1. Who are you and how long have you been working as an artist?
My name is Gen Wolfe! I’m currently working as a full time character designer for season 3 of Final Space. I’ve only been working as a professional in the animation industry for a few months, but before moving to LA I was working as a freelance artist for about a year. Before all that, I was working typical part time jobs while making extra money on the side doing commissions. Since high school, I’ve been doing odd jobs here and there as an artist, but I would say as a professional I only have about a year or two under my belt.
2. How do you personally define art block? How often do you get art block?
For me personally, art block is when I’ve locked myself into thinking that whatever I draw needs to serve a purpose. This mindset is the result of spending almost a year creating work for my portfolio and treating everything like an assignment. Now that I have the job I wanted, my personal time is actually when I get to just have fun with art, but lately it feels like I’ve forgotten what that is. Art block doesn’t always stop me from drawing, but it stops me from feeling good about the work I put out.
3. What are some specific strategies you employ when dealing with art block?
Depending on how I’m feeling I might take a break and spend time enjoying content like games, movies or shows. It’s so important to make time to have fun and experience things that make you love being an artist in the first place. If I don’t have any ideas, but I still want to draw, I’ll go back to the basics. Gesture drawing and doodling shapes in 3D are my two go-to exercises, because I genuinely think it’s fun! If I’m not in the mood for either of those activities, but I really want to draw something I’ll just start doodling whatever comes to mind in a sketchbook with a pen. Using something that can’t be erased is a very useful tactic for me. I’ve learned a lot by filling sketchbooks with only pen drawings, so I highly recommend it to everyone!
4. Describe the biggest obstacle / challenge you’ve encountered working as an artist and how you overcame it.
As someone who’s brand new to the industry, there are a lot of things that I’ve had to learn and adapt to, and with the current pandemic situation, I’ve had to learn all these things working remotely. I’m very lucky to be working for such a well organized studio (Shadow Machine), so I’ve been able to get the hang of things.
The real challenges I face have to do with my own feelings and managing my impostor syndrome. When everyone around you is highly experienced I often wonder, how did I even get here? I know I have a lot to learn as an artist and as an industry professional, so I feel like I need to earn my place among all these amazing people.
To help myself overcome these feelings I’ve found it really helpful to just talk with other artists! Talking with friends, coworkers, or even strangers on an art server. It’s great to learn what other people like about your work, and discuss the feelings that trouble you. Investing a little time in an art community has been a big help for me, especially during this quarantine.
5. Where can we see more of your work online?