2015 was probably the most unproductive year I've ever had. A combination of working full time, art blocks, bouts of depression, lack of motivation, and lack of direction has taken their toll on my creativity.
I was glad to find a job at the beginning of the year because it allowed me to save up some money and upgrade some of my equipment. But the work I was doing at the sign/print shop was utterly soul crushing and unsatisfying. I had little creative freedom because of the nature of the projects. Most of the time I was making simple signage or recreating a small pixelated JPG of a logo in Illustrator that needed to be blown up to go on a 8'x4' sign or banner. And don't get me started on the number of times I had a customer hovering over my shoulder telling me to "make it pop". The only time I had any sort of freedom was when it came to designing car wraps and those were rare (I did maybe 5 over the course of the year). Those also tended to be the most stressful because the media is super expensive and there was no room for error. My employer didn't offer any benefits and I didn't see any raises coming my way. When I got done at the end of the day I was too mentally exhausted to even think about doing any artwork for myself no matter how much I wanted to. So I would come home and veg out to some YouTube or browse Reddit or Tumblr until it was time to go to bed.
On top of that, I don't get to see my two best friends that much anymore. Both work full-time and one has a girlfriend who keeps him occupied when he's not working. I only get to see them about once a month if that. We used to hang out all the time but life happens and I understand that. It doesn't change the fact that it bums me out. I don't have any other real good friends besides one who lives on the other side of the US. It's real hard to meet new people where I live because everyone is so spread out and there are no real places to go to hang out. It's also been a real long time since I've met someone that I've really "clicked" with.
Now that I'm done explaining all the stuff that's kept me down over the past year, let me explain what's going on now.
I decided back in October that I wanted to go back to school to pursue a Bachelor's degree in Graphic Design with a possible Minor in Marketing. If all goes well and can afford it I wouldn't mind getting a BA in Art Studio also. I had planned on working part-time while going to school, but my boss let me go before I knew anything about my schedule for next semester. It turns out I could have easily done what I had planned to do (two classes two days a week with the earliest one at 2:30 pm), but I guess my boss wanted a dedicated full-time employee. In the end I'm super happy he let me go. I was at my lowest point and have never felt so relieved to not have to go back to work. Do I regret taking that job? No. I got some nice experience and made some money, but I don't think I'd ever want to work in a place like that again.
So why haven't I been creating anything since I've stopped working? Two reasons. Video games and lack of direction.
I've been catching up on some video games I've collected over the past year. Xenoblade has been keeping me pretty occupied over the past few weeks. But when I'm not playing I'm trying to figure out what direction I want to take with my art. I've been doing fan art for as long as I can remember. I'd like to get out of that and start creating stuff based on my own ideas. You know have my own creative voice or something. However I keep running into one problem, I have no idea where to start and I have no idea what to make. I've been doing fan art or work for other people for so long that I haven't developed any sort of personal ideas or subject matter to play with or even any clear career path I want to take. Do I want to concentrate on graphic design? Do I want to try more illustrative stuff like I've done in the past? Do I want to delve into motion graphics? What about UI/UX design? What about web design? Who do I want to do art for? What do I want to create? Why do I want to create? These are some of the questions that have been flying around my head for the past month and I have no clear answers. I'm hoping going back to school will help me find a direction I want to take. But until then I think I may have to force myself to sit down and draw until something finally clicks.
I'm not sure what 2016 has in store, but I'm hoping it'll be much better than last year.