My Life as an Artist with Chronic Pain


If you didn’t know, I’m an artist, and this year I’ve decided to take my art more seriously. But there are days when I remember that being a full-time artist was never in the cards for me. 

I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia when I was 17, and I’d taken a few art electives. 

Chronic pain was having an effect on my schooling at this point. But luckily I was able to type out my essays and exams (with supervision, of course). Then in Year 12 Studio Arts, we got to experiment with some different methods, one of them being printmaking. I sketched out my design, then used a scalpel to carve it into the sheet of hard plastic.

This process was near excruciating. My wrists felt like they were being torn with every bit of pressure I forced them through. Maybe it was foolish and impulsive to keep pushing through. I think I was testing my limits, seeing how far I could go. I was really happy with the result, but I don’t think it was worth the pain. 

People like to say that art is pain, but that takes on a bit of a different meaning for me. Being an artist with chronic pain means I can’t set aside a whole day to draw and be productive the entire time. Every artist should take breaks to stretch and rest their wrists, but it doesn’t take very long for me to reach that point. Sometimes I get so carried away with a drawing that I ignore the pain, then I’ll be out of commission for days afterwards. 

The designs that I sell on RedBubble are fun, and they don’t tend to take up too much time. But my real passion, what I love drawing most, is detailed character portraits. These can take me a long time to finish, but they’re very personal and become something I’m very proud of. The problem is, sometimes I’ll give up on a project if it’s taking too long. I’ll finish the sketch and be daunted at the thought of line art. Or I’ll finally finish blocking out my colours and decide there are too many little details to shade. 

I’ve been experimenting more, especially with my RedBubble designs. I want to challenge myself to draw more complex scenes, maybe with multiple characters. 

If you’d like to help me have more time for art, you can buy something from my artist shop! 

Don’t forget to check me out on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok as well!

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