some flip animations,and have always prepare myself,now that i’ve gotten my pc,i know where to continue,i know the software i need,i know what to do!….*im a begginner in animation and im trying to make my drawings dynamic
please sir do you think its good to get a good grip of 2d classical animation before moving to 3d??(because thats my plan)thanks mr.oatley

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Chris Oatley

I don’t think that’s the only way to become an animator, but I do think it’s a good way.

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Olubunmi john

Thanks,mr.oatley…really appreciate your reply!…

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David Tenorio

This has been one of my favorite posts by you. The idea of “solving problems” is especially true for those of us who start paintings/drawings in an abstract way. I’m reminded of your lasso-tool sketch from “The Magic Box”; the fact that you would jump right in before deciding what it is you’re painting (normally the proverbial “cart–in–front–of–the–horse” issue) allowed you to have something on the canvas to solve, a whole jumbled mess of problems that you quickly investigated and figured out.

While I would never want to encourage wasteful art making, I think this lesson is especially important for beginners who are really timid to start. If you only put a few lines on a piece of paper, they become SO IMPORTANT; put a hundred lines on there and problem–solve them. Awesome post!

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Chris Oatley

That’s cool, David.

Yeah, I think the key is just realizing that there are lots of different reasons to make an image. Sometimes it’s an experiment, sometimes it’s just for fun, sometimes it’s for a client, sometimes it’s for a personal project. We get emotionally confused when we get the purpose of the work confused with other kinds of work.

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Herbert Broussard

You have no idea how much I needed this right now.
I have one year left till i graduate, and I’ve just been in a weird cycle of ups and downs. Some days I’m happy with what I produce. others I just can’t get anything going. I get so frustrated over it and eventually do just drop the idea all together. I guess with things piling up in such a little amount of time, I began to question myself to the extreme over things like, “Can i do this?” or “Is this good enough?” Those thoughts just reoccur over and over.

I really want to thank you for this and all your other post. They’ve been a great help.

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Chris Oatley

Thanks, Herbert.

I’m so glad this post helped.

Graduation can be an especially difficult time. It’s important to keep in mind that as much as it seems like you’re running OUT of time on something, the opposite is actually true. You’re just now getting started.

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Ang

This post comes at the perfect time for me. There was an art challenge for ArtOrder where I simply could not get my piece to work out! It was one I really wanted to be perfect and show off what I’ve been learning to people. But that ‘drawing human anything’ got in the way. I admit to letting this failure to participate in a challenge judged by artists I truly respect had me beating myself up over my inability to make it work! This post is a great reminder for me that I should take this as another challenge to improve my fundamentals on the path to making my stories sing.

Blaming ourselves for lack of improvement and/or giving up because we don’t think we’re good enough is such a common trait of artists who are usually the hardest judges of themselves. It only takes one small voice of encouragement to bring us back up again. Encouragement is such a precious, precious commodity!

I think also this advice is particularly relevant for artists wishing to see themselves in the position of being professionally hireable like the artists they admire. Yet how often do we actually acknowledge those artists practiced and learned and failed and came back for more? They are the expert climbers who have climbed the cliffs long before us.

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Chris Oatley

You’re so right, Angela.

Our Internet culture and obsession with celebrity has clouded the calling of the artist.

I think it’s generally healthy to separate artistic growth from vocation.

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kammi

I can’t really relate to the concept of giving up, because I see art in general as sort of a lifestyle or lifetime of study. But what I think artists sometimes forget is that they are not alone; there is such a network around that a discouraged person can go to sketch groups, talk with other artists, go to a museum, travel and look at how the older artists problem solved, or even observed nature. To me, it’s sort of a language that you are learning, and the more you learn the more you understand the complexity/sophistication and subtlety of what you are learning. This is also true of storytelling and film-making, I think. Plus, it’s leaving a legacy in some ways because you are saying to the next generation of artists that it’s okay; you too struggled and and kept at it, as did the artists before them and before them through your body of work. Nothing is in vain.

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Chris Oatley

So true. So very true. Wise words, Kammi.

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Luke Daab

It’s important to remember the difference between “giving up” and “stepping away.” Approaching a work with fresh perspective can be the difference between working and reworking a problem area to the point of frustration and being able visualize a solution quickly and with less strain.

Regarding giving up: I was just having this conversation last night with a graphic designer/photographer friend as it regards the larger issue of personal “success” (however one defines that for themselves.) We laughed about the obvious-but-embarrassing statistic: Rates of success grow exponentially the more attempts you make toward solving a problem. In simpler words… the more you try, the more likely you are to succeed. Don’t give up!

Chris, you’re a godsend to the creative community. I love reading your posts.

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Chris Oatley

Thank you, Luke. Art is problems. And I find that inspiring.

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Charlotte Belland

Incredibly helpful and inspiring post! Love Akiko Crawford’s “… when we’re just starting out as painters, we often learn more from starts than we do from finishes.” and Cassandra Lee’s “… alone having to teach myself the software… and some how the assignment always managed to come together, so I guess that taught me I can rely on myself.” I watch so many young artists purchase book after book, web-site subscription after subscription… and they feel this accumulation of other people’s endeavors will magically bestow knowledge. Yet they fail to risk the application of the medium.

You have to walk in order to get somewhere… and your shoes are going to get dirty!

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Chris Oatley

Wow.

I hope everyone reads your post, Charlotte.

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Coen Hamelink | Illustrator

Wow, Chris, what a great point of view to look at the obstacles of creating.
Thanks very much for that. Really inspiring!
It’s all about learning, learning and learning and not being lazy, but also not being too hard on yourself…
See you at the Magic Box : )

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Chris Oatley

You’re awesome, Coen! We love having you in The Magic Box!

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Scott Wiser

You hit this right on the head! I was just working on a story last night and actually “enjoying” the obstacles. They really ARE the path, aren’t they?! Even though I’ve prided myself in the past on being a “finisher”, I’m starting to see that I need the enjoy the process more … to befriend the obstacles.
Thanks Chris!

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Chris Oatley

Yes sir. It wouldn’t be fun if it was easy.

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Matt Ashcraft

Chris,

Another great and timely post. It really got me thinking about how I approach art compared to how I approach my web development work.

When working on a web project, if something is not working I simply tweak it until I can get it functioning. Very rarely have I run into something I need to abandon. I see the problems and failures as challenges, and never something to get depressed or feel guilty about.

My art is a different matter. I am so much more likely to give up on a project that isn’t working the way I want or I find another that is shinier. Perhaps the difference is that I am so much more emotionally invested with art. Like a relationship, when things are going well I never feel better. Yet when a story goes south or my drawings don’t come out the way I envisioned, I feel so low.

My goal is to treat my art like my everyday work and just keep plugging along until my projects are completed, perfect or not.

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Chris Oatley

Yeah, I think maybe it was Seth Godin who was talking about how programmers don’t freak out when their code fails. They just try a different approach. I hope I always approach my art that way.

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David White

Damn, Matt. Art IS a relationship. Peaks and valleys. You nailed it.

“My goal is to treat my art like my everyday work and just keep plugging along until my projects are completed, perfect or not.”

A good mind-mode, Y’know?

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Natasha

I have to say that I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels this way. I am in a position now where the only body of work I have are old ones because I would see other people’s work and get so frustrated at what I couldn’t do that I’d just quit. Last night I thought of an awesome series of pictures to make but the very first one didn’t come out in the sketch how I wanted it and I almost abandoned the whole thing altogether. Over just the sketch not being right!

Mr. Oakley always seems to write something right when I need to hear it so I just have to say thanks x9001 for this post.

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Chris Oatley

Thanks, Natasha! Stay strong!

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Link Hyrul

Life is nasty, solitary and brutish. No one gives **** who you are and what you do as an artist, until you somehow get good and noticed. Then people want to give you their time. If you’re lucky enough to have artist friends who give two ****s about the work you do, pls keep them. Otherwise, get used to loneliness when your art isn’t that good and no one knows who you are. Nobody is going to care, make up your mind that you’re going to be at this alone and be grateful if someone throws some advice or some time your way. Unless of course you got money then of course getting attention becomes a lot easier. So, on that note go figure out if you really want to be an artist.

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Chris Oatley

While we don’t see life even remotely the same way, I do agree that when we find fellow artists who sincerely care, that is an invaluable, special thing… …one of the most important parts of life. Yes, hold onto the people you care about.

Link, not everyone is as cruel and unfeeling as you say they are. I’m sorry if this has been your experience.

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shawn kirsch

Have you read, “the dip?” by seth godin? would go well with this article.

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Chris Oatley

Several times. I recommend it often.

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Link Hyrul

Chris,
I wasn’t always as cynical but that has been my experience. I will look for the Dip. Until proven otherwise my faith in humanity is that we are only self interested in the end. I’m actually making strides in my art but again people only seem to care for the big names. Too much noise I guess.
I do believe you care and through your podcasts I have learned a lot but again if you don’t have the means or aren’t part of certain circles, it’s that much harder.
kiitos

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Elaine

I’ve hit a rough patch in my life where pretty much everything is changing, finances were nonexistent, rent was due, my thesis is up in the air, no luck securing freelance or work in the field I enjoy, struggling to find any work to stabilize me even if it meant going back to serving tables. Times are tough and its been one of the hardest times I’ve had as an artist. I was becoming more self criticizing and self doubting, constantly comparing myself to other people. I almost felt like giving up but I had to mentally punch myself out of it. Because I realized that all I was doing was nothing. Every day I went by thinking maybe it was time to move on was a day wasted I could of spent improving. Because even on the worst days I found that drawing is what I love to do and I chose this path not because it was going to be easy but because it was what I wanted to do. So even though I have to wait tables on the side now, when I can I draw, watch tutorials, try to get better even if its a slow going pace, because at least then I’m moving towards something rather than sitting around doing nothing. Keep moving forward.

Thanks again Chris for another inspiring post. :)

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Chris Oatley

“So even though I have to wait tables on the side now, when I can I draw, watch tutorials, try to get better even if its a slow going pace, because at least then I’m moving towards something rather than sitting around doing nothing. Keep moving forward.”

You nailed it right there, Elaine!

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David O

Thanks, Chris. I needed to hear something like this. I’ve been struggling with making a comic and have been depressed about it for nearly a year now, and it’s a deep dark pit that’s really hard to drag one’s self out of, but stuff like this helps. to give one a mental kick in the ass.

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Chris Oatley

Hahaha. That last part is wonderfully vivid, David.

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Ian

This couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ve been having doubts with myself lately. I always think that I’m not good enough and that maybe I should have gone into something else. Using the mountain climber metaphor really put things in perspective. It’s at least nice to know others feel the same way. Art really is problems and I never saw it that way.

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Chris Oatley

Keep climbing that mountain, Ian!

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Luciana (Lullie)

Just wanted to say a big thank you, Chris. I’m currently working on a huge personal project, and I’m climbing the mountain every single day. I’m drawing characters without exactly knowing how to do that, how to draw faces, hands, clothes, and how to design the shapes, all that stuff… I’m learning WHILE I’m doing it, an exciting and frustrating experience at same time. But when I think about giving up, I feel so bad that I give up “giving up”. This is not an option anymore… neither a “shadow carreer” in any other area.
Reading this post just made me feel more conscious of the importance of my everyday drawing failures. I’ll surely print this post right now and glue it here beside my screen! Thank you! :)

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Chris Oatley

Awesome! Yeah, and just keep in mind that anatomy is one of the hardest things – especially facial anatomy – because humans look so wrong when even one little detail is off. It takes time and practice.

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Darrell Mordecai

Hey Chris. Thanks for the awesome post. You make a really good point. We only grow through struggle. Art only becomes great by the artist struggling and solving problems in a beautiful way. I think the key is to learn to love the struggle.

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Chris Oatley

So true.

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Renske

Thank you Chris for this inspiring post and just when I needed it :)
I pinned a quote on the wall of my studio from Samuel Beckett, it says: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

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Chris Oatley

Great stuff. Thank you, Renske.

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Heather

Sometimes it feels like there is almost too much to learn in a life time and you feel like giving up, a good approach is to tackle one subject at a time so not to get overwhelmed. When things get difficult that’s when you have to push the most and it shows you where your weaknesses are. I find I’m learning the most when work is almost painful to do.

Thanks for all your blog posts and work on the paper wings podcast, great listening during a painting or drawing ;)

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Chris Oatley

Thank you, Heather. And yes, one thing at a time…

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Melissa

I love this post, and there is (as always) great stuff here in the comments. But I am going to make the case for giving up:

I have given up. I’ve given up trying to make my work ‘marketable’. I’ve given up the idea that unless I pay bills with my art, I’m not a (real) artist. I’m giving up beating up myself for enjoying vacations and nice things that require the job that I have.

In so doing – I have set an intention that is true to myself. Which is simply to make art/images that evoke a response in people. Am I ever going to make a living off of this? Probably not. Am I going to make better work that I’m passionate about? Probably will. I’m not sure if this makes me a “real” artist, or just a hobbyist. But I’m so tired of having that argument with myself I’m not sure if I care anymore.

I think sometimes when we ‘give up’ we also let go of notions/myths that we’ve told ourselves that aren’t necessarily true. And I realize this isn’t quite what the ‘giving up’ you are referring to in your blog post – but I thought it might be a good 2 pennies to throw out there.

Thanks as always for what you do Chris!

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Chris Oatley

You’re right on. So you’ve done exactly what I meant when I said “Only turn back if there’s a significantly better, creative path up the mountain.”

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Melissa White

OK, first keep in mind that I am not an artist by any means, but I am married to one and I watch this struggle often, so I thought I’d put my two cents in.

$0.01 – “The needless casualties of a needless war” are so common and I think a lot of it has to do with the character of an artist. Artists are in tune to feelings. They feel things in color and line or light and shadow. It’s all feelings. So when there is no clarity; when things don’t click and the art or the story is turning into crap, there are feelings for that as well. Those negative feelings can be hindering.

I think that tendency to feel so strongly has to be taken into consideration.

As an artist, you need to know yourself and know your struggles. Be prepared for when you hit the inevitable “rocky gap,” for the feelings that follow might not be pleasant, but you have to find a hope to run with because strength comes with struggle, and you can’t just give up in all cases.
There’s also a group of allies to consider with a community of artists. I’ve seen it come alive with the Oatley Academy. Men and women with different styles and gifts all walking the same kinds of paths and all willing to lift up, encourage, or just make light in dark times. Gaps are easy to jump when you don’t have to jump alone.
$0.02 – “These problems are not obstacles on the path. These problems ARE the path.” Struggles in art lead to growth if you handle them correctly. Yes, sometimes a deadline will require you to find a creative way around that ‘rocky gap,’ or give up on a project for the time-being, but sometimes maybe you just need to ‘gut it out’- get a good running start and jump the gap. Maybe you take a few days to study what challenges you and draw/paint/whatever until you never want to see that thing again, but you finally get it.
Maybe you learn what you can’t do, but I really think you’ll learn what you are truly capable of and that means that the path, complete with gaps, is not only a worthy path, but one you must travel again.

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Brandon Dennis

I am reminded of a quote that I unfortunately cannot fully recall or who wrote it, but essentially a good painting is created by the laying of paint followed by continuous attempts to correct it. The painting is finished when the artist gives up any further correction.

And the great artist and film maker Guillermo Del Toro fears success more than failure. In his own words “any prize that I don’t win fuels the fire, and every prize I win quenches it” – pg. 17, Guillermo Del Toro Cabinet of Curiosities. 2013.

I agree with del Toro, for where I have succeeded, my passion has died. Taking up art has provided what feels like an infinite source of passion and frustration.

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Michael B

It makes alot of sense with the comparison in there with the rocky gap, nice!

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Andrea Rosales

Wow. This post has been nothing short of incredible and certainly brings up so many ideas about the creative process that I truly feel that every artist needs to think about. For one thing, I agree that it’s critical for artists to remember that you won’t always get everything drawn or painted right on the first go–that being said, I find it important to try and take something positive away from each time you engage in the creative process. Art is also an empirical process and there’s nothing more rewarding than going through a series of trial and errors to develop new creative solutions to utilize for future projects. I’m a big believer in the idea that our “mistakes” can pay off for us later on as we continue to grow into the best versions of ourselves as artists.

Personally, I love art precisely because of the fact that is is “problems”. To me, art is a big creative puzzle and every time I engage in it, I am prompted to try new things. I might not always make what I wanted to create, but I do come back the next time equipped with a bit more knowledge. Also, if I don’t know how to do something, I do my best to learn how to do something better.

One may not have made the masterpiece they hoped for, but in experimenting and discovering new ways to do things, progress IS being made.

(Also, I’m new to the Oatley Academy community ( just joined the Magic Box yesterday), but I am so excited and thrilled to engage with passionate and dedicated artists. See you at the Secret Labs!)

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Chris Oatley

First of all – WELCOME to The Oatley Academy, Andrea! Thank you SO MUCH!!

Second – you are SO right about art problems. I wish I had done as good a job brining the ideas home as you just did.

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Lika

“Rocky gap is not your fault”
indeed thank you Chris! I was just in the middle of thinking that those are all my faults that i can not do anything. And then I’ve read this! thank you! this is really inspirational! I am going to crash the rocky gaps! (or at least pass them)

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Chris Oatley

Yes! Go for it! And don’t fall in! ;)

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David White

Preaching to the choir I’m sure:

I’ve said this before, but I gave up on art. I decided I was done. I wanted the results (finished project, pats on the back) without the (then and sometimes still) depressing struggle. My day job is demanding enough and pays decent enough that I could just settle.

… Just settle with graphic design and aimless doodling for the rest of my life…

…yeah, I know… EFF that.

Oatley Academy popped up and I’m back on the mountain again. The education is sound and the community to pull you out of the mud or across a gap or up a different path is very strong. Support, ideas, feedback I didn’t think of… friends. Invaluable.

I still get down. Always will. But more and more (with support from my wife and OA folks) I get angry. Angry in a “Come at me bro!” kind of way.

For me, the gap has come to fight and I’m down to scrap so lets do this.

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Jim

Thank you. For years I thought I was the only one who felt this way.

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Dante Ezio Cifaldi

I’m literally at a point where I feel like giving up. I told myself a year ago I was going to learn how to draw/paint better and a year on I’ve gotten nowhere and achieved nothing. In a way it is my own fault for procrastinating and spending my time watching tutorials rather than putting them to practise and drawing a lot. I look at a blank canvas and just have no idea what to do. I understand I’m supposed to learn fundamentals, I just don’t know how and then I get scared that I’m not doing it right and I end up rushing instead of taking time to study properly and think about it all. The past two days I’ve been so frustrated and am at the lowest I could feel right now. I loved drawing and I still do, but can only ever do so when copying other work. I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to draw something that’s not already somebody else’s picture. I genuinely feel like I’m never going to be able to do this. Maybe I just can’t and that’s it.

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Link Hyrul

Dante,
From a fellow procrastinator, and notorious insecure artist, I know exactly how you feel. Check out my earlier post.I’m lynkhyrul at hushmail dot com. If you want to talk. Maybe we can help each other out.
Lynkhyrul

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Jersey

Hey Chris,
Just wanted to let you know how inspiring your posts are. I definitely needed the motivation to keep my head in the game. Your post really opened my eyes to how silly it is for me to give up when a problem is frustrating and I take it out on myself. I loved the rock climber analogy..it put things clearly into perspective.
Thank you so much.

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Chris Oatley

That’s incredibly inspiring to hear, Jersey. Thanks so much.

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india

So encouraging! I’ve gone through cycles of feeling like I’ll never get anywhere with my art. Mostly, I feel lost trying to enforce discipline and routine into my life without having any accountability or support. I’m hoping doing something like the Magic Box would help me get focused on developing my skills, but I’m a beginner with Photoshop. Do I need to be more experienced with PS before I start? And do I need a specific version of Photoshop?

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Chris Oatley

Hi, India. It’s even harder to self-enforce disciplines and practices if you don’t actually know that it’s what you’re supposed to be doing right now.

As for Magic Box, you’ll find answers to your questions on the main registration page: http://ChrisOatley.com/digital-painting-in-photoshop/ and in the FAQ: http://ChrisOatley.com/magicboxfaq

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jaid mathews

chris o. nails it with another great post! as always thank you so much for the inspirational post that seem to always come at the right time chris.

i do feel that art is such an emotional and personal thing that it is easy to get down and want to give up when things just don’t seem to go well no matter how hard you try. i feel your life would definitely be easier and less stressful but would you really be happy with giving up? i know i wouldn’t and ultimately i feel know artist truly is. that is why no matter how painful it maybe we usually come crawling back to some creative work. we just can’t help it. it is a part of who we are.

as some one wisely mentioned earlier i do believe there is a difference between “giving up” and “stepping aside”. i think as artist we need to do ore “stepping aside” than “giving up”.

when you “step aside” you take what you have learned from an experience and reapply it to something else. in other words you continue in your journey and but now you are more equipped to tackle a previous problem and hopefully more likely to over come it if you bump heads with it again. of course as soon as you clear that problem you”ll find another one grinning right at you, but that is okay. and more importantly it is good to come to grips with the fact that it will continue to happen.

chris said “art is a problem”. well i think it is not just art. you could apply that to just about everything. jeez, just living is a problem. but in order to grow at anything we need to be constantly challenged and constantly approaching problems in new and constructive ways.

for all those who feel like giving up please please know that you are not alone. and when you have given all you can think about what you have learned from that experience and just “step aside” (^o^)/

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Chris Oatley

Very well put, Jaid. A wonderful contribution. Thank you.

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Timetoname

You fail to address the gorilla in the room.

Rock climbers die when they fall down cliffs.

When your stuff doesn’t sell and you can’t find a job and you can’t get anything published and you’ve been at it for years – one day you fall down and you don’t get back up. You can’t. You’re dead inside.

You can see hateful, bitter creatives all over the place. They’re husks. There are no soothing words for them. They’re just gone.

That can happen too. That’s a danger when you try to climb rocks for a living. Always acknowledge the danger.

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Chris Oatley

Well, first of all, you have completely missed the point.

Second, being an artist is not life-threatening, nor is it even dangerous.

Third, you always have a choice.

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