Life, Ramblings

Job Trials and Assessments

Hi everyone!

Well it’s been a while since my last update and it’s been an interesting few weeks! The short version of what happened was that I was invited to do a week’s paid trial with a business in Melbourne, while at the same time had the first assessment for my 3D Animation course due. So, needless to say, I haven’t been working on the challenge I set myself at the beginning of the month. I will however go over my reflections on what’s been happening since my last post. This’ll be a bit of a ramble and is more me trying to make sense of what I’ve been doing for the last three weeks than anything else.

First of all the work trial was a great opportunity and gave me a good deal to think about. I applied for the job on Tuesday three weeks ago and got an invitation the following day to come and work with them for a week to see how I went. I drove as far as Bendigo, which is a nine hour trip as it is, then caught the train into Melbourne to stay with my godmother.

The week itself was a positive experience. I had a feeling that I wasn’t the sort of person they were looking for, mainly because the work required quite a heavy use of InDesign which I am hardly experienced in. However, they still kept me on for the rest of the week, taught me as much as they could and provided me with very helpful feedback and advice at the end. They paid me for the week, gave me good advice on how I can proceed in my job searching (namely, learning how to use InDesign) and offered to be a reference. So all in all very positive and generous. I also got to spend some time with my godmother who is awesome and catch up with my cousin who is also a talented artist!

Despite this being such a great experience and opportunity, it wasn’t without some less positive aspects as well. It’s caused me to have to take a step back and consider what I really want to achieve. It’s also brought up a few questions about my physical and mental health that I may not have taken seriously enough. I certainly felt more homesick than expected to and being ill didn’t help much either. I won’t dwell on this too much now but it’s certainly a lot to think about.

Despite all of the emotional turmoil I still managed to submit the first assessment for my 3D Animation Foundations course. This included loglines, a synopsis, character designs, environment designs, storyboards and some sundry documentation for an animation that will be submitted at the end of the course. The brief is that it must be a short (10 – 30 second) animation starring a robot that either floats or has wheels. The course goes over the processes involved in making an animation, including basic modelling and animation in Maya (which I think is a fantastic way to start).

Jessica_Sinclair_Robot_Concepts_04
Final designs for my animation’s robot character

I got 100% for the assessment, which basically just means I handed in everything that was supposed to be handed in. Even better my teacher was impressed with my work and gave me super positive feedback for everything! This has motivated me to keep going, because with my own anxiety and comments from certain people I was starting to have some doubts about if doing this course would be a step in the right direction.

This week we started learning Maya. Due to illness, I’ve missed the lessons but fortunately they’re recorded for students, so I’m now in the process of going over those. First task was to make a snowman, which was fun!

snowman_wip
I will add colour later

So, despite what’s happened in the last few weeks, it’s back to business as usual. I’m going to attempt to finish off those projects that have been sitting on my hard drive for ages (now that I’ve sorted out what will just be sketches and deleted all the unwanted projects). Hopefully I’ll make some progress on that in the next few weeks. I’ll also keep focusing on my course and look for a course that teaches InDesign. On top of that I will be taking steps to improve my health.

See you for now!

Ramblings

Intro: Hunting for Motivation

(Complete with hastily drawn cartoons.)

meet-the-artist
Meet the Artist meme

Hi there 🙂

My name is Jess and I’m an artist and graphic designer. I’m introverted and a bit of a geek. My interests include video games, comics/graphic novels, manga and anime, Dungeons and Dragons and British crime dramas. I like drawing, storytelling, reading, music (except pop and country), food, beagles, ginger, tea and (plus anything in the meme above that I’ve missed).  Most of all I love learning!

This blog will basically be about my art adventures as I attempt to boost my motivation and productivity through learning new things. Here I will post my progress as I improve on existing skills and learn new ones, in the form of sketches, WIPs, writings and links to helpful resources such as tutorials, articles and references.  Most of all it’ll be something I can come back to each week and say “This is what I’ve achieved”. It is more for my own benefit, however, if anyone else finds it educational then that’s great!

I Have a Problem…

I know I’m not the only one who’s experienced this either. I’m stuck in a job that isn’t that exciting, plus the added frustration of searching for a new job (long distance).  When I’m not doing those two things I have the bad habit of sitting in front of the TV, half watching shows that aren’t really that interesting and are probably rotting my brain. I’m doing it now in fact, as I write this.

should-n-shouldnt
Hastily drawn cartoon of what I do with my time vs what I should be doing (I’m not left handed btw lol)

I know what I should be doing, the challenge is finding the motivation to do it. For ages, I’ve been coming up with excuses but if I’m really honest with myself, the only thing or person I can blame is me. I’m responsible for what I do. Granted, a long-term struggle with depression hasn’t been helpful, but the only way I can improve that is to be proactive!

First I did some (very quick) research, because I’ve been told I’m good at researching things. There are plenty of articles out there on how to increase your motivation levels. Here’s three I got in my Google search that I found interesting:

9 Steps to Staying Motivated, for Artists, Makers and Creative Freelancers

How to Start Making Art Again

5 Ways to Rediscover Your Art and Reclaim Your Passion

Reading these articles and hearing other people’s experiences gave be a fair idea about what I want to do next.  I’ve picked things that I think will work for me, but different things may work for different people.

Plan of Attack!

For now I’m going to focus on:

  • Working with my strengths
  • Monitoring my mood, so making my workspace as inviting as possible.
  • Breaking bad habits bit by bit. I’ll start with not sitting in front of the TV as soon as I get home.
  • Removing excess baggage. Letting go of projects I haven’t worked on for a while.
  • Setting goals and participating in challenges.
  • Being accountable (which is what this blog and social media is for!)

I’m already happy with my workplace, so it’s just a matter of keeping it clean and tidy (and switching on the fairy lights because I’m easily amused :D).  Breaking bad habits is just a matter of persistence and willpower, which I think will get easier as I get better at the other points. Because of the isolated nature of the place where I live I’ll have to rely on the internet to remain accountable, (although I may explore the option of starting a local sketch jam if I get the courage).

My greatest strength is my love of learning (hence the main premise of this blog). I’m already due to start AIE’s online 3D Animation Foundations course tomorrow (can’t wait!!), but I would like to work on my current skills too.

As a start, I’ve made a list of strengths, weaknesses and new things I’d like to learn. Please note that this is my own personal assessment of my current skills. Just because I’ve marked something as a strength doesn’t mean I’m terrific at it, just as I may not be completely useless at something I’ve marked as a weakness. It’s just what I’m comfortable with and there is always room for improvement!

strengths-and-weaknesses-table

To keep momentum going (and so I don’t have the excuse of “I have no inspiration”) I’m going to set goals and participate in different challenges (and competitions if I have the courage) throughout the year. There are heaps of artistic challenges out there, and I’ll go over the ones I want to do later. For now, I’m just going to set myself my own personal goal; to clean up my hard drive. By the end of the month I’d like to have gone through all the half-finished projects I have and either finish them, decide to keep them as a sketch, or delete them entirely. Hopefully that’ll make my workload less daunting and open up my time for projects that I really want to do.

Hopefully all of this will keep me on the right track.  I’ll find my motivation again, learn new things and break bad habits! Sound like a plan? I hope so, or I face remaining in this rut forever (and looking like a loser on the internet :P). Got any other suggestions or your own experiences? I’d love to hear from you 🙂