The Sad Truth of Working as an Artist

People have this image of artists being these ethereal creatures who flit about in a constant state of inspiration.

I hate to tell you, but that’s a giant stinking lie.


Sure, there are productive days, but the things many artists deal with every day are problems of motivation and guilt that they can’t seem to produce in the same effortless way they’ve been lead to believe they should.

Every artwork, every great artist, every sketch, every illustration, every design, every masterpiece is the result of a huge amount of effort, love, stress and heartache. It is the product of every moment of study, education and practise.

So, if you’re a consumer of art, remember that artists don’t “whip something up” quickly and then spend your valuable bought time faffing about.

And if you’re an artist, take heart. You’re not having a harder time than “real” artists, you’re not deficient in any way, and what you do is worth that worry, frustration and motivation.

I don’t even mean this in the cutesy anecdote way- you know the one, where the guy says “your art’s too expensive, it took you ten minutes”, and the artist replies “getting to that point took 40 years”. I’m not being metaphorical here.

With the exception of brief periods of intense production (which I later learned was hypomania, but that’s another story) the production of art is a combination of intense discipline, motivation, and a constant battle with demons both inside and out.

One of those demons is the image of a “real” artist.

Let’s slay that one now.


  1. You are amazing, I love you.

  2. You know as well as anyone that I’m a frustrated creative on the inside, but most of the time I’m glad that it’s not my life, because of things like this.

    One day, when I’m a millionaire, I’ll be your patron, and you’ll be my artist-at-court.


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