Monday, May 6, 2013

The Let-Down

One thing I hear a lot from other paper doll artists and collectors is that at one point they became to busy for paper dolls. I always thought maybe I just loved them more since I never have. I am starting to think it's because I fought tooth and nail for it. It's really hard these days, I feel like I've drawn nothing but doodles in the last year.

I'm not giving up, but I'm realizing that I am essentially in the same position those others were. Maybe it's just hitting me a few years later.

I'm 29 next month, I have two kids 10 and 6 years, most days I watch my niece who is 4. I thought it would be easier once they were a little older and both in school, but I feel like it's more intensive now. I'm trying to raise good people. I am not working currently, but I am looking for a job. I never feel I have the time for art anymore, I feel guilty and sad about it. Paper dolls are important to me and help me feel centered, but for some reason I'm not doing much creating. I am still cutting out my double sets and buying some PDs now and then, but it's not as satisfying for me.

I do think about drawing and this blog every day, no exaggeration.

Does anyone who's been through this have any thoughts or tips on how I can get back on track? I want to, but I've always struggled with motivation.

I wanted to touch base with you all and say that while I don't know when I'll be drawing again, I hope it's soon, I hope it's tomorrow. I'm just not sure I can make any promises that I can keep just now.


  1. Thank you so much for your sweet comment on my blog. I had to hop overe here and saw this post- so I couldn't help but to comment. For me, my falling away from creating paper dolls is more because I was no longer finding them to be satisfying for me, and in my life I need something like that. I am commenting because I think you have the same feelings about paper dolls that I have had about writing (which has been much more a part of my life, even from childhood, than paper dolls). For several years I have found myself saying the same things you mentioned in this post. You feel you don't have time, it makes you sad. You don't want to give that up in your life. I think for me, just recently, I decided I needed to just go back to that and find some way, even if a new way, to incorporated it back into my life. My new blog that is focusing on my poetry is what I came up with. My goal is to write for 10 minutes every day (or brainstorm, edit, anything related). It is really starting to become something fulfilling for me- I am loving it. Maybe something like that could be right for you? Taking 10 minutes every day (not long) to create. Wether it is planning, rough drafts, inking, coloring or whatever. It may give you a way to keep that in your life, so that you don't feel like you are neglecting something that is a part of you (which is kind of how I have felt about not writing for so long). Hope this has helped in some way!

    1. Thank you. I think you may be right, that's exactly how I feel. I'm going to have to try it, because I hate feeling sad when I think about paper dolls.

  2. I found when my son is young I also had very little time to be creative myself as everything I did revolved around him. As he got older and began to entertain himself (tweeny age) I suddenly had time to myself again - it was like re-discovering everything & quite exciting! The only thing I can venture to suggest is to have a fixed children's bedtime and then (if you are not too tired) make some time for yourself (that's what I did and it helped to have an understanding husband who understood I needed my hobbies!)

    1. Fortunately I do have those things.

      I'm, honestly, not the best housekeeper. I ask myself how I can justify drawing when the kitchen floor could use a mopping and then I don't do either. The floor eventually gets mopped, but the drawing never does. I also feel ashamed for complaining about something I can do something about.

      I did still draw frequently after my daughter was born, but after my son, it just feels there's so much less time and so much more to do in it.

      I think I'm going to build on RLC's idea and schedule myself drawing time. It's just hard to have faith in my follow through.

  3. So, this is a long comment. Forgive me.

    Keeping up with a blog is one of the hardest and most rewarding things, I've ever done. However, you're right... it's really hard. And I don't even have kids (though I do work full time), I think you have to decide what you're working for and what you want and how much time you want to spend on your work.

    You also have to cut yourself a little slack; at least I have to always cut myself a little slack.

    For me, and this isn’t true for everyone, PTP keeps me going when I’m ready to stop. I’d be drawing paper dolls even if I didn’t have the blog, but the blog gives me a reason to keep drawing even when I’m not feeling like I want to keep drawing.

    However, I suspect they are people for whom something like a blog is just awkward unwanted pressure. And I think maybe then just drawing is enough.

    For me, it’s about rhythm. Once I have a rhythm, than I feel like everything falls smoothly into place. When I wait too long between posts or I let myself slide, than I fall out of the rhythm and suddenly everything takes longer.

    (Of course, it doesn’t really take longer, it just feels longer.)

    And I look at pages of unfinished work and I tell myself, “I’m never going to finish this…”
    And then, here is what I do… I set a timer. I got into my kitchen and I set my oven timer for 25 minutes. Then I sit down at the dining room table (or my desk) and I draw. I ink. I do something. I do it consistently. And then the timer goes off and sometimes I walk away.

    Or usually, I realize, “Wow, I managed to ink two pages. Huh… maybe I should keep going…” And I keep going.

    The timer is what saves me. It lets me budget my time properly. It reminds me that even 15 minutes of work is time enough to get something done, even if its just scanning a few pages of something. The timer and I are old good dear friends.

    Maybe it’ll work for you too.

    And I'd miss your blog if it went away, but I also understand that life is complicated and sometimes more important things have to take over.

    1. You are 100% forgiven. I love long comments, they tend to mean thought. I also love comments from you being as you used to be my proof that I wasn't the only teenager out there who made paper dolls. It meant a lot to me. I've been a big fan for apparently over 10 years. (Mindblowing! Numbers don't lie, I haven't been 16 for nearly 13 years.) Sorry about the rambling.

      I want the extra pressure, I am a skilled procrastinator. I guess I just don't know where to start and feel a bit overwhelmed. I feel like I'm letting my readers down. I think I'm going to have to make a plan to set aside time like you do. I just have to make sure I don't just put it off a few months.

      Thank you for commenting, it means a lot to me.

  4. I, too, have kids and it's tough to keep up with creativity. For me, I schedule it. I make every attempt to post on the blog Mondays & Fridays. It's an ambitious schedule with two little ones (3 1/2 and 15 months) but I need it. Schedule it. Make it your job to take care of yourself! Sometimes that means I skip mopping the floor, or we have frozen pizza for dinner that night.

    Also, for reference: I gave up art completely for 2 years in college. Just gave it up. I had drawn every day for a decade and then just stopped. I realized I missed it. It took a while to sweep away the cobwebs and get back into it, but I did. Start small & slow. Prioritize it into your day. Maybe learn a new technique or try a new medium. Don't judge the new work, just create it.

    A happy person makes a better mother. Trust me on that one!

  5. Yea she has 3 kids now and I'm her oldest I was looking up names of paper doll people I saw before at a convention during my birthday and then I remembered mom did some so I googled and found this blog, I'm 15 now yee