Thursday, October 7, 2010

Artist OCD

I often wonder if I'm too OCD with my work. I sat down to edit a tutorial and when I got to the blush/contour application part, I realized that I had placed the makeup COMPLETELY wrong and way too high. How had I not noticed? It's so overtly obvious...if I end up deciding not to care and post the video, you'll see. But in everything I do makeup wise, whether my own or anyone else's, I'm rarely happy with it. I nit pick and can see a million mistakes.

During Miami Swim, Lottie told me she had been looking at the images from the previous night. I hadn't realized they'd post that quickly so upon hearing this, I got on a laptop the moment I could to examine my work. Obsessive much? And while they don't look bad, I still see mistakes. The worst/best is shooting with my friends who are photographers. They don't make me wait long to see the photos. We often edit them together, deciding which poses we like, lighting etc. But it also means I get to see my work completely unedited. And there has yet to be a time where I haven't seen at least one thing that I wish I had done better, differently or cleaner.

And although I know my portion of the work isn't yet perfected, I can't help but to pick the photograph as a whole apart as well. There are definitely times where I'm 100% happy with the model, composition, lighting, styling and editing. Yet there's just as many times where my OCD bleeds over into territory that isn't mine to control. I see editing mistakes and cringe considering if I should even use the photo in any kind of portfolio. As I'm present for the entirety of a shoot, I know what was shot and often wonder why photographers choose the photos they do to edit and send. Even models have "bad angles".

However, that's when I check myself. Until my own work is perfected, I don't really have room to even pick apart anyone else's work. Are all artists (regardless of craft) this OCD about their work? I'm curious...


  1. I think it's only natural to be our toughest critic! I would have never guessed that you would feel the same! After reading this post, I think all artists have the same feeling. Something can always be better, different, or cleaner. And this part drives me crazy because I can always find something wrong with my work. It's so hard for me to take a step back, stop, and feel satisfied.

    Thanks for this post. I have always loved your work and you inspire me. =]

  2. I wouldn't really consider myself to be an artist, in a professional paid way. But I do draw, paint and like doing experimental make up and photograph a lot and I do definately know that feeling. Myself, I've had huge problem with being too much a perfectionist, especially when it comes to drawing, it actually put me off of drawing for a long time, because I drove myself too crazy and it took away a lot of confidence.

    But then again I think it's important to cirtise yourelf, if that doesn't happen you'll never improve. Maybe you should think that way: If you leave the picture in your portfolio and leave the video in your playlist, you'll see improvement and that's what matters :).

    You're one of the best and definately most creative make-up artists on youtube. You tought me a lot and it's so much fun to watch your videos!

    I'm really happy you're back <3

  3. I write fiction, and can get completely obsessed about using the right words in the right order. I think half of writing successfully is just fighting through that and getting it down on paper.

    As to your youtube videos, you say you'd "placed the makeup COMPLETELY wrong and way too high". That may have become obvious to you, but to someone less skilled and experienced like myself, I may not notice. Or I might sense something was not quite hanging together but not be able to recognise why.
    Sometimes these things are opportunities to explain why some things work and why others don't. Sometimes the best way to teach is not just working through to a perfect look, but showing how a look can go off-track.
    I hope you post the video xx

  4. I apply henna to myself and to other people. And the amount of times my arms and hands have been stained from constant applying and reapplying because im not happy with how straight a line is, or how perfected a petal is of a flower, its like my arms resemble an oompa loompa's complexion lol.

    Your an artist.

    When you see how artists paint fantastic masterpieces and they pay great attention to detail, from every leaf on a tree to every ripple in a water, they are bound to look at there finish masterpiece and still make slight critiscisms on what they could have changed and what they could have improved on.

    But risa we all LOVEEEE your makeup tutorials. Some people who watch your tutorials struggle to contour completley than to understand if there contour was too high (me for example haha)

    But we still watch to learn some tips and tricks that an artist as fantastic as yourself is willing to share with everyone.

    Keep Up the Fantastic Work! Xx

  5. Sometimes I think you are automatically OCD to be an artist - and yeah, it definitely gets in the way. It didn't bother Picasso - he just banged out one after the other, let 'er rip. Wish I could be more like that and I strive to be. I'm so nuts if my nail polish isn't perfect around the cuticle I HAVE to take it all off - all of it.

    It's a work in progress but don't get stuck in the rut of letting it freeze you. You are really quite wonderful

  6. Me and some of my friends are exactly like this with the music we write. It's not OCD; it's just the streaks of being a perfectionist. It's completely normal for all of us in the arts because we're putting out pieces of our soul for others to experience so everything has to be perfect. And nothing's perfect, so the job never ends. :) Just my two cent perspective.

  7. I am also a bit OCD at times. I did my 1st fashion show and was trying to doing the makeup perfect and needed to relax instead. I still try because every show after that I just do my best and hope the designer, model, etc. are happy. I love learning and I guess I have to learn to be less OCD or accept the fact that I can't always be perfect(but I can try. :) )

  8. Hi Risa,
    I read this post and boy does this sound familiar. I do this every single time I do a shoot. The thing is that it never seems to be perfect. I always feel like I could have done something better and as soon as you feel like you have it you learn yet another challenge. I take them as experience and try to learn from them.

    I tend to be a little harder on myself and did at one point give up and quit. I felt like even to get some honest feedback it ws so harsh and when i felt I was doing good I'd seek some open advice and some people can be such ass...I mean why cant you say something in a nice way. Needless to say, I am back at trying and working on doing better and just surrounding myself amongh like minded people or positive people that are willing to share and express their experinces in a positive way...
    Thanks for the post