Hey. You. Stop calling your art ugly.
This has transcended “artistic pet peeve” and is now making me actually angry. Indignant, fightin’ words kind of angry.
People like your art. More importantly, somebody likes your art. Another human being out there sees your art– maybe in between reminders of ugly politics or drama, maybe in the middle of their soul-sucking job, maybe just first thing in the morning or before they go to bed– and that makes their day a little brighter. Not just because it’s cute, or it’s got nice colors, or it’s a character they like. But because you posted it. And then they see “forgive my garbage art” or “I’m sorry this is so ugly” or “ugh this sucks.” And guess what? That brings them right back down. It says– undoubtedly inadvertently, but all the same– “if you like this, you’re an idiot. This thing you look up to? It’s awful. What’s wrong with you?”
And yes, I know why people do this. It’s a defense mechanism. If I put my art down first, then nobody else will be able to. And I know whatever is causing these thoughts will not be talked away by some text post on Tumblr. I would by all means encourage talking back to those ugly, demeaning thoughts, replacing those habits with constructive ones geared towards humble improvement of craft (now’s as good a time as any to mention that all artists have doubts and struggles with their work, but there’s a difference between being your own harshest critic and being your own meanest bully). But I get that I’m not your therapist, your mom, even your friend, probably. If you want to continue to fall back into beating yourself up, I can’t stop you. But I write this in the hopes that you at least realize how it might affect other people. Because it isn’t a localized wound. It hurts your followers. It takes something they find beautiful or uplifting or resonant or inspirational and trashes it before their eyes. It’s a plague to the whole art community, and it sure as hell spreads like one.
I don’t really pay attention to my follower number, but I checked it before I wrote this up and it’s around 400 or so. First off, thank you. I don’t want to focus on the number, but I do feel honored any time I see a new follower. But also, I see that number and I think, “You know, that’s quite a reach. That’s a lot of people.” But then I forget the people and I think of the somebody. I think, “Odds are this will reach somebody out there. Odds are it’ll piss somebody off, too, but I’ll take that one person it reaches.” I think that’s a good way to view your art, too. Yes, somebody out there might beat you to the punch and call your art ugly. It sucks, it stings, I know that from experience. But it’s not the end of the world, and it doesn’t change a thing about the people who have found beauty of any kind in your art.
If you can’t for the life of you see the value in your own art, value the somebody who does.