What advice would you give to beginner artists who think everything they make is terrible and worthless?
OMGOD child what the — ugh.
The world has a way of really making people- artists, feel so bad for doing art. Not only are you bombarded by work worldwide, but art is arbitrarily celebrated. Have you ever gone to a modern art museum and seen the giant works they have there? There was one piece that was a blank canvas 16x16 feet across, that was freaking sixteen thousand dollars for sale. I mean, there wasn’t anything on this canvas.
So it’s hard, it’s really hard to be in this field, you’re constantly bombarded, and to further it, you’re competing with other media outlets as well for attention. Now almost all companies have gone the way of social media, understanding where the people have gone, and so if you don’t get notes, don’t get retweeted, please understand this isn’t your fault.
If a canvas that is 16x16 feet across can get into a museum and be displayed and sold for sixteen thousand dollars, then fame and recognition is totally and completely arbitrary and there’s nothing that can convince me otherwise. People who will tell you skill and talent matters haven’t walked into that museum, haven’t felt the hopeless sensation of wondering why the hell something that is worth more than your soul that has zero effort put into it exists like that.
Also promote yourself, the world and lots of people will try to shame you, try to tell you you’re an attention whore, try to bring you down, tell you you’re ungrateful, but that’s not true.
You just want to not feel horrible about what you make, and sometimes that might be somewhat dependent upon the energy others give you by recognizing it. Anywho who wants you shame you for that doesn’t understand that artists have dips and highs, sometimes we’re happy with our own work, but other times we simply aren’t, and if you constantly signal yourself you can combat the fact that mobile tumblr for example simply doesn’t post some things sometimes, or combat the fact that everyone is constantly bombarded with messages from every company and person they know.
Be loud and vocal, and if someone doesn’t like that, that’s ok, but they should understand they should never ask you to feel satisfied with hours and hours of grueling work just to get the reward of the satisfaction of doing it. That’s literally telling someone they should be a slave. Ultimately you’re only asking for people to click a little heart and click a blue button. If people want to withhold that from you as if you’re being greedy or ungrateful then they truly don’t GET the human condition of others, and that’s ok. It’s ok they don’t get it. Humans are conditioned as a survival instinct to sometimes be able to not empathize so we don’t go ABSOLUTELY CRAZY with the amount of upset and sadness TRULY circulating around us. It doesn’t make them bad, so do not kick them to the curve or get mad at them- but certainty don’t let them make you feel like asking for recognition is bad, greedy, ungrateful of you, wrong in any way.
Lastly and not leastly, DO NOT JUST PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE.
That DOES NOT MAKE PERFECT.
If you are unhappy with your work in any way, if you are struggling over a drawing, if you are upset with your work, if you feel your work is shit, it’s because you need to step back and study simpler things.
You need to recognize and tell yourself the best and most liberating thing you could ever say.
and that’s ok
I don’t know what I’m doing
I should go study
STUDY STUDY STUDY STUDY STUDY STUDY
DO NOT JUST MINDLESSLY DRAW. DO NOT -EVER- JUST MINDLESSLY PRACTICE.
Look for tutorials from other artists, constantly watch speedpaints, learn about programs to use, practice with different mediums, draw simple things like poses and learn about anatomy, bone structure, NEVER EVER TACKLE EVERYTHING ALL AT ONCE.
YOU WILL BE UNHAPPY WITH THE TURN OUT AND IN THE MEANTIME YOU’RE SUFFERING TO GET SOMETHING YOU’RE UNHAPPY WITH BECAUSE YOU SIMPLY DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND THAT’S OK.
Art is NOT easy, and it’s NOT something that you can skip studies through and KNOW THINGS JUST MAGICALLY. It is HURTFUL that we treat art like it’s something you can just practice mindlessly through and become a god of all things that you couldn’t possibly know unless you LOOKED THINGS UP AND STUDIED.
Think about art not as something to tackle without thought, think about how every new thing you’re going to draw, you need to go get references for, find poses to help you, don’t directly copy, but learn learn learn. When you’re doing colors, try simple pallettes, don’t just go for all colors, remember color theory is complicated, traditional materials do crazy things, remember that programs are complicated, remember that anatomy is complicated, proportions are complicated, shading is insane, these things are not things you should just know and if you just GO expecting yourself to know you are going to SEVERELY UPSET YOURSELF for no reason and it’s not fair to you and it’s not fair to any practicing artist. It is ok if you don’t know, it’s ok to step back, and it’s ok to evaluate and look to others for help.
FINALLY AND HONESTLY THIS IS THE LAST OF THIS I PROMISE:
Get involved with other artists, get involved and don’t give up, keep trying, keep drawing, keep talking to them, even if it scares you, even if it feels like they are going to think you’re weird- THEY ALL REMEMBER BEING IN YOUR POSITION. Whether they are empathetic or not, whether they are in the position to help you or not, whether they take the time to encourage you or not, is not owed to you- but the fact that they are the MOST LIKELY PEOPLE TO KNOW WHAT YOU’RE FEELING MEANS THEY ARE THE MOST LIKELY TO HELP YOU THEY ARE THE MOST LIKELY TO UNDERSTAND AND EMPATHIZE WITH YOU AND THEY ARE THE MOST LIKELY TO TRULY GO OUT OF THEIR WAY.
Yes the chances are small, they are busy too, they have lives, no you shouldn’t rely on it, and if they do it, it shouldn’t be entitled to you, but even if they don’t, seeing other artists work will give you goals, will push you along just naturally. And hey, if that artist happens to be in a position where they have enough luxury of time and such to be able to really respond to you, then it’s ok that you feel worthless, I promise you no one in their entire life every felt like a thousand percent about any of their works. On average, when I post, I hold my breath until I start getting notes, because I am convinced that no one will like it.
So if you come to me asking how to make someone who feels bad about themselves feel good about themselves, let me be honest with you, i haven’t entirely got that down yet, I am still figuring out how to truly believe in myself, but let me also be honest, — a lot of people are. Your position is unique in that it is you in your life experiencing it, but the feelings you have are not, and you should never be ashamed to ask for your friends to please help you, let them know- a lot of people will be willing to support you. At worst you’ll get a no, and in that case….
well now you know where you stand anyways. Yes it will hurt, but you should be looking for people who want to help you, and you should help them too. This is what being communal, and being on Tumblr is meant to be for. This is what humans are meant to do, play, be productive, help themselves, and work and build towards understanding each other.
Wow, that got deep.