The Artistic Identity Crisis: Finding Yourself

A talented artist, Launie's artistic interests extend beyond the KingsIsle community, but she's well-known for her portraits of wizards from around the Spiral. She'll share her journey as an artist as well as how the community has influenced her.

Meet the Artist

Hi there! My name is Ricki, but everyone mostly calls me and knows me as Launie, or LaunieSpiral on Twitter! I've been part of the Twitter community for around four years now and have been playing Wizard101 since 2009 and Pirate101 since its release in 2012! I can't remember a time where I wasn't drawing, so it's been a part of me for as long as I can remember. Because of this, I'm an aspiring illustrator, with a knack for classical and stylistic portraits (I just can't get enough). You probably know me by my portraits.

Into The Spiral

I found Wizard101 through a commercial on television in 2009 and I just had to try it. Little did I know, I would get very much hooked. As the years went on, I was on and off with the game and never exactly interacted with community members until 2015! How late. 

I have no other people but to thank but my inner circle for pushing me to become active on Twitter, to start posting my work on there, and to interact with others within the community (you know exactly who you are). It was hard to push me to do this, since I was very shy and liked staying in my own bubble. However, all of this lead me to push myself as an artist and to become better at what I enjoy doing. I think without the dear people I've became so close to and this community, I wouldn't be in the position I am right now as an artist and even as a person. 

As time went on and as I began my high school career, I went through something probably every young, aspiring, starry-eyed artist has gone through: an identity crisis. 

The Hardest Part: Finding Yourself

As I was brainstorming for my main topic for this article, I was simply going to explain my creative process - but it didn't seem right. After talking with Avery (aka @RequiemDemonic on Twitter) at 4 in the morning, I decided to fully discuss the struggles of finding yourself as an artist.

I think all of us as artists, illustrators, designers, and creative minds alike have been through - or are currently going through - one of the hardest parts within our journey, which is simply knowing ourselves in our craft. It's more deprecating than some might think. 

As I settled in at high school and started becoming more involved with meeting other artists from the community, I seriously wondered, Who am I as an artist? What am I meant to do in the creative field? Am I concept artist, an animator, a graphic designer? The list went on. I was genuinely confused. It was frustrating!

Since my inner circle contains painters, I decided to give painting and Photoshop a go. I only enjoyed one thing out of the two, and it's Photoshop. I despised painting. I despised it so much when it came to doing my own thing. It just didn't get my ideas across as well as I would have hoped; they didn't translate at all! The only thing that really did was classical portraits: studies.

Classical studies I did throughout my Junior year of high school

As much as I enjoy classical portraits, and have a very strong appreciation and love for them, it's not what I wanted to do all the time. And painting simply wasn't working for me when it came to my own creative ideas. What should I do? What should I do if this wasn't working after trying over 3 years to make it work? It was harder for me than it seemed. I could go back to what I was doing before, but I wasn't satisfied

I will say this: trying to find yourself is the hardest part, and it's tiring and demotivating. It is so demotivating. Because of the sheer struggle I was going through, I was very self conscious about my art, I was questioning my worth, and I was wondering if this was the right path for me. I went in a downward spiral of just hating whatever I did.

Fast forward: I stop trying to paint out my creative ideas, but continue to paint portraits. I enjoyed that part of painting, but it just didn't click anywhere else. I decided to simply stop following a crowd that did not fit me. I wasn't meant to be an illustrative painter, and I needed to stop trying to force it (People will realize if you're forcing something to happen within your art. It shows, believe it or not). 

Senior year was when it all clicked together! After deciding to drop painting and find something else, I made it. I finally found the art form that made me all like, "yes this is it, this is what I want!" And that is illustration, but to a simpler degree. After searching high and low for what kind of artist I wanted to become, I realized I wanted to become a children's illustrator. Whether it be books, movies, or shows, it felt right. I wasn't meant to do highly rendered, stylistic, dynamic paintings that are captivating and meant for a gaming industry. I was meant to simply express a point, a story, and a certain emotion in a simplistic, story-book-esque way. That was it. That was the ticket. 

Reaping the Rewards

Throughout my final year of high school and still today, I have never been happier doing art. I work my magic more on Procreate than Photoshop. I stopped forcing things to happen, and I never felt more content with myself as a creative mind and artist. I always have days where I just dislike everything, but everyone has those days.

Knowing yourself, and figuring out who you are in a sea of artists is probably the most heart wrenching part of the journey. It's time consuming and horrible and it feels like you're just completely lost, but we all go through it at some point, and our experiences might be different, or might be similar.

From my freshman to junior year, I was trying to follow a trend that just didn't work for me. I merely did it because it was popular, it was the "in" style to do. And I think we all go through that phase where we want to do something that tends to be popular; we gravitate towards wanting to draw like others or be like another person. That's the reason I tried so hard to make illustrative painting work. But unfortunately, it didn't. Because it wasn't who I was; I was meant to be a different type of illustrator. 

So here's the lesson:

First and foremost - you aren't alone in the process. Everyone goes through an artistic identity crisis - it's natural! Its just some figure it out faster than others. That doesn't mean you're any lesser. Second of all - push all cares aside, forget what's trending, and do whatever makes you happy. Don't be like me and try to force something that just wasn't meant to work. Like I said before, people will recognize what's you and what's not. Each of us has a personality, a style. Don't try to erase yourself from the creative process. People want you, not anyone else. That's why they like your work, want to follow you, and want to commission you. 

And lastly, enjoy the journey. There will be obstacles, and hard times, but you will reap its reward in the end. Finding yourself is merely a part of the journey.

Thanks to Launie for her post on her artistic journey!

Thanks for reading and see you in the Spiral!

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