Hello Papabear, I have a question for you.
So when I grow up, I want to be an artist. I really love making art, it helps me express myself in ways I cannot to otherwise. It also helps me make others happy, which is one of the things I very much love doing.
Now I’m sure you’re aware of the major differences between drawing on paper and drawing digitally. I want to try and transition more into digital art on my computer so I can not worry about eraser marks messing me up and being able to color better and what not. Plus, it’ll help with my future job as an artist.
I also love playing video games. I have a few consoles, namely Nintendo ones like the Switch, and I play some games on my computer too. Usually my parents let me play however long I want as long as I have schoolwork done and don’t have any chores. I also cannot be on electronics after 9:30 PM.
Recently my school has gone to full virtual, meaning me and my little sister are going to be stuck at home. I was hesitant about drawing for a while because I felt like I wasn’t good enough and I would just do some sketches in my sketch book once a month. I’ve gotten the confidence now to start drawing again and I want to go back to digital drawing to improve my skills, which I need my computer for. But my parents said that since me and my sister are going to be home all the time, we are only allowed 4 hours on our computers a day and no time extensions.
This puts a limit on how much I can practice my drawing. I want to be able to draw on the computer, but also do my games too in a single day without feeling like I have to do one or the other because of the time limit. And what confuses me the most is my parents still let me use the Switch and my other consoles as much as I want as long as I have schoolwork done and no chores.
So basically I want to have more time on the computer to draw, but I’m afraid they’ll get mad at me and think I want it just for my games. What do you think I should do?
* * *
I think what your parents are trying to limit is you and your sister doing unproductive things online (or what they see as unproductive) such as playing games or chatting on social media. This is different from your working on your skills as an artist. My advice would be to talk to your parents to better define computer time. For example, doing school work on the computer is not something they would try to limit, I would think. Similarly, if you explain to them that art is something you are serious about and might even make a career of, and that learning to use a computer to create digital art is essential for a career in, say, graphic arts, then they should look to this time as being career-oriented.
So, when you talk to them about your art, don't describe it as being for fun and laughs but, rather, as a serious educational pursuit to develop a marketable skill set. Then, while agreeing to the time limit for games and social time on the computer, tell them you need a separate standard for computer time when it involves your education, whether that is for school or for developing your knowledge and ability to create art digitally. Oh, and it would help a lot if at least some of the art you are creating is not furry related. Work on stuff that could have commercial value, such as creating logos, drawing buildings, or portraits of people. These are all things that can help your furry art, so it's not wasted time by any means.
Hope that helps. Good luck!
A note on comments: Comments on letters to Papabear are welcome, especially those that offer extra helpful advice and add something to the conversation that is of use to the letter writer and those reading this column. Also welcome are constructive criticisms and opposing views. What is NOT welcome are hateful, hurtful comments, flaming, and trolling. Such comments will be deleted from this site. Thank you.