My husband and I are both Ph.D.’s in biology, so we know a lot about long term goals and long term commitment. However, those 5-6 years goals were very well defined in our life and made it easy to focus: I need to pass this test, I need and A in this class, I need to learn this technique, I need to have this experiment done by next month, I need to defend the thesis in April. Now we have both graduated and we were talking about the lack of directionality that comes with the freedom of just going to work. He confessed to me that he needs short term goals to feel that he is going somewhere.
I agree. I am the same. While I am happy not to have to stress out about thesis deadlines, in art I set some short term
goals to achieve what I want and get myself motivated. I find that saying “I need to improve composition” is not enough for me to really focus on studying composition. Now saying “My next image will have a focal point following the rule of thirds” makes it easier for me to get it done.
I also find that I can keep myself more motivated to finish a piece when I have a deadline. Challenges and competitions are really good for that. Often times I take part in challenges that I know I have no chance of winning, just because knowing that I have to have the image done for a certain date will not allow me to get side tracked. And as much as I like to draw to myself, I think I get the better results with those kind of works in which I am a little restricted by topic and I have to push myself to get the work done on time.
For example, take the image above. This image was created for a contest on Addictive Hobby called Monsters and Nightmares. My objectives for this piece were to work on folds, improve storytelling and not having the main character dead center in the canvas. I think that it came up pretty good and it gave my art a push in the right direction.
Now I am working on a commissioned piece. My objectives are to work with the rule of thirds, improve values (Thank you Karyn!) and work out perspective with a full background. For my next piece values and a nice character design will be involved.
What keeps you motivated and how do you set up your goals? If you have any tips that you would like to share, I listen.