I've been an artist by trade alone for nearly 2 years now, before that, I worked nights in a part time job for many, many years and I remember thinking if I would ever 'make it' as an artist.
Now that I've got myself into a position where I don't need a part-time job to sustain myself, and get work on a semi-regular basis (basically, 'made it' as an artist), I've noticed the next hurdle approaching. This time, it's me not being a very good artist.
It's common to be a bit self-depreciating while in the arts as usually you're your own critic, because if you don't enact some kind of quality control upon yourself, you're in danger of believing that you're a better artist than you actually are, and would never improve. You're all to aware of how your work should have turned out, aware of the time restraints, mistakes and decisions that made your latest job another disappointment. Other people don't see it that way of course, they look at the finished piece and judge it solely on first impressions. But you're still left thinking that you could of done something really good if you had more time, more control.
I'm at a point now where I am trapped in a cycle. Being an artist is hard in it's own way, and thats proving that you're worth something. Art work is often under-valued, both financially and in literally being considered a lesser career choice. Your pay is always the 'flexible' one, you're always last to get paid after the 'real' people have taken their cut.
My other problem is that a lot of the jobs I get are poorly paid, not because the clients are trying to screw me, but because they aren't massive computer game or comic companies, they are small businesses trying to get their small ideas out there.
I need the work, because I have nothing else, so I take it. Because it's poorly paid, I have to take whatever else comes my way while also working on that job. So I've ended up working twice as much for half the money, which eats into any personal time I have. Personal time, as well as socialising, also means time I spend bettering myself as an artist. Learning new techniques, creating actual art rather than working on other peoples ideas, making a name for yourself as being more than an artist for hire.
Now, I'm running out of money and time. I never see anyone. And all what for? I've spent a long time being an artist, but haven't really produced any actual art, haven't really improved, and I'm still pulling in the poorly paid work I used to get back when I had to work part-time. I'm trapped, I can't take time out to sort myself out, because I need money to live. And thats what it comes down to in the end. Money.
I'm not sure what to do.