Today I finished 2 pictures – I feel quite happy with them, but there is always the feeling that I could do better. Often when I look at artwork again I feel disappointed that it hasn’t come out as well as I’d like. I’m sure most illustrators probably feel the same and tend to focus on the bits that are the least pleasing whereas the client is unlikely to be looking at it in such an exacting way.
I can remember doing many versions of little cartoony illustrations for a magazine and presenting them all to the art editor because I couldn’t decide which was best – the differences in each were imperceptible but I was unable to make a judgement by myself – and the fear of not producing the best was deeply troubling. These days I can make these decisions quite decisively as I can feel and see when drawings aren’t working and will scrap them and start again. I very rarely give an alternative version these days and it makes life a whole lot easier. I guess this is just a result of being a more experienced illustrator,with more confidence.
With OCD you need to go by what you see rather than what you feel – feelings aren’t reliable but seeing for yourself is. However,the OCD mind can make you believe that what you see isn’t reliable either. Finishing pieces of work and checking them over before wrapping and sending used to be a huge ordeal -much checking that the work was done according to the brief,that it was all there,that it wasn’t going to get damaged when you put it in the envelope and that it is sealed securely. Then the anxiety about writing the correct address on the package (whenever it was possible I’d deliver work by hand rather than post it ) and checking it dozens of times. I’d also be in agony about the thought that I might have written something inappropriate and put it in the package – writing and sending letters or cards was always quite difficult for me. These days I can complete these tasks relatively easily – I still check addresses a few times in the post office queue but I’m able to trust myself much more.