Yesterday I had a melt-down. It wasn't pretty, but it was insightful.
Here's the problem. This alpaca farm wants 20 or so sketches of alpacas in addition to the 20 sketches they got last fall. Here's an example of one:
There's only so many different poses that alpacas get into and only so many fleece colors. So, either I repeat myself or I really have to work hard at coming up with new ideas. But -- here's the kicker -- these sketches are suppose to be quick and easy for me to do. This may come as a shock to some, but it takes me almost as much time to do the planning for a small drawing, say 8x10, than it does a larger piece, like a 16x20. These sketches should take only 5-10 minutes to plan out. Unfortunately, since I'm running out of quick and easy sketch ideas, the planning stage for each of them is now getting longer (20+ minutes) and more challenging.
What I figured out yesterday is that it's the planning stage (what to do and how to arrange the alpacas) that is killing me mentally. If I only had to do 2 or 3 sketches a week, then it wouldn't be so bad -- I could work on a larger piece while 'keeping my eyes open' for a sketch idea. But because the farm contacted me only 3 weeks from the show date and they recently told me they want the sketches ASAP (because they want to mat them), this means I need to do 2 or 3 per day. That's a lot of new ideas every day!!!
What I decided to do is give the sketches a rest for at least a few days, and then only do 1 or 2 per day at most. I'll concentrate on doing the larger pieces, and if I happen on an interesting sketch idea, then I'll do it. Now, I know this runs the risk of annoying the client, but if I don't do this, I'll burn out, or the quality of my work will suffer and the client will get annoyed with that. Hopefully, they will understand and want quality rather than quantity.