Sunday, May 17, 2015

Community Support System

Hey, it's Alisha.  This week I wanted to talk about support systems for artists.

Now I don't want to brag . . . well, yes I do.  I'm going be talking about my club for a good majority of this post because I think they are a prime example of what I'm talking about. (Links to our blog and facebook page:

Being an artist can be isolating.

It's not like there's artists right next door or all over the place at the grocery store.  "Normal" people don't quite understand your thought process or your view on things.  You're the weird, eccentric person they quickly pass by on the sidewalk.

Not only that, but you're also fighting your art.  You have to fight it into the right composition and shapes; if you don't keep an eye on it, it will wander off and become something completely off topic.  Plus rent is due in two days and you're a couple hundred dollars short and the neighbor next door won't stop blasting his dubstep.

So it's hard.  A community of artists will help.

Android Jones

2015 Ram
A group you can hang out with and commiserate with about crappy commissions and brushes that aren't working like they're suppose to (because it's all their fault).  People who share trade tricks and new techniques, who know exactly what it's like to live as an artist.

I think it's essential to foster a relationship with a group like this.  Otherwise everyday stuff is going to strangle and suck the life out of you.  Misery loves company, but company also helps to alleviate the misery.

So this is actually rather easy for me, since I'm going to school and am with my fellow artists more than my family.  Of course, during class there's not really much opportunity to socialize and commiserate.  That's where the Illustration Club comes in.

James Christensen
Sharing sketchbooks and advice. Making some awesome connections.
We get together once a week and do all sorts of things.  Workshops, drawing sessions, sometimes even just watching a movie and drawing in our sketchbooks.  The connections I've made have been invaluable.  Not only with my fellow students (who I know are going to be rockstar artists someday), but also meeting professional artists.

Jake Parker

Demo in Photoshop
The club tries to bring in at least one professional artist per semester and they do a day long workshop with us.  The knowledge is priceless, but it's also good to know that even professionals feel the same things I do while working on projects.

Howard Lyon showing how to paint from maquettes
I'd like to throw out a real-life example (no names, I promise):  I have a friend at school who is pretty hard on themselves, more than they needs to be really (I mean, we're all hard on ourselves, lets be perfectly honest).  We were learning digital art and neither of us had tablets or photoshop at home (well, I didn't).  It's hard to do assignments when you can only work on them during certain times in a week.

It was Christmas-time and you all know what that means: Finals.  So an already stressful school becomes even more stressful when you don't have the tools to do your finals.

This friend of mine got a surprise at school.  Someone had purchased a new tablet, still in the box, and had left it for my friend to find.  It was an absolute blessing and not something that happens very often.  The reason this happened to this person?

They had a support system.  I'm not saying I know exactly who got the gift for them, but it was definitely someone in that group of artists.  Someone who saw the struggle of their fellow artisan and decided to help out.

Artist help other artist (generally, there are some real twats out there too).

I really have not met another group of like people who are so giving of their secrets, resources, and time.  So start buddying up to fellow artists in your area.  You can usually find get-togethers in your area.  Even online groups could be just what you need.

Artists learning and supporting each other.

You're not alone, you're not isolated.  You have hundreds of others who are going through what you are; and they're more than willing to help.  Get that support system.

Till next week.

- Alisha

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