It is one thing to study war
and another to live the warrior's life.
-Telamon of Arcadia, mercenary 5th century BC
No, I am not equating the life of an artist to that of an ancient warrior, but rather mentioning the analogous concept brought forward from the quote: Practicing/doing art is not the same as being an artist. Let me clear the air and state that the study of ones craft and having a profession aren't mutually exclusive, but the act of improving a craft alone does not make it your profession by default. A "student of art" practices when they want to [or when they're told to], an "artist" does art whether they feel like it or not, rain or shine, day in - day out. Not that artists practice every single hour of every single day, but they have established a routine in which they hone their craft, regardless of whether they have the whimsy or drive to do so. They just do.
The reason I bring this up is that this is the path that I am facing. Art started off as a hobby, an avocation I would amuse myself with during boring lectures and long weekends. Becoming an artist at a game studio changed that. Now a vocation, art was no longer a fun activity, but a necessary task that had to be performed at least five days a week in order to place bread on the table. It was a change, but one I was more than willing to make.
When I set upon the world of art production on my own, the daily structure of practice had eroded to an activity I would do when I mustered enough energy to plug in my wacom tablet and fire up the computer. In short, it had taken a backseat to TV, games, and whatever activity caught my mind's fancy. It is therefore imperative that I get back into more regular artist training, treating it more like a boxer who performs a daily set routine of cardio exercises. A professional boxer doesn't see the point in asking himself every morning if he "feels" like running a few K before hitting the gym, he just does it regardless of his disposition. I didn't feel like writing this post and submitting my art a few minutes ago, but now I'm glad I did. Here's hoping to more drawing and posting in the days to come.