Words of Wisdom?

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Words of Wisdom?

Post by Rowan » Wed Nov 15, 2006 10:46 pm

I was hoping i could somehow dip into this vast shared experiencial
knowledge by asking a question thats been bothering me
- since i was yay high-

As artists proffesionally, how do you deal with times of low self esteem?
Or when you dont know where your going with your skill
and you dont know where your future lies?

I understand this is a very positive Forum,
but also a very personal topic, and i wont be offended if nobody wants to comment.

But id really appreciate it if you would.

thanks :D

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Post by JoePotato » Thu Nov 16, 2006 12:22 am

I read a really great book (I swear by it in terms of art) called Art and Fear. It's a short little book that deals with the experience of Artmaking and all the things that affect us.

I also recommend prayer.

Sometimes you just gotta ride out the storm and sometimes you'll come out the other side with some valuable insight. I hope that helps.

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Post by smaragddrache » Thu Nov 16, 2006 1:22 am

I'm not a professional artist, but an artist with similar fears. Whenever I express them to other artists, they tell me that if I love what I'm doing, someone out there will love it too. You have to do art for yourself first, and for others second, so it doesn't matter if people like it or not. I know it sounds cliche, but in a way, it's true. Believe me, I know it's not easy! I've questioned myself constantly if I can really do this, if anyone will even care. But I have to try, or else I won't know.

I don't know if that helps or not, but I hope it does. Think of the whole experience as an adventure!

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Post by Nick » Thu Nov 16, 2006 6:17 am

This is something that all good artists suffer from, it shows that you care about your work and you want to achieve more. I think it's also an artists burden, it's one of those niggling things that's always going to be there.

As mere mortals it's very easy to focus solely on the negatives, but you have to try and remind yourself of the times when you've been complimented for your skills, your achievements.

I find looking through old sketchbooks reminds me of how much I've improved. Also a complete change in whatever music I'm listening to also works wonders, helps to break what might have become routine with something fresh and new. If it's really bad, then you can sit at that desk all you like, but that inspiration isn't going to show it's face. In which case taking a break for a day or two will leave you gagging for a sketchbook ;P

Don't worry, we've all been there :]
Last edited by Nick on Thu Nov 16, 2006 10:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by megrar » Thu Nov 16, 2006 6:55 am

i draw through it.

i experiment with style, i change things up, i try to improve. if i'm down on my art, i pick apart why that is. once i was really down because i kept comparing my work to that of another girl's that i admire. i don't usually compare myself to anyone, so i figured if i was doing it to her, there must be something in her style that i wanted in mine. so i sat down and studied hers.

as it turns out, i was in love with the way she drew upper lips. specifically, that she used a very long beautiful line on them, where i had tended to just make a wee one. that's all! i had upper-lip envy!

so i started added longer lines there, and i got over it. obviously it's not always that simple. but the subconscious is funny (and mute, so you really have to pay attention to it).

as to the future--uhh. yes. i'm doing webdesign as an intern right now. my last job was walmart. i don't know what my next job will be. i want to just sit home all day and make comics. pipe dream.

pretty much i just hang on and keep drawing. it might be a pipe dream, but, it's definately an impossibility if i let myself get bogged down in fear.

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Post by Rowan » Thu Nov 16, 2006 7:58 am

Thank you for the feed back everyone!
This really helps!
Its good to know that other people go through this too!

Ill try out what you guys have suggested-
And ill keep an eye for the book you recommend, joe potato!

thanks again!

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Post by Dresden Codak » Thu Nov 16, 2006 8:19 am

When I'm down, I generally do two basic things: 1) go outside, and 2) exercise. Seems simple, but it makes a world of difference.

If you're feeling especially discouraged, it may be because you've set your immediate goals too high. Saturating yourself with the art of especially phenomenal people is good, but too much at one time can lead to frustration, as you instinctively place unrealistic standards upon yourself. It's good to have high aspirations, but to keep your sanity you need to sort of think globablly and act locally. Set tiny daily or weekly goals; this way you'll eventually put out more art and material without being overwhelmed by projects that you're not yet ready for.

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Post by Badger » Thu Nov 16, 2006 8:28 am

Hey, I'm not a full time proffesional, but from my experience with art i would say just keep drawing, switch to painting if that isn't working, do an observational or some muscle studies if that isn't going well. I think the main thing for me is keeping the ball rolling. Find some other illustrators to hang out with and sketch, the net is great for this.
Hope that helps a bit.

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Post by Scott Hallett » Thu Nov 16, 2006 11:44 am

This is definitely something I've struggled with myself. I find that two things can clear your head of this: 1) Walking away for a while and doing something else, 2) switching direction, just trying new things and new techniques.

I think artistically there's always a slight disconnect with what we picture vs. what we produce. It's this disconnect that can push you to be better, or to throw in the towel. I think you just have to try to persevere and move on.

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Post by jdalton » Thu Nov 16, 2006 6:06 pm

Dresden Codak wrote:Saturating yourself with the art of especially phenomenal people is good, but too much at one time can lead to frustration, as you instinctively place unrealistic standards upon yourself.
Which is why my copy of Flight spends most of its time sitting on my bookshelf. :P

I would hardly consider myself wise when it comes to this subject, but a few minor things to keep in mind:

1.) Suffering makes your art better. Which kinda sucks, 'cause no one likes to suffer, but oh well.

2.) As long as you're improving, you'll be okay. Art-making isn't like professional sports- even if it takes you until you're 75 to be good enough to get published, you still have a chance.

3.) Every artist I've ever met, pro and non-pro, has gone through bouts of hating their style. Either they make their style better, or learn to live with it (especially if everyone else likes it).
Jonathon Dalton
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Post by Makafui » Fri Nov 17, 2006 3:35 am

I am not a professional artist, I am currently in art school and I have on many occasions woken up in a cold sweat with the words "there's just too much" echoing in caverns of my mind.

And many times I have mini panic attacks when I think just how much there is to learn and how many possible styles there are, but there's always calm when I remind myself of two things:

1- You only need to know certain things for certain peices, gear your learning to what you are producing if you want to learn something new produce something new. That way you cover the ground you NEED to cover. I am personally addicted to information so I find sometimes it helps to reel myself in or I could spend the rest of my life (especially because of the internet) reading newspapers.

2- This is a lifetime pursuit, you can look at it at intimidating and overwhelming or just a massive playground and you can go anywhere you want, you can't cover it all but who cares you don't need to, just have fun.

Hope that helped.

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Post by Rowan » Fri Nov 17, 2006 10:23 am

This has helped !
Thankyou everybody :)

*goes back to the drawing board*

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Post by Rad Sechrist » Fri Nov 17, 2006 11:07 am

If you suffer with depression, freelance can be bad. You are very isolated. Sometimes I forget how to talk to people in person. I deal with it by going skateboarding, surfing, snowboarding, etc. Any form of exercise will help with self esteem in general.

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Post by Vince » Fri Nov 17, 2006 10:00 pm


Just kidding. What Rad said.

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Post by Sankam » Mon Nov 20, 2006 7:53 pm

Just a quick thanks from another artist with low self-esteem lurking and reading your advice, and finding it inspirational.

Thanks! :o
"Once, there were only wilderkin..."

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