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Jan. 16th, 2011

I'm not sure if this has been asked already, please forgive me if so.

I've been wondering lately, what would be an acceptable wait time when taking a break from art? It happens once in a while that I just can't seem to draw, I guess it's just an art block, and I either need to take a break from art fully, or take a break from commissions and draw for myself. I always feel guilty about it though, so I wanted to know what you guys think is a good time for a break and when it's too much.

I don't take on more art when I feel like that, so don't worry. I'm more wondering how long is a good break when you already have commissions in your gueue. I usually only need to take a couple days off, but sometimes it does turn into weeks, t'ill I feel too guilty and just push myself to do the art.

I personally work down a list. So if the commissioner is not first in line, there is already a bit of a wait time as I work on the first.

Edit: Thank you everyone for your advice :3

I'm starting to think that I'm maybe taking on so much work (but still not TOO much where I take forever) that I end up burned out, which also leaves me with not too many breaks. I can personally juggle a queue of 10, and still get each piece done in a day, a few days to weeks. But I think maybe it might be a good idea to bring this down to something more like 5 and try making a schedule for myself.

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( 32 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 17th, 2011 02:38 pm (UTC)
I find that if I take a break for more than a few days it gets harder for me to get back in the swing of things. But that's just how I work, and I make things full time now.

I would consider that as soon as you get paid, doing art is a job. So at some point even if you don't feel like it you have to do it. How long depends on what it is and how long your commissioners expect to wait (something you should let them know).
Jan. 17th, 2011 02:50 pm (UTC)
I usually take a weekend "off" if I am feeling some artistic burn out. That's enough time to relax and goof off so when Monday rolls around I am ready to work again.

Jan. 17th, 2011 02:54 pm (UTC)
I don't think a couple of days are much of a problem.

But if you sometimes run into a weeks-long art block, well... I guess I'd just make sure that I don't take on too many commissions at the same time. Maybe organise it as a short commissions queue, and a waiting list?

If I'd run into problems on the lines of, "Sorry, I have [real world problem/nervous meltdown] and have no idea when I can get back into art", I'd tell that to people and ask them if they would prefer to wait indefinitely, or to get a refund.
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 17th, 2011 04:25 pm (UTC)
I agree with this comment!
Jan. 17th, 2011 03:20 pm (UTC)
I don't think a few days is going to create a problem. art is different than a 5-9 job. if you're worn out you're not gonna be able to give the commissioner your best. I find that the biggest problem between artist and commissioners tend to be communication. keep the door open and most people will understand.
Jan. 17th, 2011 04:16 pm (UTC)
I don't mean to sound harsh, but... do comic artists on deadline get such serious art blocks that they can't work, to the point that their deadline is missed? Do magazine cover artists get in such a block they can't finish their deadlines too? If they did they wouldn't have a job for very long.

I feel that indulging in an art block is one of the benefits of being a freelancer without deadlines to worry about, which is fine -- but it's just that, an indulgence. It's all in your head, and it's something you could work through if you really wanted to/needed to. I'm not a professional comic artist/cover artist/whatever myself but I imagine that when they get an art block, they just force themselves to work through it and if crap comes out, they redo it until it looks right.

Again, I don't mean to sound like I'm coming down on you. :) I get art blocks too. But I do think you can choose how to handle it, and taking a break for your own work is not the only way to get through one.
Jan. 17th, 2011 05:28 pm (UTC)
I don't know what your day schedule is like - but I personally set up from 9am-5pm to work (but I also have a rambunctious kid running around the house who I have to tend to). After 5pm? I clock out. I also don't work weekends. So, try setting up a block of time to do art every day, unless you prefer to leave your weekends open. Treat it as a job.
Jan. 17th, 2011 07:24 pm (UTC)
Hm, that would be a good idea. I don't have anything to do all day, so I tend to just work at anytime, in the span of the whole day. I'll try making a schedule and see how that works for me, thank you :3
Jan. 17th, 2011 05:42 pm (UTC)
Commissions should come with a concrete deadline. If you can work on your own stuff and take breaks and still meet that deadline (and you should make sure you can), then it's a non issue. If you can't then tough, suck it up, do the commission work even if you hate it, then take a break and rethink your scheduling for the next round.

As above, "treat is as a job" is the best advice. When is it acceptable to go home from (salaried) work? When you've finished enough work that day that you can meet your deadlines comfortably. If you're crunching on a project, then that might mean 14 hour days for weeks at a time, until it's done.
Jan. 17th, 2011 06:29 pm (UTC)
I think a few days is okay - like I believe someone else said, it's good to treat it like a normal work week, and take weekends off. If you're doing your own art during your break, I'd be careful about posting it - it can be uncomfortable for your commissioners if they see you posting your own art when they're waiting on their paid work.

What I usually do is just take a few commissions at a time, then take a break either for a breather or to do my own art. When I'm ready to draw for other people again, I'll reopen commissions, whether that means contacting people on my waiting list or opening up a journal :)
Jan. 17th, 2011 07:48 pm (UTC)
If you're lucky enough not to have a regular day job as I read in another comment you posted then I am sorry but there is little excuse for you to not somehow work with or around or through this artblock. A day or two, fine. Any longer and you lose any sympathy that most of artists who have to work full time and then fit in commissions in our "free" (from a day job) time.

Not to sound harsh, but also as leahtaur says- professional artists don't get artbreaks and they do just fine without artbreaks. So find a way for yourself to do just fine without them too.

For me, I have to work full time to pay the bills. So when I take on commissions I make sure I have set aside a week or a month to fill that queue and get it clear within a good time frame. Then I take a break for my own art or projects (not an artbreak, I find I very rarely suffer burnout as I have so many different types of art to dabble in) for however long I see fit before taking on more clients.
Jan. 17th, 2011 07:56 pm (UTC)
IAWTC. I've seriously lost sympathy for artists that don't have a day job, yet somehow continue to push deadlines farther and farther away or somehow end up with a burnout/art block.
(no subject) - ichigoneko33 - Jan. 17th, 2011 08:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - zackfig - Jan. 17th, 2011 08:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ichigoneko33 - Jan. 17th, 2011 08:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - grygon - Jan. 17th, 2011 09:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ichigoneko33 - Jan. 17th, 2011 09:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lilenth - Jan. 18th, 2011 03:49 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - grygon - Jan. 18th, 2011 03:58 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lilenth - Jan. 18th, 2011 04:11 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 17th, 2011 07:51 pm (UTC)
Should be noted that it's wise to tell people on your list about the break -- and that the break is not excessively long.

Seriously, I commissioned someone years back that is still recharging their batteries/trying to break from the art block for two years now.

I just don't think she cares anymore.
Jan. 17th, 2011 08:10 pm (UTC)
Two years?! Now that is bad. I get guilty in just a couple days and start working so much, I couldnt imagine taking that long.
Jan. 18th, 2011 12:32 am (UTC)
What I think is being missed here in a few of the comments is the fact that those artists on hard, tight deadlines- they don't always put in their best work just so they can meet said deadlines. There's that saying "Fast, good, cheap. Pick two."

Frankly since you are probably not on a hard and fast deadline, taking your time and really giving everything you can to your clients is not a bad thing. Keeping a schedule is good. Giving yourself breaks throughout the day is better. Get up away from your work and walk around or check the mail or whatever.
Jan. 18th, 2011 12:53 am (UTC)
Ya, I think my problem was that I'd work hard for days, all day straight, not much breaks, so I'd end up needing days of a break

Taking breaks during the day is probably going to help a lot more. Thank you :3
Jan. 18th, 2011 03:57 am (UTC)

Seeing some of the answers, I have to ask if some of these people have tried having nothing but time.

Fact is, the more time you have the less you're likely to do. All freelancer's suffer from this to a certain degree, I struggle with it, give me a hard firm deadline and you'll practically guarantee it on time, tell me "whenever" and it's very likely that it will double the time because there is no pressure.

I noticed that in school, if I was given a weekend to do a project, I'd turn out one ten times the size of the one's submitted by people who'd have weeks and weeks to do them. My teachers used to nag me because I'd never start a project on the first week, I'd always start it with a time crunch but I'd pull out something better than the people who'd worked for weeks on them.

People who are unemployed or self employed are very prone to falling into a funk, you need real self discipline since you're the only thing driving you, and if you put it off once, once can become twice and before you know it, long stretches of time have disappeared. In fact having nothing but time is one of the worst things that can happen to people, they end up slumping without the structure they're used to.
Jan. 18th, 2011 04:00 am (UTC)
I have to ask if some of these people have tried having nothing but time.

Most of us don't have the luxury to try.
(no subject) - lilenth - Jan. 18th, 2011 04:10 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - grygon - Jan. 18th, 2011 04:16 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lilenth - Jan. 18th, 2011 04:22 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ichigoneko33 - Jan. 18th, 2011 04:27 am (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 1st, 2011 09:19 pm (UTC)
All artists work in different ways... I usually have a hard time concentrating on painting during a busy season like Christmas, so my productive time is usually spring-summer. I have friends who are professional illustrators (they get paid to do this sort of work for like game companies) and they do not take "breaks". They are constantly drawing and filling up sketchbooks. So it depends on how you work and which art industry you work for. One good thing to keep in mind is to ALWAYS treat "being an artist" as a job. Be professional. Keep your personal attachments and feelings away from business. Business is business and personal is free time.
( 32 comments — Leave a comment )


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