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How do you stay motivated after art school?

Deepti Menon, Filmmaker & Animator

Deepti Menon

Teaching Assistant
Filmmaker & Animator

Clara Lieu, RISD Adjunct Professor

Clara Lieu

Art Prof & Partner

Casey Roonan, Comics Artist & Cartoonist

Casey Roonan

Teaching Assistant
Cartoonist & Comics Artist

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6 responses on "Staying Motivated"

  1. This is such a relevant conversation, and as a rising senior in college it has been brought up in several of our classes as well. One thing that I go back to again is, one of our professors mentioned, how after college, outside the setting of an institution, no one is going to tell you or push you to create work. That responsibility lies completely with oneself, to creating that space of work and prioritising hours to just creating work, good or bad. And this video brings forward so many great points to do the same.

    I really relate to the point of just starting, as I sometimes have struggled with it, with having my ideas all swarming in my head. I agree, putting them down on paper, even if its just in writing helps me to get started too. In summers especially, I create a list of ideas that I encountered during the semester but didn’t have time to pursue or because I couldn’t always make them part of a class assignment. Summer becomes a good time to really work on them, and as I am already excited about them, it becomes a little easier to get going. It really helps to keep reminding oneself to keeping a ‘just do it’ attitude and not overthink!

  2. This is so great to hear! Especially right now because just like Britt, I’m also dealing with how to stay motivated during summer. I agree that the most important thing to do is to just start, it’s so important and I’ve heard it so many times already. There are a couple phrases from my family that always nag at me too when i’m slowing down and it’s “trying isn’t doing” and “It’s you versus you”. Whenever that happens I just sit down and make a list of ideas that I can make into actual work. In fact, I should go do that right now.

  3. What great advice! Being the middle of summer right now, I’ve found that its really hard for me to stay motivated with my work, or even find time. But Prof Lieu made some really great points about even the smallest amounts of time add up to something larger in the long run. Also, I actually really liked the “red dot” idea, I think its really rewarding to see the progress you’ve made, even if it is with little circles on a calendar!

  4. I definitely agree! I find too that sometimes working on many things simultaneously can influence how you approach your ideas across projects. Finding things, objects, and places that inspire you is also a wonderful way to stay motivated. I am a big fan of taking walks to try and get back in the groove. Giving your mind space to think can be exactly what is necessary to stay motivated!

  5. Great advice! One of my best friends is a writer, and we talk all the time about how you stay motivated. For both of us we have to just start in the morning, or it never happens. We also found out that we worked better when we were busy, because we were afraid of not making work! When I have a few days off, I don’t make as much work as when I have to balance my art with another job. You have to “get the fear” as an old friend would say!

    • This is so true that being busy actually makes you much more productive! You would think it would be the opposite, that the fewer tasks that you have to do the more productive you would be, but I’ve actually found that it’s the total opposite. When I have the pressure of so many things going on, it’s like you don’t have the time to question or think too much about what you’re doing, which is a good thing! Sometimes when I have “too much” time to think about a project I end up wasting a lot of time just agonizing over aspects of the project that really don’t deserve that level of attention.

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