When They Call What You Do A Hobby

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A hobby, according to the dictionary is “Something you do outside of your current occupation for fun and relaxation with no intentions on making a profit.”
There are a lot of people out there who do creative things just for the fun of it. Just creating something and possibly sharing it with others brings them joy and satisfaction. But I get the impression that the general public assumes that any creative pursuit that doesn’t make you famous or is bringing in a substantial amount of money is nothing more than a hobby.
For some of us artists having someone call what you do a hobby is like watching someone kick your beloved grandmother in the stomach. Your immediate reaction may be to snap back and say “It’s not a hobby!” but that could lead to a debate that might leave you feeling more vulnerable or even cause you to question what you do. Sometimes it’s just best to imagine Godzilla biting their head off and then walking away while reminding yourself that they don’t know any better. As frustrating as it may be, accept that this is a part of “paying your dues” for being an artist. People often only see the end result of things and forget that every meaningful artist with a creative endeavor had a beginning somewhere, maybe a penniless one in obscurity or one born out of just having fun, but it was a beginning none the less and more often than not it didn’t lead to immediate riches and instant fame. Their assumptions about your craft says more about their limited understanding and less about your capabilities or resolve. Anyone who has ever tried to build or create anything knows that the obvious rewards tend to come after much effort, patience, persistence and work….lots of work. So unless a person comes out and specifically says that what they do is a hobby or that they are a hobbyist, it’s best for people not to make such assumptions. But unfortunately some people just don’t have that kind of insight. In the meantime as a little incentive always keep in mind that the day when you are making a steady $2k a month from your art you will be able to look at them and smile with a smirk of satisfaction while thinking to yourself “And you called it a “hobby”“.

7 Tips On Stippling

Here are a few things I’ve learned as a stipple artist:

   1. Before you even begin get into a Zen state of mind. This is not a craft for the speedy and the quick. You really do have to prepare your mind to slow down and be in it for the long haul. Think of it as meditation. If you have to start off with doing it for only 10-20 minutes at at time, that’s fine. Take breaks and then come back to it. Whatever you do don’t  force it otherwise you’ll end up hating the drawing and spend the rest of your time just wishing you could hurry up and finish.
   2. When you do your underlying linework don’t make the lines too dark. You want your lines to be light but visible otherwise they’ll be a pain to erase after you lay down your ink and you may inadvertently erase some of your ink, dulling your drawing.
   3. Don’t tense up. Holding your pen tighter won’t help you get done any faster. You want a slightly loose grip with a moderate stippling pace so that your hand won’t tire quickly.
   4. Whenever you’re not stippling put your cap back on your pen or put it away, even if you’re just reaching for a drink. I’ve had one too many mishaps from simply reaching for my phone or moving to pet my cat only to look back at my drawing and find unintended pen marks on it.
   5. Work in small sections at a time. I’ve found that covering the portion of the drawing that I’m not working on with a piece of paper keeps me from feeling overwhelmed at how much I have to stipple and focused on the portion that I’m working on. Plus the paper keeps the oils from your hand from getting on the drawing.
   6. If you get sleepy go to bed or take a nap. Don’t try to push through it. Trust me, stippling while sleepy is a sure way to end up with mistakes.
   7. Most importantly….BREATHE…and always keep a charged up mp3 player or iPod loaded with some good music handy.