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Art and Injury: How to do a professional reboot

Rêveuse sur un nuage par Lucy Dreams

Hello everyone who visits this site,
Today I’m back with an article about “How to do a professional reboot“.

If you subscribe to my blog, you’ll have noticed that I haven’t posted anything for a while.

It has to be said that the last two years have been full of more or less fortunate events, all of which have been particularly time-consuming.
And, to top it all off, an injury has prevented me from practising as you can see from my portfolio.

So I need to think about how I can get back into the profession after a long absence.

Art & Recovery

As well as moving house twice in less than 6 months, which took up a lot of my time and drained my batteries, I also had to deal with two cases of retractile capsulitis in my shoulder.

The first deprived me of the use of my left arm for almost a year and only 6 months after my complete remission, a second one broke out in my right shoulder.

Needless to say, these (painful) limitations slowed down my professional activity terribly.

A capsuwhat? What’s that?

Because retractile capsulitis is not only painful, it also blocks your whole arm.
In a nutshell, the whole “membrane” that covers your shoulder hardens and shrinks.


Your mobility is therefore reduced, especially as this capsule compresses your muscles, nerves, tendons, fascia and circulation…

What a treat!

I’ve heard that some people undergo infiltration under imaging to burst the capsule, but my rheumatologist and GP have always advised me to opt for physiotherapy.

Luckily for me, I’ve found a fantastic physiotherapist who knows exactly what exercises I need to do to make my capsulitis more flexible and help me regain my mobility.

Unfortunately, this means a long rehabilitation (it took me a year for my left shoulder) at a rate of two sessions a week.

The time devoted to these long sessions (during which you have to perform difficult or even almost impossible movements) and to the journey there and back limits the time available for work.

In other words, once the painful phase of the disease has passed (unfortunately it lasts several months), you still don’t have your mobility or your free time back.

During my last case of capsulitis, in my left arm, I was still able to work because I’m right-handed.

Admittedly, my working time was limited by the long physio sessions and the commute, but I’d more or less managed to keep up an acceptable pace of work.

Double blocking, double trouble

When my second case of capsulitis broke out in the autumn of 2023, I initially thought that early treatment would mean I wouldn’t be as stuck as I was with my first case (which was diagnosed late).

Unfortunately, during the month of November, I had to admit that the problem was progressing rapidly.

The pain was increasing and I had to face the facts : that I would have to scale down all my career plans.

At first, I found it difficult to work for more than 20 minutes, then 15 days later, I was happy to be able to work for 10 minutes.

In short, the time had come not to scale down my plans but to cancel them.

It wasn’t easy to make the decision to stop everything because I really hoped to be able to continue painting and drawing.

So I closed my Patreon page, cancelled commissions and warned people on social networks that I wouldn’t have anything new to post for a long time.

My Etsy and RedBubble shops remained open because I didn’t have to create any new illustrations to keep them running.

However, I was fully aware that such a long absence from the networks would cause me to lose all visibility because of the laws of the algorithm.

How to do a professional reboot : Reset in progress, hang on!

And now, you might ask? Where am I as I write these lines in Mai 2024?

At the moment, my right shoulder is still frozen.
The pain at rest is gone (hallelujah!) but there are still a number of movements I can’t do.

Although my wrist and thumb are more supple and less painful, I tire quickly when I write or draw. Typing on a keyboard is a bit easier, but I don’t overdo it.

I’ve still got several months of physiotherapy to go before I’m out of the woods, but I want to start working again in the meantime.

To that end, here’s what I’ve planned so that I don’t get too discouraged.

Back to pencils : First step to do a professional reboot

To start with, I’m going to draw more and more.

Dreamer on a cloud by Lucy Dreams

Firstly for pleasure, because I miss it so much that I dream about it at night! But also, of course, for mechanical reasons.

I need to get my wrist and elbow supple again and increase my drawing time.

In the meantime, I’m going to take the opportunity to work on the weak points that are ruining my life and preventing me from expressing 100% of what I have in mind.

Since I don’t have anything recent and substantial to post on the Social Networks that think I’m dead, I might as well take the time to improve!

Of course I’ve got several illustrations on the go that are waiting for me to get round to them, but I don’t want to rush them for the sake of having finished them until I’m in full possession of my faculties (I may be recovering, but I’m not suicidal! ).

When I have something of quality to share with the rest of the world, here or on the networks, then and only then will I share it.

And in the meantime, am I going to give up my professional projects?

Resetting my career

Of course not! And I’d even go so far as to say even less!

The sudden cessation of my activity in November initially threw me into a state of depression following months of burn-out during which I tried in vain to work and develop my career despite a cascade of personal problems and a growing blockage in my right shoulder.

Finally, this capsulitis came just in time to force me to stop, to stop certain activities and to ask myself the right questions.

After a few difficult weeks, I took advantage of my forced unemployment to analyse my professional activity.

Everything was examined: my artistic creations, my activity on social networks, my shops, my income, the time, equipment and energy invested in all this content.

It very quickly became clear to me that I had misused my time, energy, equipment and money.

I’d been taken in by the productivist rat race that has been rotting the arts profession for the last few years.

So I had to start from scratch.

Like many people, I’d allowed myself to be seduced by sirens who were leading me away from my path by making me believe that “if it works for others, it will work for me!

Bye Bye Patreon

So my first decision was to close my Patreon page. At first, while I was convalescing, then after some time of reflection and analysis, for good.

And this decision immediately gave me a feeling of relief and freedom.

I’ll come back to the Patreon case and its mirage in another article, as it’s a big issue.

If you’re interested in this subject, don’t hesitate to subscribe via the Newsletter so that you don’t miss my feedback about Patreon.

However, if you’d like to support my work from time to time, the tipping system is still active on my Ko-Fi page, which I updated recently.

Devoting time to my shops

The second decision was to stop seeing my shops as a sideline, and instead to make them a priority.

Illustration of white rabbit serving tea in the clouds

It’s time for me to sell on Etsy and RedBubble the illustrations I initially created exclusively for my Patreon subscribers.

Illustration of a young girl under a climbing rose by french illustrator Lucy Dreams

The aim of my business is to earn a living.
And the more accessible my work is to as many people as possible, the more likely I am to make money from it.

With the agreement of my former subscribers, I’m going to add these illustrations to the catalogue of my shops and also review the content: photos, prices, SEO, etc.

I don’t want to manage this any more half-heartedly and I’m going to devote the necessary time to it.

So far, I’ve only added these two designs to RedBubble : these are illustrations I made in May and November 2021 for my Patreon subscribers.

Updating the Etsy catalogue is going to take a bit longer, as I first have to do some printing tests on my new printer before I can offer you new quality items.

Of course, I’ll be back to talk about it here.

So don’t hesitate to subscribe to the newsletter to keep up to date with my progress on updating the catalogues!

Clean up this website

The third decision stemmed from the previous two.

Since I was putting an end to my Patreon page, the articles about it no longer had any place on my blog, nor did the links in the menu and all the useless cross-references.

So I pruned, dynamited, ventilated, deleted and exterminated a whole bunch of old articles, pages and other sections of my site.

Goodbye to the private online shop reserved for my Patreon subscribers, because now all my illustrations are available to everyone on Etsy and RedBubble.

This has allowed me to remove the WooCommerce plugin from my site and all its gadgets.

So my site is now, I hope, leaner, more efficient and more professional too. Its site map is less complex and its display is much faster without the multiple plugins required for the integrated shop.

How to do a professional reboot…. But for what purpose?

Now that it’s all started (although I still have a lot of work to do on my shops), I feel lighter.

I know what my goal is, where I want to take my career, how I want to communicate and, above all, in what order I want to do things.

In any case, I’ll be back here to talk about it.

I’ll see you soon for more illustrated dreams!

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