Monthly Archives: May 2013

The Habit of Art

In college I overheard two professors talking about a student. One was laughing about how this student hadn’t turned in their assignment using the excuse of not having enough time. The other made a quip about how this student would never succeed because artists never have to find the time for art. Art should be like breathing.

I remember being a little insulted by this conversation. I was not the student they were talking about, but I was struggling to fit art into my schedule. Sure I doodled anytime I had a pen and paper, but I was having trouble finding the time to do formal studies and finished pieces.

The thought that “real” artists naturally do art all of the time was something that has haunted me for a long time. The more I became involved in the art community, the more I realized that I wasn’t alone in my struggle. Art takes work. You have to practice.  You have to be dedicated to be a successful artist. You have to continually grow and develop your skills. You have to learn about business and marketing. All of this takes time. In many cases, you have to try to fit this all in with other responsibilities (family, second job, etc). You kind of have to really want to be an artist.

So, were those professors right all of those years ago?If you don’t instinctively do art all of the time, will you fail?

The answer isn’t that cut and dry. If you don’t make time for it, you probably wont succeed. You can learn how to make doing art a habit. However, making and breaking habits is difficult work. You have to change the way you think of things. It takes time.

I’m still working on changing my habits. I want to up the time I spend on formal studies and not just finished pieces.

If you are interested in how to make or break habits, I recommend this book.

Making Habits, Breaking Habits: Why We Do Things, Why We Don’t, and How to Make Any Change Stick by Jeremy Dean

It talks about the science behind making and breaking habits and gives you some ideas on how to change habits. I’ll warn you though, that Mr. Dean points out that we are not as in control of our brains and habits as we might think. Changing isn’t easy.

I have no affiliation with Mr. Dean, the publishers, or sellers of the book. I actually started reading it to see if it could help me develop better fitness and nutrition habits. The more I read, the more I realized it could help me with my art too.

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