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Hmmm well I'm going to try more meditation. Spring has come back to the mountains now so I'll do some yoga if I can outdoors...
It's interesting that some of you have said you don't feel the same angst... My wife thinks it's just my mental make up - must be true!
I love painting and drawing so I'll just concentrate on the enjoyment I feel.
Whether talent exists or not, I can't exactly say for sure.
But I know one thing, my brush will never be as heavy as young up and comers like Sean Sevestre's, Brandon Liao's, Ross Tran's, Sam Carr's, Miles Johnston's, Forrest Imel's, or Andrew Sonea's.
I'm going to keep this sweet and simple.
Hold people to the merits of their craft, not their age.
Last edited by HarbingerofIllRepute; April 7th, 2014 at 12:39 PM.
Honestly, if I made everything into a competition with people who do it better, I would never get to do anything.
I don't see why I have to deny myself anything because someone who does it better exists. If I'm doing it, I'm doing it because I like it. If I'm any good at it I've liked it for a long time and I'm not about to stop because of other people. I don't believe that "other people" is a particularly good reason to start or quit anything.
There's already been some really good advice on this thread, but I just want to state my own point of view on it.
Basically what you're talking about is regret over the past - the idea that you should have started sooner. A lot of people like to browbeat themselves over past decisions, or wasting their time when they were younger or whatever, but in reality that's pointless. You can't change the past - what's done is done. Every day you start fresh, building on who you are that day, you just have to accept that as ground zero and go forward from there.
Past and future don't exist - the past is only memories and the future will be whatever we make of it plus random unforeseeable stuff happening. There is only now. And it's useless to waste now with torturing yourself over something you can't change - far better to use your present moment in some positive way.
What's that old phrase, "hindsight is 20/20"? You can pick out and see all the mistakes you have made in the past and see what you 'should have' done differently then, but only after you've been through it all. You also waste time thinking and dwelling like that; at worst, you'll be consumed by it and it will prevent you from ever trying to reach your goals.
If you are stuck in this mindset it can be difficult to shake it, often because you may think you have to fix it all in one hit, rather than clawing it back one small bit at a time.
Mmmm, I always try to use comparison in a healthy way. Like I don't think its a good idea at all to stick your head in the sand and just work until you think that you are good enough.
If you use strong work as a sort of goal or think "what can I do to get that good" or something like that then I think that comparison is important.
I think I can relate to your perspective.
My coping mechanism is this: I want to draw, and this desire keeps me working and keeps me not caring what other people can or cannot do in relation to me.
What I want to do is create. My "right" to create is not dependent on the quality of the piece, having good composition, color work, et cetera. What makes me entitled to create is my desire to do so, and my investment of time and work.
This doesn't mean I don't aspire to improve and to output quality - but actually these are not high priorities. What is important is to draw, and to invest work into my drawings.
I am certain there are people who enjoy my work as it is and as it can be in the future. When I want people to be with me i the process of creation (actually I do) I seek out those people.
how is that, as an ode to mediocrity?
The heights by great men reached and kept,
Were not attained by sudden flight,
For they, while they companions slept,
Were toiling upwards in the night"
I was about to write, "I don't get psyched I get inspired", but then saw Candra already wrote it.
For me it's a personal process, diligence begets progress.
Thanks guys - I am trying to approach it in a different way. I guess the difference is age and as Darkstrider said, the sense of regret - but I also agree with his analysis - thanks! That it's important to concentrate on the present and to forget the past or think of the future.
Anyhow I am persevering...
I have similar thoughts like you Lovingit. I used to draw alot when I was a kid and when i hit about 14 years old I knew that i wanted to work in games or film, I didnt realize at the time that I could make a living of doing concept art or illustration etc.
I just thought that I had to go to college and then University to get a degree and then a job afterwards.
Problem is i was naive and young! I went to college and studied Art and Design for two years, cant really say i learnt much i was just coasting along, not realizing how much work needs to be put in to actually get really good at art!
Finally went to University and enrolled in a Computer Games Design course, got pulled in by all their marketing telling me to do this course because it will keep my options open if I learn all aspects of Games design, instead of specializing. (Concept art, Modelling, Animating, Level design etc.)
I coasted along again and ended up dropping out of Uni, I didnt know what to do with myself, I had to get job to survive, so i ended up joining the army. For the next five years i hardly did any drawing, I was thinking of making a career out of the army and staying in till the end of my 22 year contract.
Right this post is going on forever haha To cut a long story short, one day while i was in Afghanistan i decided that i would leave the army after my Tour of duty and pursue my dream.
And now here i am at 26 years old trying to get good at art again! Wishing i didnt waste all that time all them years ago not knowing what to do with myself.
Thats why sometimes im the same like you and i see people younger than me, better than me, and i get worried that i wont make it.
Cant let it get to our heads though, huh?
Basically this: Self-criticism can help you improve (Note the CAN), but self-doubt gets you nowhere. You talk about "making it" like it's a specific point that will be reached. It's not. Are you good enough to get a job as an illustrator/artist right now? Probably. Will it be a great job and will you produce stellar results? Maybe, maybe not. But the job is out there, and you can "make it" right now. Will this leave you satisfied? Hopefully not.
Improve as much as you can, find jobs, take jobs. That's pretty much it IMO.
To be honest you shouldn't compare yourself too much to others.
I always was one of the best, if not the best in my class, not only in art, but in sciences too. Despite being completely lazy I could always get away with it and would use anything to stroke my ego and think I was better than everyone else. I did my college in art and would still think I was better than anyone else. Then I went into engineering (polytechnics) and got whacked in the face with not only shitty results, but finding out how much better some people are. I mean, some of these guys found what I found really difficult not only very easy, but some of them were bored and looking for more of a challenge.
That's when I learned my lesson, that it's not about being better than others, it's about doing your own thing and whatever makes you happy. No matter how good you are you will always find much better than you.
These posts are great to read! I just came out of a period where I stopped watching other artists completely! Then when I did I found out I really missed it and have learned a lot from both (the isolation and the comeback).
"You talk about "making it" like it's a specific point that will be reached. It's not."
Whyatt Trash the it in making it you mention is called "das ding". We do need it in our lives I guess. It has a different meaning for everyone!
Last edited by Gibier; April 11th, 2014 at 12:34 PM.
I think that was a poor choice of words in my first post. When I say im worried I wont make it, I guess I mean I would like to get to a good enough standard to put food on my table. But first and foremost it's about enjoying art and learning from it, because at the end of the day it's a hobby and then maybe a career.
What Stephou says is true, there's always going to be some one better than you, just dont worry about it and make sure you enjoy what you are doing!
Last edited by MartinGill561; April 11th, 2014 at 01:32 PM.
@LovingIt : I don't have any advice, just want to say that I am right where you are dude. Excepting of course that I am not as good a painter as you
I am 38, an industrial designer / sketchaholic that so badly wants to get into film or games in a vis dev role that it nearly consumes me at times. I have worked professionally as a designer in one form or another for close to 14 years.
I have come close to getting vis dev games roles a couple of times but for one reason or another it didn't happen.
I am the proud father of two 5 year olds and a 10 mth old, and subsequently a stay at home Dad, so you can imagine how much time I have for my art.
I have so little time at my disposal, (couple of hours a week) and so far to go artistically, to where I want to be.
In years past, my wife has had to come and pull me away from the PC before, because all I was doing was looking at everyone else's work; coming across superstar artists half my age and getting substantially depressed/ pysched out.
More recently I have rediscovered joy in my art again, thanks to online courses like Chris Oatley's Magic Box and LevelUp! and I am just trying to remember it is a journey, and not to put so much crushing pressure on myself, whilst still trying to always build on my skills.
I am with your wife on this one, sometimes biochemical makeup sets a mental obstacle course for us, that can be challenging to get through.
With respect, those people blessed enough to have never experienced crippling self-confidence issues,depression, anxiety, etc just won't understand because it needs to be experienced to fathom its' depths.
I have found that (and my highly supportive wife has astutely pointed out also) I spent far too much time looking at others work instead of doing my own.
TLDR: you aren't alone
Last edited by illoostrader; April 12th, 2014 at 01:28 AM. Reason: Superfluous posts
Hey illostrader, thanks for that kind post. I think your posts were checked by the admin bods before you get a chance to post (nothing to do with me)...
Anyhow. I think the problem is (and this is possibly why I haven't gotten a job or even an interview yet) - is that when you get older you are less inclined to take the bullshit. As a company, if I had the choice of a 21 year old fresh faced happy kid vs a 36 year old been there done, I know who I'd be more inclined to pick. It's not that I would be against taking instruction, orders, working hard etc...
Maybe that's just bullshit - after all I haven't even gotten to interview yet!
Anyhow - we'll see. Thanks for the post - not everyone gets it - but I think it IS important not to get psyched out and try and stay positive and keep swimming. I've been working on my portfolio pretty much 12 hours a day now for the last 6 months - if nothing happens by the end of this month I'm going to put it on the back burner and try some of my own entrepreneurial ideas again.
I do get a weird cocktail of feelings when I see somebody's very good work of art. Among all the positive feelings I also feel being threatened a bit and I save the work on my disk and I keep returning to it for days until I manage to find something that I wouldn't do If I was the author. Then my relationship with the work enters into more peaceful waters. But - I do not feel like that by anyone who's better than me, I only feel that when somebody's better than what I want to be. I don't think this is completely negative behavior, I perceive it as a fuel for an engine that crawls deeper and analyses things and helps me understand the subtle characteristics of what might define my own work.
Just be sure the rapture of creativity forever exceeds your need for personal gain, be it material or egocentric.
I like to think focus should be entirely on the increased progress of my skill set.
When I see something that impresses me, I use that energy for inspiration, and promptly set about rising to the challenge.
I don't always succeed, but what it does do, is make me push myself and more importantly, my boundaries.
Don't worry about what others are doing. They are not you.
“The eagle never lost so much time as when he submitted to learn of the crow” ~ William Blake
Well, my advice about focusing on your own work kinda relies on you having at least searched for work. It seems you already recognize that at least part of what you're saying is BonkerS, and that's good. You just need to cut through it and apply yourself, not to the art but to landing a job or two. A common difference between people who have jobs and people who don't is the ones who do say "I can do this"/"I need this" and the ones who don't say "I can't"/"someone else can do better". You seem stuck in the second camp, feeding yourself BS reasons as to why you're stuck there. And you can do so much better than that.
What I think you've started to realize is that this has very little to do with anyone else and very much to do with you. Even if there were absolutely no other artists around, you'd probably still be battling these issues. But this is good news; because while you have very little influence over what other people do, you CAN change what YOU do and how YOU think.
And I reiterate:
Last edited by Whyatt Thrash; April 13th, 2014 at 09:13 AM.
“The eagle never lost so much time as when he submitted to learn of the crow” ~ William Blake
I do not agree with this quote of William Blake here. What if there are no other eagles around of which he knows of?
What if the eagle doesn't know how to fly? He would be better off learning from the crow than from the rabbit right?
I'm affected by that kind of "god-tier" art in a completely counterproductive way (paralysis, depression, hopelessness, defeat) and just because I recognize the uselessness of these emotions, it doesn't stop them from happening. I follow FZD on Facebook, for example, and instead of inspiration, I get a reminder of where I wish I was, and how I'm not even close.
I think the only thing that I can do is to, essentially, ignore it, and to find other metrics by which to measure myself. I'm just not the type to find inspiration in good art. I appreciate it, I admire it, but any compulsion I have to put pen to tablet evaporates when I see something far beyond my skill level. Maybe it's my primal, over-competitive nature; the anger of being "defeated," some narcissistic sense of entitlement to being the best, who knows.
What I found from my own soul searching is that I do better to simply shut out the noise of the outside world, and measure my progress against nothing else but myself. If you want to be better, evaluate your personal skill level, find a weak spot, address it, and improve upon it to your satisfaction. Getting caught up on other people's skill level will destroy you if you're the type of person that is bothered or fatigued by it, so don't subject yourself to it. Use every last bit of effort to get caught back up in YOUR skill level, because it's the only one you have any control over.
The Internet exposes you to a lot of competitors. There's a flip side to that though, because it also exposes you to a lot of possible mentors.
When I was first going to college I totally got psyched out by all the great artists out there. I think this is what happens if you feel you need to do art for money, because as soon as money is involved then you have to care about the competition. If you just draw for drawings sake, then competition is irrelevant. So if drawing is your job, or you want it to be, I guess you just have to buckle down and accept the competition is brutal and iron your will.
If its just your hobby, then there's no reason to feel competitive. This is how I look at it now.