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  • Writer's pictureTsunami Hee Ja

2021: My Artist Gap Year

So friends and followers, after a long break from posting I am here to announce a long break from paid arting too! That is to say, I won't be taking on the usual illustration jobs from the general public or new businesses this year (I'll still be hosting workshops though). Reason being, I am taking time off to study! Yay! I have decided to diversify and learn some new skills. I won't say what exactly, because although my current diploma course is for something I am very interested in, there's still every possibility that it won't pan out or end up a good fit. If last year taught me anything though, it's that life is unpredictable, and I might not have all the time in the world to do the things I've always thought about. Might as well try, right? I've been an artist for over two decades now, and I can feel myself burning out a bit. Almost everything I draw now is paid work, and that's great in a financial sense, but I miss being able to pluck images from the ether of my imagination and scrawl them onto paper for the sheer joy of it. My standard rate commissions pay nicely, and I'm always so proud of these when I'm done with them, but the lengthy stop-and-start nature of the artwork review process with clients inevitably kills off a lot of the flow that comes from getting in a really good groove and riding that wave to spontaneous creative brilliance. Also, the pressure for everything to be just so makes me pretty damn anxious, especially when I'm using an unforgiving media like ink or marker. I do still love the idea of making art, and the fact is, as long as I have the ability to do it, I will probably always be arting in some capacity. I just need a break from the intensive "made-to-measure" stuff. I've saved enough to cover my time off, but because I may still need a top up now and again I still plan on offering the kind of commish I like best; the quick little turn-around ones. I would infinitely prefer to do more of these bulk special offer "surprise-the-client" (ie. no review) portraits than the well-paid but painstaking pieces that attract a higher fee.

So if you were hoping to purchase some art from me this year, keep an eye on my social media for offers, and get in quick to grab yourself a slot (because they usually sell fast). With any luck I might find my natural inclination to draw for pleasure reemerges once I immerse my efforts elsewhere for a while. There's no telling, and I'm freaking out a bit about having to submit assessments and stuff again at this stage of my life, but anyway, wish me luck. I'll do my best. Your pal, Tsunami Hee Ja (suddenly a student again).

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