I though opening this post with drawings of a bum-fuzzled little girl was a nice complimented the "What's the point? Should i just chuck it all? Quit? Retire? Am i creatively losing my focus? Out of ideas? Spent? " Don't worry, i'm not there right now. But we all ask ourselves this sometimes, don't we?
Also, thanks to Chris for reaching out and being so honest and frank about it in his comment, that took a lot of guts. ( 2am after several days of sleep, i imagine it's pretty easy to feel creativity dwindle a little. ) I know can't answer that question for Chris, or anyone... but it's once HAVE asked myself that question at various times.
For what it's worth, believe it or not, i struggled with finding a voice for the better part of 10 years. But i was more stupid and stubborn you guys, intent on ignoring feedback from others and make every artistic mistake in the book.
Most of us don't get the red carpet rolled out. It might seem like that for someone like me, but if i wasn't stupid enough to stick around for 10 years *before* the Marvel Covers, or Maxx, Zero girl Bimbo, whatever... then it might not have even happened. and tons of guys put in 20 years and never find creative fix or a wider audience.
Some just have beats down the bushes to FORDGE their own path. Alex Pardee is a good example. Sometimes their way is not even in comics or illustration, some people paint after work, weekends, or when-ever the muse strikes. Spared their creativity those bone crunching deadlines work-for-hire artist can't escape.
As i veer dangerously close to becoming almost twice your age, i too sometimes asking myself: "Have i done this before? Draw this face one too many times? Stuck in feed-back-loop? Inch by inch.. slopping into being a 'hack'. How do i keep this (face, figure, panel) fresh and not stale or boring? The same concerns you talk about, just from the a different age.
So all that proves is these questions don't ever totally 'go away,' do they? They are 'unpleasant friends' to all us artists, like it or not. In my case, these have questions CAN kick my ass, force me to work a little harder, wake up, not take ANYTHING for granted. My wife, my work, even flawed faces i draw, of that Certain Angle of that one figure i will NEVER will be able to totally nail down, EVER... no matter how many years i keep trying.
Because, for me, (and i can only speak for myself, duh)... for me... with a mind as crazy as mine... ***anything*** that take my mind OFF my neurosis... or OFF my screwed up flawed drawings... and instead puts my mind safely back ON the 'Physical Act Of Creating' itself... for me that's the closest i'll get to any kind of 'answer'.
NO... your not nuts.
Yeah, it CAN suck. Sometimes.
I don't mean to come across as self-pitying either, i know i'm hella luckier than most. I won't presume to know you Chris, or your personal or professional situation. But if i were you, No... i would not chuck it all. Not just yet.
Creativity can grow. Morph. Mutate. Mine did. Does. For better and worse. Frustration that our drawings don't look like the picture we have in our heads … is always a struggle. For everybody. Like that De Niro line in Brazil: Were all (stuck) in this together.
Sometimes these creative droughts CAN begat some really awesome stuff. Sometimes, ICK..! Even a little self-compassion. I'd told this before, but there are about the only two artists i keep coming back to are Jeffery Catherine Jones and Moebius. Not saying their the best, just the two i keep fishing inspiration out of. Probably just me.
Always, many years ago at a comic con, i cornered Moebuis and showed him page after page of Epicures art… neurotically pointed out what i considered all the flaws on every single panel. confessed i was in a rut, stuck in detail-for-details-sake, couldn't seem to draw anything new or original..
After i was finished, i sat there, spent and empty. He sat there looking at my work, then at me, hand on my shoulder. He finally said in his thick french accent.
" I have it.. know your problem is?" - "what" i asked?
" ..too hard on yourself. "
hang in there buddy.
PS: Jon will throw up a new chickens page i did on Monday.. and if you liked the First Batch of 'up close pics' i did above... then check out the Second Batch of these up close pics at the Chickens site.