PK 086: Jonah Lobe Talks About Creativity and Depression…and how to Beat it

PK 086: Jonah Lobe Talks About Creativity and Depression…and how to Beat it 2 086 creativity and depression pencil kings podcast
In this week’s podcast, games and concept artist Jonah Lobe talks about quitting a stable career to go freelance, and how he learned how to deal with anxiety attacks and bouts of depression

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“Failure is just one more thing you’re going to forget about
when success finds you.”

~ Jonah Lobe

Creativity and depression often seem to go hand in hand for many artists, but why is this?

At times, it seems like the dreaded fear of failure or uncertainty about the future can just become too much for us…and often when we least expect it.

Just ask games and concept artist, Jonah Lobe. Having worked at Bethesda Softworks for seven years on popular titles such as Skyrim and Oblivion: The Shivering Isles, he naturally felt nervous when he decided to quit his regular job, move to New York, and carve out a new career as a freelance artist.

But he wasn’t prepared for what happened next. And, in this podcast, you’ll hear him talk openly about the panic attacks he began to suffer from, and how you can take action when creativity and depression collide.

Jonah Lobe on Creativity and Depression

Things were going well for Jonah when he first moved to New York from his native Maryland. He’d just moved into a new apartment with his wife, and was enjoying the freedom of freelancing and working on a book he’d been planning to write for years.

On his decision to leave a well-paid seven year career at Bethesda, he explains: “I felt challenged and supported by my co-workers, but at the same time I didn’t feel challenged as a human anymore. On a deeper level, I felt like I was starting to stagnate.”

So things were going well. Jonah was finally in control of his own destiny and pursuing his dreams. He’d go to his local coffee shop and write, and the first few months in New York were a breeze.

But then, one day, he suddenly felt like he was unable to breathe. At first, he thought he was having an asthma attack (he’d suffered with these as a child), but a visit to his nearest hospital confirmed this wasn’t the case.

In fact, Jonah was suffering from a panic attack. But what brought it on?

“What seemed on the surface to be a very cushy, fun, freeing change of lifestyle, was causing my subconscious to freak out.

“In my head, I was asking myself: ‘What did I do? I had a great job, I was near to all my friends and family, and now here I am in a city I don’t know very well. I’ve made a terrible mistake!”

Sound familiar? As artists, we’re no strangers to fear. Whether it’s fear of failure, doubting our abilities, or simply not knowing where to turn next in our careers, making the decision to follow our dreams can be scary as Hell.

And sometimes, those fears can take hold and get the better of us.

So what you should you do if you feel like this? The good news is, these feelings don’t last forever. With the support of family and friends, Jonah beat his anxiety attacks and learned how to break the chain between creativity and depression.

And the fear of failure? Jonah says: “Failure is just one more thing you’re going to forget about when success finds you.”

Listen to this week’s show and learn:

  • How to take control when creativity and depression collide
  • Why rejection is part of the process
  • How to conquer your fears by reaching out to other artists

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