I find it realistic to say that you will only get good at your craft after a minimum of two years of hard practice.
Quantity does not mean quality.
If you crank out ten drawings, maybe one is really good, the others were just warm-ups.
The one that is really good, I should make it again at least another five times to make it outstanding. Or maybe make a composite. It’s valid. Either way, the first version needs revision, like in writing. Everyone needs to rewrite.
That’s the one that should go on the website.
I started posting every little drawing I made, the good, the not so good and the ugly.
It’s difficult to contain oneself when making something. You want to show it, you want the accolade, the reassurance.
Creation can never exist alone.
But how did creators manage before the internet?
They weren’t obnoxious like we are now, pushing everything online.
They honed their skills. This is why it’s fascinating finding the papers of a writer or creator (although little by little there will be less paper to find and only unaccessible hard drives will be left).
Then comes the question of style and originality
How many years of practice must you have before you find your style?
According to Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Co. it took her two years before being comfortable with the originality and authenticity of her designs.
Everything is valid
Personally, I find the biggest obstacle is my tendency towards “purity”. The “do it from scratch” mindset. “To be original”.
I understand that everything comes from something else, but for some reason I have no problem accepting this from other people’s but not from myself.
Yet with the internet it seems that even before beginning anything, I want to see what other people are doing it and thus begins the war with myself about wanting to do original work but never feeling certain if I’m doing things the way “I’m supposed to”.
In these cases, I follow one rule:
If I feel the urge to binge on other people’s work, I allow it but I almost clinically monitor my reactions to what I’m watching.
- Do I want to send a note of appreciation?
- Do I want to bookmark, pin, send to my sources of inspiration?
Or… do I feel
* The “Oh my god I will never be as good as…”
By monitoring my reactions, I know when to stop researching and start doing.
Editorial work is important in everything.
You shouldn’t edit your own work. Get a fresh perspective as soon as possible
Don’t be hard on yourself, just be honest.
Avoid thinking about making a living with what you’re currently doing.
It distracts, it makes you think about what others would like.
Just remember: 2 years of practice.
I wish I had followed my own advice when I bought my first set of watercolors. Periods of self-doubt would have been less about doubt and more about curiosity.
If you’ve been making art for a while, what adivice would you give your younger self?
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