Today I was talking to a friend and during the conversation I mentioned how I was having trouble coming up with a concept for something I was working on. Their response..

“Adam, you’ve plateaued.”

So that was my initial reaction. I then took some time to process the information and came to the conclusion that they were RIGHT!

This isn’t a death sentence for me as an artist but it could have been. I feel I’ve subconsciously been aware of this for some time but am very grateful that my friend brought it out front and center for me to deal with.

These are new thoughts for me so I still have much to process but some of the things that are now apparent to me are the facts that I’ve mostly been working in my comfort zone and have developed an aversion to risk. As to the reasons why this happened, well I can only speculate that getting older and becoming a dad may be part of it. Those factors gave safety a higher level on my value chart than when I was younger. I’m sure there’s others as well but I’ll figure that all out soon.

Another strange thing this all made me think of is that I finally have all the tools and toys I thought I needed when I was younger to do what I want to do. Yet, my out put has become slower and some times things seem to be missing a bit of that sparkle. That magic something something that makes things just seem awesome.

That line of thinking reminded me of myself as a child going on car trips with my family. If I was already drawing something and it was time to go.. guess what? I brought my sketchbook in the car and through all the bumps and bounces I kept happily scribbling away. I wasn’t trying to impress anyone I was just doing what I loved doing. Even if they weren’t fantastic perfectly rendered pieces of art, they did have that magic something something.

Today I still draw because it’s what I love to do but sometimes I may be doing it for the wrong reasons. I wanted people to like what I do so I’ve been trying hard to make things perfect. Which is an unachievable standard for anyone doing anything. Here’s something that I just realized I’ve been doing wrong. Literally, right until this very moment I’ve prided myself on the fact that when I ink a piece there’s a 99.99% chance that I’ll NOT use white out on it. What this means to me now is that I was so afraid of making mistakes that I was slowing myself down and wasting time.

Also, I’ve mostly been drawing things I’m comfortable with. Things that in my head I think I can pull off. Working with in the confines of a carefully calculated safety net that is keeping me from being able to really branch out and grow. To get to the next level it’s time to get comfortable with doing uncomfortable things.

Honestly, I’m kind of happy with this new found self realization and I’m glad someone was able to be brutally honest and tell me what I needed to hear.

So now it’s time for me to try new things and allow myself to make some mistakes to hopefully grow and get the hell out of this plateau and look for another mountain to climb.

P.S. – Just posting this here on my site is a little uncomfortable for me but it’s a good start and a great reminder about what we need to do.