007: End-of-Semester Reflection

It’s been two weeks to the day since the Fall semester ended. There are several things I need to work through, and I’m still processing the term as a whole, so this post might seem odd or fragmented as a result. Some things I’d like to address: my art-making workflow, my mentality on art and what makes “a finished piece”, muddled goals, and what’s coming next. Hope everyone had a good holiday!


I got stuck this semester. A lot. Especially when learning something new. The prospect of failure, of wasting materials and time, and failing to meet expectations (mine are always too high to begin with), induced a work-paralysis loop. I was so afraid of making mistakes that I felt like I spent more time agonizing over hypothetical situations than working. Easier said than done, but I really need to learn to embrace errors. Unexpected mistakes can be really beautiful!

I fixate too much on a final product that needs to look a certain way, which goes hand-in-hand with…

Mentality/”Finished” Work

Sometimes I feel like having an undergraduate degree in graphic design hinders my progress as a fine artist more than it helps. Design really drills product- and market-based thinking into you. The work needs to have a finished form, something that looks polished and functions as intended. If it cannot fulfill a purpose, function properly, or be aesthetically pleasing, it has essentially failed as an art/design object. I’m at odds with a side of myself that wants to make art for me, and a side that wants to market those ideas to other people. And I’m stuck wondering if other people will enjoy the things I’d want to make for myself. I shouldn’t care as much if it doesn’t make sense to others, but that design sensibility wants it to be marketable anyway. I toss so many ideas in the trash early on because it’s “not good enough to market to other people” or I simply don’t know the techniques to make it.

I wanted to learn doll-making to overcome not knowing how to make something that I loved. But because I had such lofty goals and high expectations for a first try, I questioned why I didn’t just stick with something simpler. Or, better yet, something I already knew how to do.

Muddled Goals

I’m struggling with what to pursue, as a semester project for Spring, going into thesis, and for a future career. I don’t want to give up on sculpting, but until I can make simpler things I might just be better off in the realm of 2D.

What Next…?

The obvious answer is “figure out what to do for next semester’s project”. I suspect I’ll revisit themes from this semester, potentially through the point of view of Pashmina, Izumi, or other characters from their world. I might be more effective in creating a story or experimental piece in video game format, rather than relying on comic narrative or dolls. I’ve previously worked in the RPGMaker series for my bachelor’s thesis project and itch.io game jams, so I’m at least familiar with how to use the software to create a game (and also how to budget my time across various aspects of game development). Depending on the genre I choose, another engine might be more suitable for the job.

I’ll think on this further throughout break and update with more solid progress.

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