My ideal workspace is probably a bubble floating in the galaxy.

After years of drawing for a living I noticed a few things about myself. I can’t tolerate uncontrollable noise and distractions.
Which also means: I have great difficulty drawing in public (like sketching at cafes or among friends). I become self conscious and I can’t “connect” with what I’m drawing anymore.
Drawing is a private matter to me.

It’s weird, because I’ve been working in an office (drawing and designing) for a decade, sitting among people, and that’s fine.
I guess it has to do with “the Zone”. The Zone is that ideal state of mind in which we are totally absorbed by our work, so much that the work process becomes everything and you immerse yourself into it so deeply that you literally feel like in a bubble, isolated from the rest of the world.
Offices sometimes are ideal because everybody is in their own zones. You can easily forget they exist and do your job. They are often quiet too.
The problem for me is that my bubble is very fragile. It might pop easily. If it does I lose my temper and recreating a new “bubble” becomes harder.

-Things that make my bubble pop: phone calls, people talking, accidental noises, people walking by, annoying news.

-Things that prevent me from getting into the Zone:
worries and anxiety, people watching me, constant noises, irritation.

On the other hand, working in an office has trained me a bit. I know how to work when I’m not in the right mood or when I don’t feel like working at all. In other words, I can work outside the Zone, even though it’s not an ideal state.

I also learned from experience that mood doesn’t necessarily prevent people from working, it just delays the work process or the beginning of it, but if you have to do it you can’t escape from it.
You can’t tell your boss “I’m not in the mood to work today”, because that might happen too often. What will you do next? Sooner or later you’ll have to be responsible for yourself and others.
Being disciplined is vital. I work very well with schedules and rules. I like them.
Which again explains why I enter the Zone when I’m in my isolated bubble of rules, without disruptions, interruptions or changes of pace.
Everything in its right place, like Radiohead said.

I like thinking about this because, as I always say, drawing, playing music, acting, etc, are all processes of self-discovery.
When I was a teen I couldn’t even conceive showing my drawings to anyone else. They were very private matters, between me and my drawer.
The more I exposed myself through the years (to parents, friends, schoolmates, teachers, colleagues, professionals…etc) the tougher my shell became. However I’m not sure this is about the Zone, it’s about confidence only, because I still suffer noise. I need silence to do a lot of things.
I might be able to show the finished work to more and more people now, but I still can’t work with their eyes on my back.
Despite my experiences and increased exposure, this hasn’t changed much over the years.
The requirements to enter the Zone are apparently deeply rooted in our personalities. It’s hard to change, so I just embrace it and accept it, as a weakness and a strength.

  1. I used to get super self conscious when drawing in public but I slowly waned myself out of it to the point where I don’t much care if people look at my worst sketches anymore. Maybe because I am drawing for ‘me’, not for ‘them’ when I am sketching. I think school also helped a lot with it because we’re forced to draw and critique each other in class.

    I feel like mood is unfortunately a large part of whether or not I feel for drawing but I am also trying to train myself to draw no matter the mood because it is necessary if you want to work as an illustrator as you also point out.

    Anyhow, you should get a big pair of ear-muffs to block out all sound 😉 In fact, you should draw a new self portrait of you wearing some sort of sound blocking headgear while drawing! I challenge you to do this! (Also because your last self portrait was AWESOME)

  2. Ahaha! That’s quite an idea for a self portrait. I might consider doing it.

    Yes, most likely drawing in public is a matter of habit like drawing in an office. Maybe since I’m not much of a “sketch person” I don’t insist on this practice because I don’t find the challenge being too beneficial. All that for a sketch. Hmmm I don’t know, it seems like a social activity to me and I’m very anti-social. haha
    But things change, people are mutants and maybe one day I’ll put everything into a different perspective I have never contemplated.

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