Easing back into art, blogging & social media. Hello I’ve returned from my break! [Progress update]

** This post is a 32 minute read! Take your time! **

Boo! It’s my new avatar [RedBubble sticker]! I love pinkish reds and teals (:

Hey it’s been 3 months!

Consequently it’s a super long post.

For newcomers, this blog is for peeps interested in my learning progress, some process, personal thoughts, projects, updates & studies. Focusing on lifelong learning at this blog! Sign up for the weekly newsletter to get these blog posts in your inbox! Don’t depend on noisy social media! Join my little club! ;D

Regardless thank you so much for sticking around for my art adventures! <3

In this progress update:

Patreon Tier Art

Made some art to decorate my little Patreon page! Consider supporting it for my art and blog posts, only if you want and are able to. All the same, making these pieces was just an excuse for me to feel better about creating things! <3

A little helping hand

An encouraging handwritten note

A wonderful hot chocolate

I do drink yucky instant coffee when I need to wake up! But as you know I’m not a coffee person outside of that ;D Tea or hot chocolate for me! <3

Some digital studies & ongoing healing from creative burnout

It took lots of time for me to feel like drawing at all as I lost my personal purpose with creating. I didn’t make art unless I professionally had to for a long while. Since I usually use up my creative energy for work, I didn’t want to force myself outside of that so I just took my time and gave myself space. I needed time to heal so that eventually my emotional, intellectual and creative minds can align and work together.

Slowly getting there.

If you can afford to, giving yourself space to process and take breaks from doing art is very important. Protect your enjoyment of making art or learn something else creative and fun to energise yourself again!

I’ve been pushing myself for so long and now slowly getting out of this burn out, flailing about with prevention methods & boundaries and figuring out my mindset again. All this is going to take its time. Slowing down.

Finally I pushed through even though I didn’t feel ready. It reached a point where I got tired of my mixed feelings and all that’s left to do was pretend and push myself to start and try things. Or rather it’s a cycle of pushing forward and then more mixed feelings, fears, disappointment, confusion or personal revelations happened. Lots of ups and downs, frustrating dead-ends, small moments of clarity and indecision so far. All part of the process.

Some figure drawing studies below! I was super rusty and the act of “just doing it” was liberating and encouraging. I’m not someone who naturally draws and doodles everyday without purpose and sometimes I just want to study, illustrate or redesign something. As soon as I accepted that as long as I was drawing and I didn’t put too much pressure on myself, I’m progressing in baby steps. It’s a cycle of trying to start, doing it, stopping then trying to start again. It’s not consistent yet but it’s something!

It’s a mental game of being compassionate with myself while getting into the habit and learning. Stop dwelling too long on thinking and planning and just do it. Test things. See what isn’t working and be willing to start over. And over. And over.

Striving to do personal projects & learning fundamentals again to evolve further. I’ve lost and neglected nurturing that joy for so long and I need to protect and get that back again through learning, playing and challenging myself with my own things. :’) Get back some fulfillment and confidence within myself again.

I’m not really there but I hope to just keep pushing.

And then there’s the satisfaction of problem solving a design or illustration for somebody else’s needs – what most people will actually pay for. Balancing between expressing, learning and designing and see how I can combine them all. I’ll keep open minded when opportunities arise!

How is Leonie doing after 3 months?

I’m not feeling wonderful nor terrible. I’ve been a mopey, apathetic, confused, slow, paralysed, homebody and disheartened butt during this time. I allowed myself to take lots of time instead of stressing out too much, pressuring myself and falling into the familiar pit of worst case scenarios.

Still very much a comfy, isolated homebody. I possess my usual neutral state. Just like everyone else, I’m doing my best with my own life, fears and struggles. There is no happy ending in life. Life goes on. ;P

As you may know, I needed lots of time to think things over, sit with and accept many things, read, learn and freelance a bit in concept art and character illustration, keep evolving with my purpose and slowly pick myself up. Lifelong learning, starting from scratch and figuring out how I can thrive. How I have endless things to learn, apply and read along the way anyway.

Took a long break from posting so to not feel burnt out and disappointed with life, myself, my career, with art, with people/acquaintances, industry and social media. Cutting out negative, unhelpful, indifferent vibes, or at least I’ve been more intentional about things in my life. However messy things get, I do believe the good intentions in most people! Learning and doing my best.

It’s a lot of “let me wallow and procrastinate in my isolated misery” because I’ve been so tired, lost and burnt out for so long. I can’t relax for long because the anxious “I should be more productive” (or else I’m not valuable, inherently) is at the back of my mind. On the other hand, I really need to dedicate more time into art and business because I’ve been sorting out my mindset and mental health more.

Giving myself time to heal and for the internal resistance to pass. Letting my curious mind wander and sort out other aspects sometimes.

On the outside, it looks like I’m either deadpan, “lazy/paralysed” or repetitively rambling in circles on what I’ve been struggling with. So apologies to the few kind friends who have been bearing with me as I try to get my head around things both intellectually and emotionally. I believe that my emotional mind is taking its time to catch up because I’ve neglected it for so long. :’)

Earlier in the year, a small handful of kind people were helping me with my resume, suggesting things to apply for and things to do because I’m so out of the loop. I invested in a wonderful mentor during the past handful of months too. Super grateful for all of them! Was open to take time to understand things, get tough love at my pace, put ego away, face some tough questions and listen to advice.

Months ago I caught up with a few generous, kind friends and acquaintances over 1 to 1 lunch or warm coffee/hot chocolate when I felt up to leaving home – thank you so much for treating me! I cherish those deeper connections and conversations! <3

Otherwise, most of the time has been pretty chill and I’ve been isolated from everything.

I got quiet online too and a bunch of people lost interest in following for one reason or another – it happens sometimes when I’m on hiatus. Glad that most are still sticking around while other times it felt like people forgot about me because I wasn’t posting, relevant or around anymore. That low key artist guilt because I’m not out there, making art, job hunting and visible. I’m not cool anyway :’)

I digress. At least I can manage it better, now that I have a better head space and clearer purpose with my art, this blog and my social media channels. A lot of the hard work is having the resolve and deciding for myself what’s best for me *and* doing the work regularly.

A lot of it came down to what I really wanted to do and explore with my career/life right now. For this next stage of my life, not forever.

So I’m feeling both supported but incredibly alone and isolated in emotionally getting over it. No one can do that for me.

Feels like floating into space, drifting in the void, abandoned on a deserted island to face and manage my own feelings like an adult. Even though I have occasionally rambled to the few trusted friends (who I appreciate so much) and I used to be able to afford a psychologist for several sessions/ages ago, at the end of the day everyone needs to deal and come to terms with things on their own.

Ultimately it feels like I’m on my own.

This is how it is. This is life after all. No one can or should decide for me. I need to believe in, own and experience my own decisions. Accept things that are out of my control. Doing the right thing for myself and for those who matter.

“Deal with it” and “grow up” isn’t too helpful when all you’re doing is suppressing and avoiding your feelings.

I couldn’t just completely go forward in my career when I felt directionless, hopeless, apathetic, exhausted, jaded, isolated and doubtful. It’s not a good place to be and gives bad vibes for everybody.

The time and space away from posting allowed loads of isolated time to emotionally process things, however existential, scary, confusing, frustrating and uncomfortable it is so far. I couldn’t pretend that I was okay so I’d rather retreat and keep away until I feel ready with a better purpose, head space and mindset. Trying to pick up the fallen pieces, build and piece them together towards the next chapter.

I had to take my time so that I can understand and chip away my inner resistance, anxieties, insecurities and struggles with financial viability of the entertainment/creative industry and figure out my direction. An ongoing process.

So thank you for bearing with me as I flounder with my miserable insecurities and reassess what I’ll do next for myself. Thank you so much! <3

Anxieties & finally letting go of being a game artist

First, let’s just get into the ongoing fears and anxieties I’m managing:

Feelings of being irrelevant.

Being left behind, lonely and in the dark in life, love, art, career, with people, everything and accepting these feelings.

Most people are too busy & overwhelmed nowadays (including myself) with their own worries and responsibilities. And I’m probably wishing for things that aren’t even there or not what I actually need or want. More accepting and grateful with things since I’m adjusting and embracing the present better. It’s much better to be alone than be lonely with people.

Embrace things as they come, appreciate and take it slow with my few friendships and enjoy my love for solitude. Keep being awesome and evolving as myself. I’ll continue to be super grateful for what I have!

Floating and struggling between being unemployed and a freelancer.

Freelancing is generally long periods of surviving, working in your own isolated island, managing your mindset, doing your best with business, being professional with your clients and figuring out what the next project/plan would be. A lot of discomfort, stress, juggling many hats, growing pains, lonely isolation, self blame, despair, discerning what jobs are right for me, what compromises are worth making, tackling with time management, learning how to best work with a new client/project, questioning if this is even sustainable and if I’m really a fraud after all.

I don’t know if I can deal with the pressure of it all but I’ll keep going. :’) I’ve been on/off trying to learn and put together notes coherently with my own freelancing process so far. An ongoing process.

The reality how jobs and work don’t last a lifetime in this product driven world, whether it be working for others or for yourself.

There is no security and one always has to keep adapting and adjusting for the next thing. As disheartening and exhausting as it is for me at times, I know I cannot take things personally or get too hurt and jaded when things don’t work out and are usually out of my control anyway. Everyone deals with it one way or another. It’s hard and discouraging at times when facing the reality of business.

Most people in the industry are not your close friends and have their own lives, jobs and businesses to run. If you’re no longer needed, kind & generous employers and clients would support and help make the transition easier but ultimately you’re still being made redundant. If you’re looking for work and people don’t really respond, you need to have other financial support to keep staying afloat in the meantime. It’s not easy to process and detach yourself emotionally when your career goes off the path and into the woods.

Just have to make sure I don’t struggle too much on my own and keep being super grateful for all the people who are supporting me plus the opportunities and growth I’ve had so far! :’)

With deliberation, acceptance and self compassion, I have come to terms with and have decided what kinds of art I don’t want to do for others anymore.

This includes UI art, general world building/environment concept art, 3D/vector game art assets, environment art, typography, branding, corporate design, advertising design, publishing graphics, logos, package design or heavy vector based graphic design. Unless there’s an interesting character illustration or design involved in the art – I’ll do vector art and graphic design for that ;D

This is because these areas are really stressful, draining and detrimental to my mental health, thanks to my performance anxiety. Whenever I push myself to tolerate, study, adapt, problem solve and learn in these areas, I feel like I’m struggling, slow, inefficient, forcing, over compensating, incompetent, resenting, floundering and fighting with my gut feelings and inner resistance, weaknesses and betraying my own needs for creative and meaningful fulfillment. Here I burn out much, much faster and it’s much more time consuming.

At times it feels like I’m only doing this out of insecurity and fear of being out of a job and not because it’s right for me, playing to my strengths and inspiring for me. Many game artists are expected to be juggling lots of hats and as much as I’ve tried to do it for a long time, it’s overwhelming, draining and stressful for me. I’m not great at being a generalist art monkey.

I don’t often get to do character design, illustration or comics so it feels like I can’t do my best work. I don’t want to compromise and keep telling myself that life is full of tolerating and doing things I don’t enjoy and thrive in. That I should be grateful that I’m working at all in the games industry.

I feel like I compromised too much for myself. I don’t want to completely transform into a jaded, industry, resentful grump this way! Nooo! Not the dark side! Hey I am a grump but I don’t want to be completely indifferent and internally conflicted with myself :’)

I’ve done my best, learned many things, worked with a lot of great, kind people and pushed myself out of my comfort zone plenty of times. I’ve been doing this loosely over a span of 4.5 years and I think I’ve learned and experienced enough to decide that I don’t want to be a generalist game artist anymore. Now I want to let go with the resolve that it’s not for me.

I’ll celebrate and stay inspired by artists who excel under that umbrella instead :’) Such great artists are creative, wonderful, sensitive souls!

Hey I still enjoy creating characters, marketing illustrations and comics in general so I’m not completely quitting the games industry. I’m down to do character illustrations and portraits for games too! But it’s probably best not to call myself a games artist anymore because I don’t want clients/employers expecting me to do all the other things professionally :’)

Should I even be a character designer? My process.

Especially when a specialised “character designer” job in the local indie games industry does not often exist? Usually character design is only a small fraction of a game artist or concept artist’s job. There are very few AAA character concept artists or TV/animated feature character design roles and quality/technical standards are incredibly and increasingly high and competitive, even for junior roles.

With game character concept art for indie projects, many expect you to do production level art assets and animation as well. Just design and illustrate a character off the bat, right? But it’s essentially different frames of mind for me as one is design (messy creativity, problem solving, foundations, art direction & stylisation), another is illustration (painting, rendering, storytelling, polish, promotional level art) and the last is animation (life/acting, mechanics and movement). Gosh I have much to learn and I don’t feel that I have regular practice and enough hard work yet :<

For now I just want to wear and practice the character design and illustration hats, I’m not good nor efficient at the character painting and animation hats. It’s too much right now and I don’t really enjoy rendering things. :< Making character illustrations my way is fine though.

Fast, efficient turnarounds, iterations and nitpicking everything that makes up a great character design is a given too so the reality is soul crushing and puts me in a terrible scarcity, stressful and perfectionist mindset!

In an ideal world, I can be comprehensive, deliberate, slow and follow my own ideal character design process that involves:

  • research, reflecting and understanding the character brief and story
  • adapting to certain art styles & making studies,
  • complete, collaborate, problem solve, inspire and discuss rounds of messy explorations with the team/client/writer/artists (or just myself hoho ;D)
  • starting over due to a changing brief (sometimes the case for large projects)
  • learning & executing turnarounds, orthographic sheets, expressions and poses that are anatomically correct, mechanically useful for the project and believable,
  • taking my time testing and nitpicking character features, proportions, shape, costume and prop design and acting by seeing the character in action within the project
  • refining it after several non-linear rounds to reach an appealing, quality, lasting and dimensional character, to the best of my ability

I usually can’t do this in full, let alone in a sustainable way because this process of mine is too expensive and time consuming for an indie project. It’s too much of a luxury to push for as much time as it needs to make quality design & art as there’s a limit to time and budget after all.

Minimising and avoiding low quality work, wasted time, disappointment, stress, confusion, burnout and apathy resulting from lack of substantial story, pipeline, design, communication, management & clear direction is important!

This is why I sometimes work during my own personal time because I want to minimise compromising on my slow, deliberate process as much as possible. I’m very much a workaholic who goes super deep into something at my own pace and when my brain is done, I take longer breaks away the next day. At times I want to selfishly create character designs for my own sense of pride/ego and personal tastes, at the expense of my personal time and mental health.

Yes, definitely not very sustainable and healthy for me. If I go too far, it leaves me burnt out, feeling indifferent and exhausted with the resulting character design in the end. I hope to streamline this character design process the more confident, efficient and experienced I get. Or next time I’ll stop trying to limit and disappoint myself – instead I’ll embrace my long work hours and take a day off to make up for it.

If it’s established that character design is not too high of a priority then it’s much more practical and easier to compromise on creative growth, quality and personal fulfillment. Distance myself, put some ego aside and not let myself get too emotionally invested. Just design what I could come up with from the first few iterations/revisions and get “good enough to ship” done within a handful of days. Then maybe there’s time for me to refine it later.

Hey I have to do my best with what have and do my job! Involves less stress, emotional attachment, burnout and minimal amounts of revisions too. Undoubtedly it is less stressful getting it done in a few iterations while for other projects it’s necessary to do as many it needs to get it right.

Overall it’s not easy to reconcile and juggle the messy creative process for quality designs versus getting the job done efficiently & well enough. Compromising and adapting is a given anyway when working for and supporting clients because of all the many external factors involved. I probably need more experience at this as I am always learning. 😛

Should I even call myself a character designer?

I’m very hesitant, given how I don’t feel like I fit within a feature animation, TV animation or game character concept art space at the moment. I definitely need to learn & manage my performance anxiety so that I don’t burn out too.

My naive, silly, stubborn heart wants to focus on little character driven comic strips & illustration. But comic strips + illustration are less financially viable and feels more like an outlet and hobby for me as Patreon is not something to depend on for survival :’) I don’t know how that will work, nor do I have huge stories I want to tell. I tunnel vision into character design & illustration the most anyway.

A few kind people said that I do have it in me to do character design for a living and that it’s not impossible. It’s appreciated, heartwarming and encouraging while I will also remain cautiously optimistic. I find it difficult to expect or hope for anything more than rejection and apathy as the default :’)

Perhaps I need to finally own and commit to this desire, however far-fetched, terrifying and impossible it feels to me. I can’t hide behind the “safer” game artist route anymore. Time to listen to my heart better. Actually do and learn what scares and drives me the most. Discern my purpose and focus on my strengths along the way.

I’ll call myself a character designer for now. Because whether I become an established character designer or not, I just want to improve at character art on my own first. Approach character illustration in my own ways and focus on learning, designing & illustrating characters. Build up my confidence, process and skills and figure it out from there. Hey, I have my own high standards with character design and illustration to reach in general. ;D

Let’s see how I go in baby steps. Regardless, I hope to create something special, meaningful, fulfilling one day! :’)

The anxiety that comes with job hunting, breaking in, hustling, social networking, ignoring the cliques and proving your value all the time.

I know most of it is based on your portfolio and how great you are to work with. I just can’t help feeling like I can’t find a job, that I don’t fulfill a handful of job requirements, can’t fit in, how I don’t want to burn out with performance anxiety again and how I’d rather not work in an open office space too much. It’s been a difficult mental game.

But hey, I’m getting better at “this is who I am and this is what I can and cannot help you with. I don’t need to prove anything as I’ll always be learning and problem solving along the way.” And then everything else with jobs is out of my control.

Generally aware that I can’t completely avoid putting myself out there even though I’m not keen being in crowds or group social things. I’m more of a quiet, overwhelmed, listening grump with my low energy. (Hey, I just have enough stamina to learn from and deeply converse with a few people and then I need some recovery alone time ;P )

Well I’m around on social media again whenever I put out a post so let’s see how things go.

Ultimately I’ve been tackling whether I can serve and give value to others in a sustainable, healthy, meaningful, glorious, live giving, generous way to myself, to those that matter to me and the people who support my work.

Hey I’m sure I’m not alone feeling stuck like this. It happens when things come to a halt, require critical consideration and need to change.

Do I really want to keep working in the games industry? If I can create stylised characters, marketing comics, illustrating merch, illustrations and toony doodles for it, yes! Art that involves character illustration or design! Or things similar to my hand-drawn digital art I did for the Nanojam promotional art! Open for possibilities!

Do I want to keep dealing with aspects of game art I don’t enjoy and struggle with? No. No thank you. Even though wearing many hats is expected for a game or general concept artist.

I know graphic design is everywhere in visual communication and I don’t mind doing vector or voxel art especially if the project is actually fun and character focused for me. I just don’t want to do it as the main thing for my art career so I must make sure it’s suitable & interesting for me to learn, problem solve and experiment with. It’s a commitment after all!

I do feel super bad and feeling like I’m disappointing others when turning down potential projects that fit in my “no thanks, I’m not keen, it’s not what I do best and it will burn me out” category. It’s happened a bunch of times. 🙁 But I don’t want to keep doing what I don’t want to do – it’s a cycle. Because people will keep expecting me to do it. I don’t want to give others the wrong impression anymore and actually draw the line. Yeah, how dare you Leonie! How dare you have a backbone! :’)

I won’t say never ever but these are my feelings right now. If all this makes me irrelevant in the games industry then so be it. Wishing everyone the best! 😀

Do I fit anywhere else though? Where do I fit in, if at all? I don’t know because I still enjoy games in themselves so I’ll leave the door open on those questions. Life is hard and I’m figuring things out. :’)

Learning to let go and mourn about things & projects that don’t really help me right now. What excites me? What stresses me out?

The universal creative question and cycle of:

  • how can I dedicate myself to doing art without being inauthentic and still be of value to others?
  • How can I serve others, without burning myself out? I immediately assume that no one needs me :’)
  • What purpose and direction is best for me?
  • What advice is actually applicable, useful and right for me right now?
  • At what point should I stop planning and just do it along the way?
  • At what point should plan instead of constantly having a terrible, confusing, disheartening time ramming into dead ends?

Being present and patient with myself. Accept that my fears, anxieties, struggles and hopelessness are valid. Believing in my own decisions. And then have the resolve to do it, fail, get up, improve and do my best again.

Hey you’ll never feel ready. Especially when it’s scary & out of your comfort zone. Sometimes you need to fake confidence, use the anxiety as energy and push doubts aside. Nurturing the courage and drive to “deal with it” and “roll with the punches” again.

Stepping away from it all and figuring out what kinds of art I want to do as a career for myself was what I needed. Not that I am ever 100% certain.

Indeed it feels like I’m starting from scratch and especially when I don’t have work lined up. All I can trust is that I keep doing my best. Slowly finding the drive, determination and courage to keep going. And try things as much as I’m daunted and intimidated by putting myself out there, deal with intimidating business stuff and build my career again.

Aye, the mental game of hanging on and pushing through the volatile, tough, uncertain seas. Striving to be more forgiving with myself. See the goodness in life, in people and especially in myself again. Healing process is ongoing.

Please be kind. I’ll continue to slowly heal from my burn out. :’)

What’s this “progress updates” thing?

Posts like this one! As established some posts ago, most do not want to hear about my roughs, long rambles and journey like this one so I’m calling them as such so it’s easier to refer to.

As harsh as it sounds most people, potential collaborators, industry people, acquaintances and friends just want to see art if they’re interested enough and then move on with their busy lives. They don’t have time or care to read or go deeper about my life, studies, lessons and updates in such a busy world. Judging from the statistics of last/early this year, only a small handful of you come here.

This is too much information for most people – it’s not for everyone. Most people don’t care and are only after their own bests interests, naturally!

And that’s completely normal and fine. It’s freeing to remember too! As usual, I can link back and keep most of it here! People have the choice to not be overwhelmed by my reflective rambles and sketches/studies if they just stuck with social media and keep scrolling by ;D People don’t want to leave their social media platform anyway.

So thank *you* as you’re actually reading this!!

Shall mainly focus on my blog and the people who comment here. Given at how time consuming blog posts can be to write and consume, I have a weekly digest email newsletter, I’ll space out long and short posts accordingly and I’ve manually added an approximate reading time for long posts to help with this a little!

Hey most artists and people only have time to do social media, life and their job as it is! There really isn’t much of a tangible return doing these super time consuming blog posts as people are comfortable with short attention spans, just scrolling through art on social media. And social media generally is a lot of work, noise and social interactions in itself! Often draining for me!

I guess I want to mostly keep to my little blog learning bubble. I’ll interact with people when I’m ready. (:

Edit: in hindsight, I think progress updates will be embedded in every blog post anyway so labeling posts as such seems redundant now.

Flexible posting schedule & blog comments return!

I’m doing things at my speed! Excited!

I’ll be posting progress updates, art posts or important updates whenever I’m ready with something good to share! Mostly keeping it at least weekly or even twice a week. If I take some time off occasionally, so be it. Since I am blogging in my own personal time and it’s often a time consuming job in itself, I don’t want to push myself for the sake of posting to a schedule. This allows leeway for both busy shenanigans and quiet periods.

So note that most of the time, I will post art more than rambling lots! Less writing and more arting :0!!

Striving for freedom & flexibility to post quality things! 😀

Self care is important and I don’t want to burn myself out from posting consistently all the time. I’d rather not feel obligated and pressured to deliver when it comes to my own time and personal work. With this arrangement I feel more relieved, can take my time with my posts and take breaks!

Plus I can use social media less and respond during the days I put out a post – which will usually be once or so a week! Yay it’ll be okay, Leonie! Let go of the guilt and obligation to respond to others asap. I don’t have to spread myself thin, won’t use it everyday, keep it under 10 to 20 minutes in a given day and I don’t have to check it too much. By not being too much on social media, I can post with less performance anxiety too!

Occasionally I’ll use twitter for urgent updates, sudden changes, events and signal boosting too! But I’m more inclined to keep social media usage to a manageable, small level so I won’t be drained from it and consumed by it too much. I don’t check my feeds much anyway. Let’s see how I balance it.

As I said, I do have art posts ready in coming weeks! So if you’re coming along for the studies, learning & art journey, sign up for the newsletter! Or do your own thing. All good! 😀

Blog comments!

Originally I closed it all off because I was afraid of managing too much and social media in the long run.

But the downside:

  • I would rely on email too much
  • instead of blog comments being unmanageable, email becomes intimidating
  • it eliminates an option for people to casually respond to a blog post after reading
  • email tends to be direct and there’s a stronger obligation and pressure to reply to them
  • 1 to 1 deep email conversations are rare and difficult to maintain
  • people tend to just want to give their opinion and brain dump thoughts rather than continue the conversation and/or I don’t have anything in depth to add aside from reading and appreciating
  • I can minimise disappointment if the conversation suddenly stops on either end ;P

Opening blog comments again keeps blog related responses to comments rather than my email inbox which will be better for more urgent, important or private communications. People can respond to my posts without going through social media too.

To manage it better, I have turned off email notifications for comments and I’ll check when I’m ready – just like I do with social media. I’ll take my time and not stress about responding asap. I will read and appreciate them all!

And thank you so much for understanding and connecting here!

I really do enjoy blog comments because people are more thoughtful and free to express themselves without the limitations of social media. But people usually like and lurk over on social media than comment at the blog so it felt like I had to choose that over everything else.

Now I’m happy to keep my blog comments open regardless of that fact. (: Well if the post is months old, I turn off the comments ;P

Blog likes!

I’ve turned on wordpress likes so I can see what posts are actually helpful, appreciated and/or working.

I’m getting in a better headspace now so for these blog likes and sometimes social media likes, I’m loosely getting an idea on how I’m doing compared to my past posts rather than comparing myself harshly with other people and what the algorithm wants.

I hate that anxious, judgmental side of myself and it’s not necessarily helpful to me. As much as it’s a huge part of how I get my art out there, I don’t want my self worth to be measured by the amount of internet attention I get through comments, likes, follows and shares. My mental health and well-being and the people who matter to me are more important :’)

If you’re a silent reader, please consider giving likes if you appreciate a given blog post! As a lurker, I understand if that’s all the time and energy people have! Or if you want, leave a comment with feedback and share your thoughts & experiences! I’m open to learn, respect your perspectives and agree or disagree with you. Generally you’re helping me make future blog posts better! <3

The plan now: getting up & keep on rolling

Making a consistent, successful living as an artist for quality projects will take at probably 5, 7 or even 10 years of patience and hard, boring work to establish. Or die trying to make this work for me :’)

Who knows! I got lots of learn in business, art and life!

I shall keep going with art and follow my gut, even if I am technically unemployed right now. Maybe I’ll work in a studio one day where I can work in a quiet room or work from home most of the time. Or create my own IP. Or pivot several more times with my career. Shall stay open minded.

For now it’s learning, collaborating and working as a freelance artist and illustrator. Yes, I’m going to explore character design, short comics and illustration for myself! Making art fun, fulfilling and enjoyable for me again! I’m terrified because there’s countless artists with better art, experience, passion and creativity than I do!

Maybe character design won’t work out as a job. Perhaps it’s not for me either, is unrealistic and I have to start from scratch several more times. That I didn’t want it enough as I thought I did. As much as I tunnel vision into characters, that’s okay. Maybe I’m more of a cartoonist after all but as I said, that is harder to measure financial viability. I’ve faced this existential crisis before and I’m at peace with letting that go too if it’s not working for me.

At least I hope to learn and make my own characters, creations, illustrations, prints/stickers and comics in the meantime. See how I go as I try things. Give it my best before I scare myself away from doing it. I’ll definitely learn other things and expand along the way too! Hope to consistently collaborate and work with wonderful people on meaningful projects!

I’ll manage my anxieties and focus on getting stuff done the best I can! Create fun things, be true to myself, seek knowledge and understanding, experiment, deliberately practice and see what works for me! Explore and strive for meaning, purpose and progress.

Eventually I want to be low-key excited about what I do in a sustainable way without burning myself out. Working on taking care of myself and currently feeling okay. Okay enough to be back. Practicing a more brave, positive mindset! <3

Phew! It took me months to write this scary post and deliberately think over what I should do from here! Thank you so much for reading it all the way to the end!

I wish I could say “I’m better now!” in this post. But I don’t have life figured out. And that’s okay. For now it’s “I’ll keep working and adapt at it.”

Let’s see where it goes.

Boring birthday summary!

Yes I actually stopped being a hermit for the movie and actually ate out. Then it ends up being a rainy day :’) And even though I have some story things that bugged me, Toy Story 4 is so thought provoking, bittersweet, hurts at the right spots, wonderfully animated and existential. Glad I watched it and I kept thinking about my own purpose too.

Digressing! People are super dependant on facebook to remember birthdays and I have few close friends so I was pleasantly stunned when a couple of kind peeps emailed me birthday wishes late last month! Thank you!! ;__; <3

And thanks so much for the small handful of sweet people who reached out to check up on homebody, isolated, out of the loop Leonie too! I’m not dead yet, still alive :’)

Half of 2019 is over. Wow.

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