Finishing a big project can be traumatic!
You know the feeling. For weeks/months you’ve lived, breathed and slept the project. But then it’s done.
Initially you celebrate/relax/lie in.
Sooner or later you ask the question: “What next?”
If you’re lucky, you’ll start the next project without hesitation.
But psychologically it can be difficult to start the next thing! Fear and procrastination can creep in.
After submitting my entry for the Sketchbook Project 2011 I felt at sea. It had been so all consuming, I did not know where to start the next thing.
And I know I’m not alone!
So what should you do? If you have the next project lined up great! If not, don’t panic, there are things you can do to get creating quickly.
1. Whether you know what’s next, or not, it’s important to review your last project. Debrief as it were.
There is always room for improvement. Lessons to learn. Maybe an idea or two emerged during the project? Shelved for “later”?
All my sketches felt fairly traditional so I wanted to play with the style of the images. This turned the sketch above into the picture to the left.
2. Ask yourself what you need to concentrate on?
Most artists have no problem thinking of artistic projects. But sometimes the next project needs to be developing a marketing strategy! Or setting up/updating that website. Maybe even clearing out the studio.
Chances are, if you’re like me you will have neglected some of these things in the run up to the deadline! In the process, you may rediscover an old idea which could turn into the next project.
Write down any and all ideas you can think of. However good or bad they may seem! After a while read through and start pruning the bad ones out!
4. Start your next project before you finish the current one!
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when working on a big project but it’s worth spending time looking for the Next Big Thing. You don’t have to commit to anything. But start exploring where you want to go next .
So what did I do?
I spent time reviewing how things went and what I’d do differently. I enjoyed the Sketchbook Project and I’m looking forward to some feedback.
But would I do it again? Possibly…
But if I did, I think I’d make sure I could use a better sketchbook. Fewer pages and thicker paper so the images don’t show through on the next page.
And I also might work in my current “finished” style rather than pen and ink washes.
I’m now creating a series of abstracted contemporary city buildings for my current project.
Have I missed any tricks to moving on after deadline?
If you have any more suggestions, I’d love to hear them.