I think a big challenge for creative people - especially those that are full time professionals is that our hobby - is our passion - is our work. So when you need a break from your work and wish to pursue a hobby for some downtime, your options are limited. It's rather difficult to take a break from painting by - well, painting. At the moment my professional time is dominated by the illustrations for The Raven - and it's a challenging project.
I find that with challenging projects I need a little more downtime than usual. I need the relief of doing something else with my hands and my eyes and my brain, a distraction that allows my brain to run the "program" of the project that's challenging me in the background. I work so much better this way. Whatever project I'm working on will swirl around in the background of my subconscious while I play videos games, do dishes or my favorite distraction, creating content for 3D virtual worlds.
As an artist I get such a thrill out of creating 3 dimensional interactive environments entirely of my own imagining. It's an incredible experience to be able to walk your avatar thru a world you dreamt up, built from scratch, textured and painted entirely with your own hand. After 8 years I'm pretty quick at the whole process from concept to completion when it comes to creating in a Virtual Environment. (The image you see above took probably 8 hours broken up into chunks over several days.) The best part is that everything I make for virtual worlds I do eventually sell or use elements of the project in other aspects of my professional life. So while it's "fun" I don't feel guilty that I'm goofing off.
And it's just really fun! For me, creating in virtual worlds is like coloring, or playing with blocks or clay. It's just pure creative enjoyment - no pressure. Figuring out how to build a house I've got in my head is like solving a fascinating puzzle. And then once that part is finished, I get to "paint" the whole thing with textures and accessorize it with trees and plant life.
I used to create and sell quite a lot of this "goofing off" content in Second Life. I've recently moved from Second Life to Kitely however and I'm enjoying all the freedom I have in that environment. The house in the photo above is on an island I own in Kitely called Brythony Market. It's open to the public so you can go and check out the house yourself if you wish.
My plan is that over time I'll have quite a lot of houses and content available for sale on there. All the happy result of some creative downtime.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on creative downtime, do you have something specific you do when you need to unwind?