Do I Have Too Much Unfinished Art?

Is there such a thing as too much unfinished artwork for an artist? Unfinished work is inevitable, but it’s a tough balance, which artworks do you walk away from, and which do you follow through with?

42 min. video

Discussion led by Art Prof Clara Lieu and Teaching Artists Cat Huang and Mia Rozear.

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Brainstorming & Sketching a Character Design

Video Walkthrough

  • Having unfinished artwork is inevitable!
  • It really is okay to not finish artworks, it’s completely unrealistic to have that as a goal.
  • Depends on the artist, but it’s common for many artists to have more unfinished work than finished artwork.
  • Those unfinished artworks are not failures! They can play a different role in our artistic process that can be just as valuable as the finished piece.
  • Try to forgive yourself for abandoning an artwork; there are many circumstances where following through to finish an artwork can actually be a waste of your time.
  • Some artworks simply hit a dead end, when you don’t see that there is any potential for the artwork to be a positive experience.
  • Finishing an artwork is a skill in itself that takes experience and time to hone.
  • People can tell when you are dragging your feet working on an artwork, when you are only working on it simply to finish.
  • Your time is better spent working on an artwork that you are excited about and that has potential.
  • Working on more than 1 artwork at a time can be very helpful.
  • You can’t be 100% excited and inspired by an artwork from beginning to end, there is an ebb and flow to that.
  • If you have two artworks you are working on simultaneously, you can bounce between the two artworks when you get frustrated with one.
  • Focus on artworks that you are excited about!
  • You can always come back to an artwork, sometimes even years later
  • The process of creating the artwork, you experience you have is of great value, you don’t have to finish an artwork to learn from it.

Mia’s Tips

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I totally understand having fear and feeling that art should feel professional even during the creation process.

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Mia Rozear

I honestly think that any way an artist can make work and still feel creatively inspired is a win– so many “professional creatives” are so burnt out they never make any work outside of their jobs!

You’ll find that when you create when it comes naturally, it’ll always maximize the end result.

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