I find it terribly ironic that I've intended to write this post, about distractions, for several weeks now. And, well, I've been distracted!
It's incredibly interesting to me the more time I spend with working artists the level of commitment they put into their craft. Twelve and Fourteen hour days spent in the studio, 6 or 7 days a week. It's this singular, directed focus that makes them successful, that elevates their work beyond that of their peers. The reason I find it interesting is that it is in direct conflict with what I perceive to be the nature of the artistic mind. Most artists I know are also craftsmen (or women), musicians, or writers. They have a multitude of "non-professional" creative skills. I for one have found myself pulled away from the studio to build furniture, craft leatherwork masks, "weave" a chain-maille shirt, play drums in a band, or a whole slew of other creative pursuits that will never further my illustration career but somehow aid in keeping me sane, and hopefully allow me time to come back to my "real work" with a fresh set of eyes. Having a kid only adds to the opportunities for distraction, as my latest little project proves.
Around my son's last birthday, my wife and I decided we needed to get a toybox for my son's growing collection of wheeled doo-dads and plastic thingamajigs. My brother in law, being a reasonably skilled carpenter, decided he would give a gift certificate for toy box construction as his gift. Little did he know what he was stepping into. After several sketches and designs, someone (I think my wife) suggested we build a toybox to look like a school bus, given my son's fascination with the bus parking lot barely visible from our back yard. We were off to work, sketching, prototyping, cutting, routing, painting, and improvising at every turn. Luckily, after far too many work sessions, everyone was somewhat pleased with the final outcome (as with any "custom" project, there's lots of little personal touches, from the father/son portrait, to the license plate to the id number on the bus-- lots of fun to play with):