On the Subject of Burnout
If you talk to any artist, chances are exceedingly good at some point in time they’ve burnt out. If you ARE an artist, chances are super good that at some point in time you will burn out. Probably more than once.
Burnout is something pervasive in the arts, like writers block, but instead of not knowing where to take a story you don’t have the energy to press the keys and in the worst cases the very thought of looking at your word processor fills you with anxiety, sadness, and revulsion.
Art is a lot of work. It takes a piece of you to make it, more than just the effort it takes to move the pencil around. And when you strive to always improve you spend too much time being self critical and not enough time being pleased with your efforts. You burn the candle at both ends and eventually you’re giving up too much of yourself and not getting enough back. Art goes from being a passion to a challenge to a task to a chore to a burden to a anxiety to a depression. One that seems to go on endlessly because you can’t stop making art. Art is a cornerstone of your identity. Without art, who are you? But art makes you miserable now. You hate yourself for hating the art because you hate the art you hate yourself. But of course it’s not the art doing this to you. It’s the burnout.
It’s not that you’re sick of art, that you no longer find art fulfilling. It’s that you’re burnt out and depressed. Burnout doesn’t cripple you forever as an artist. It doesn’t mean your days of creating are over. It doesn’t even mean that you’ve failed as an artist.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is that fixing burnout, getting out of that art depression, requires you to change things up. What you need to change depends a lot on why exactly you’re burnt out. Maybe you’re overworked and you need to take on fewer projects. Maybe you’ve too many or too tight deadlines and you need to permit yourself time to breathe. Maybe the work you’re doing no longer fulfills you emotionally or monetarily and you need to change projects. Maybe you need a break, maybe you need to shift your priorities, maybe you just need to be kinder to yourself.
This, of course, is all much much easier said than done when you’re on a deadline and you’ve got bills to pay. Which, in a round about way, brings me to the point of this post.
I’ve been burnt out for a while now. It’s why we brought on Rebecca to help with the colors in The Choir of Dr Hymn. It’s why Michael returned to drawing the one shot Heavy Metal Showdown. It was all to give me some time and some space to get my head right.
And I’m better now. I’m doing art for my own sake, which I post to my Patreon, if you wanna see it. I’m taking commission work again which helps give me some variety as well as helps shore up my income. And I’m still drawing Star Power, and frankly what I’ve drawn of issue 26 is some of my very best work. I’m happy with my art. I’m finding balance and making time for other joys in my life.
But I’m also not 100%.
I haven’t found that insane focus that let me crank out page after page after page. I’m still distractible prone to losing time. It’s something I’m working on though, but I’m trying to not be too hard on myself about it taking time, because that of course would just make it worse.
So what does this mean? Primarily it means that Star Power will not be maintaining the 3x a week update cycle it has held for the last 6 years. At least for a little while. We’re posting pages to the Star Power Patreon as soon as I’m finished drawing them, so if you can’t wait, that’s where to find them. We’ll be updating this site on a Monday/Wednesday basis for the time being. That schedule may change, and we’ll keep you informed. And if that’s too slow for you, then you can wait for the issues to be finished and become available through Comixology or DriveThru Comics, or come to print. Star Power will continue, just a little differently than before.
Change is necessary to overcoming burnout. But you can overcome it. I can overcome it.
Thank you all for your support and understanding.