To see the beginning of this story, see Lost and Found: Part 1.
At first, art school was exciting. I'd never been surrounded by so many talented and devoted artists my age before! In grade school, most people took art for an easy "A", but the kids in college were serious! I definitely stepped my game up and tried to excel. But it was hard. While not all were, many of the students were insanely competitive. During our class critiques when we got to offer feedback on other's projects, students would only mention negative comments and try to tear one another down. If that wasn't bad enough classes lasted at least 3 hours, homework took nearly half a day to complete and professors were cut-throat! One professor started the first day of class by informing us that she never gives out "A's", but we will most definitely have to earn our "C" in her class. Are you kidding me? Of course I dropped that class like a bad habit and took up another one. However, by the beginning of my second semester, I felt like I was drowning. I never felt so uncomfortable with art before. To get accepted into your art major, professors had to weed out the kids who were there for art seriously and those who weren't. I realized that unlike my teachers all throughout school, college art professors weren't teaching, they were eliminating students. Soon, my art wasn't my own and I didn't even like it anymore. What came so natural to me and what I enjoyed the most was being cut away from me in a very painful and permanent way. Working at Disney or Pixar as an animator was a dream, but the reality was - I didn't want to change my art to fit a cookie cutter mold of what other people liked, because then I would hate it. So, at the end of my freshman year, I changed my major and my focus in life.
And I stopped drawing.
For my friends and family, this was puzzling. For me, it was depressing. My whole identity centered around my love and knack for drawing, painting and creating. I didn't even know who I was anymore! I'd known what I wanted to be since before I'd even lost all my baby teeth and all of a sudden, all of that is gone and I was just supposed to be striving for something else.
Since that experience - coming face-to-face with reality like that - my life has been a roller coaster. Ups and downs year after year. My future was etched out in front of me so clearly and just as quickly as it began, it crumbled...like my attempt at pottery. I couldn't draw anymore because every time I started to sketch, I was reminded of the road I chose to not take in life and the painful decision I made to let go of a dream I'd had so long.
Life is funny sometimes though. Recently a friend of mine has been sharing artwork that her brother does with me and the more I see his work, the more inspired I get to attempt to draw something myself. My wonderful and lovely graphic design sister (art skills run in my family, it seems) has been wanting me to start drawing or painting again, but I just couldn't do it. I needed to realize that while the idea of drawing for a major animation company was what I wanted, I just wasn't willing to make the sacrifices I'd have to make as an artist to be successful in a more corporate setting. Therefore, drawing for me will have to be a hobby.
Finally (it took a little kicking and screaming), I'm OK with that.
It's been about 7 years since I've truly drawn anything other than a doodle here and there; but the other day I saw an old X-Men comic of mine and I just really wanted to draw (oh and no, you didn't read that incorrectly. I did collect comics back in the day). So I started drawing...and it felt great! The kind of great feeling you get when you can fit into an old (and smaller) pair of pants.
My proportional skills are a little rusty and I definitely am out of practice...but for the beginning phase of the first drawing I've done in almost a whole decade - this isn't a bad start. What do you think?
The reason I'm sharing this (other than pure exuberance at the fact that I can still draw) is because I felt as though I'd lost something very important to me. That sounds crazy, right? But I seriously felt as though I'd been missing a limb all these years. To give up something that meant so much to me was a severe decision that I had a very hard time coping with in the beginning.
Oh, but isn't it funny how things work out. Art gave me tunnel vision when I thought about my future. I knew what I was going to do and didn't even think about other careers. When I lost my desire for art, doors opened for me that I didn't even know existed. I can't say I'm happier now than I would've been if I'd stuck with becoming an artist - no one can tell where another path would've led. However, I'm just fine with the path life has taken me down. My life goals are more diverse and my heart is open to a world of possibilities that I didn't even consider as a teenager...and I can still draw!
Can't wait to share future artwork with you here!