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Submitted on
September 8, 2013
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It's funny how people seem to think that I'm all that great, just because I make the art I do, and I voice my opinion here in an occasional journal-article. Like any other artist out here, I have my own doubts about my art, and I have a hard time facing them every now and then. I'm not perfect. I'm far from where I want to be. And lately I'm quite uncertain of where I want to go with my art. It's something that is bothering me quite a bit, and blocked my creativity.

When I started doing art again, somewhere at the start of 2010, I used to very very insecure about my art. I never joined contests because I'm terribly afraid of failing. Honestly, I would feel bad about myself for weeks if I didn't at least end up in the honorable mentions. I never made tutorials because I was afraid one of DA's members would come up and say to me: "Why are you teaching this shit? You don't know anything about art!". And although I never liked to do fanart, I wouldn't probably have dared to do it either. Afraid that my art would be an insult to the original character/creator. Yeah, back then I just worked quietly on my own projects, because it was no contest, and nobody would be angry to me about messing up my own characters. To some degree, I didn't really want to get noticed. Because getting noticed, usually meant people starting to form an opinion over you. And yeah... there would always be people that would't just like me.

Back then, I used to think that that insecurity was a logical kind of thing. I mean, my art sucked. I had all the reason to feel bad about it. And I couldn't just imagine that there existed people with art worse than mine that felt great about their work, because I never did. To my idea, feeling secure was related to some degree of skills and appreciation. 

I couldn't be more wrong.

Back in the time, I was quite uncertain about my skills. The one thing, however, that I was certain about, was my own project. By then, I'd been writing novels for years. Not professional, of course. I probably wouldn't be able to bear the shame of being rejected by a publisher (let alone that the Dutch market is extremely hard to get published in, due to me not able to write proper English). But at that point publishing didn't really matter to me. It's true that in my dream world the project would've been translated to English and gone worldwide, but what writer doesn't secretly dream about that? 
Anyhow, the publishing wasn't by far the main goal. I wrote because I loved to write. And I drew because I loved to create an image of those characters and scene's that had been in my head for so long. Writing on my book, or drawing something related to it, somehow always made me feel good. Just like many people watch movies or play games to get lost in a world, I just loved creating my own world and just get lost in it. And I was fine with not being known, because I didn't actually want people to say harsh things about my characters. They were characters I created. And although they had their flaws, I liked hem. 

Nowadays I'm way past that point in which people didn't know me. In just a few years of time I generated quite the buzz for my own project. A project from which I never would've thought anyone (except me) would like it. I mean; I was like a depressed teenager when I first thought that stuff up (hence the very emo-ish looking first project drawings). I never expected people to like that. I didn't intent to create it that way either. It's true that I posted stuff online. But that's more since I initially had a very small group of followers (most of them were also Dutch writers -- and we helped each other with our novels), but I never really expected people outside of that group to follow it. 

What's the point then? -- many people would ask me. Well, the point is that, although the fanbase changed, my insecurity hasn't really changed that much. In my case, it was probably never related to skill. I didn't feel good enough back then, and I still don't feel so now. And even if I had the skill to earn tons of money with just painting, I wouldn't probably feel good enough either. My insecurity is related to being rejected in doing the thing that you most love to do. In my case; art, or writing. 
I'm usually fine with criticism. I don't particularly like it (who does?) but I get a lot of it in my working environment. So I've gotten used to it, and I can handle it quite well. The point is; although work is something I love, it's just work. It's not something I pour my soul into. And it certainly doesn't hurt so badly when people tell me I suck at it. 

It's weird to realize that something I started doing, just to feel comforted, has evolved in something so... widespread. Nowadays there are people that refer to me as being an example of what they want to do with art. And although I haven't got a clue why, I kinda feel the pressure there. If people refer to me as an example... does that mean I should act like one? Does that mean I cannot fail, or I will disappoint people? Although it's really not intended that way, that's a whole damn lot of pressure. And it's bothering me. Because it's making me doubt every move I make, and it's taking out the fun from just drawing and writing because I want to. 

I lately came to rewrite the first book of my novel series, since it's already 7 years old, and it doesn't fit so well with the rest of the storyline. I first thought about rewriting little parts, but once I started revising the original chapters, I soon came to the conclusion that just correcting a few things wouldn't do it. So I decided I wanted to do a rewrite. Nothing bad about that. And in a way, I kinda looked forward to writing it, since it's really fun to write about the same characters that you're used to -- but then younger, and uninfluenced by all the 'mistakes' you wrote years ago. A fresh restart!

So I started writing, but ended up staring at a white screen... far longer than was good for me.
I felt totally blocked. Before I started writing, I had many good ideas. But I started doubting all of them. I started doubting if the ideas were good enough. If it wouldn't make my characters either too stereotypical, or too weird. If I should change stuff about my characters, to make them different. If the storylines would be realistic enough to find believable... and whatnot. You get my point. Hopelessly artblocked. And the point is; art isn't much better either. The amount of followers here is fun, but it's building up the pressure to post actual good stuff on here, like full fledged digital art. Stuff I don't always feel I can make. And the more people compliment me here on my rapid improvement, the more bad I feel about not improving so much at the moment. It's a negative spiral. I'm well aware of it. I just don't know how to break out of it.

So that's where I am.
I posted this whole damn long message about me being artblocked and not having a clue how to get out here. Somehow, it feels like failing to admit this. But I think it would even make me feel more miserable to just disappear from the internet and keep up the appearance of being oh-so-perfect. I'm not perfect. I'm just another artist, like you. I'm insecure about my skills, probably like many others. And I messed up. But at least I have the guts to admit it.
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:iconlunastarfox:
lunastarfox Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2014  Student General Artist
till this day I'm still very insecure about my art and there of people in the real world criticize me on my art and why i should even keep on drawing  I'm still to shy to advratize my art but hopefully once i get more practice i will be able to explore and get more out there    right now I'm trying to deveope my own style  which to me is nearly impossible   but thaks to you ur journal helped me a lot and yet i know i have lots of improving to do i hope one day to get better  because i love drawing and its just what i do  and i know I'm not perfect I'm far from but i guess its just who i am    a lot of great artists these days tend to think they are perfect and make people who are not as good feel bad and   u being a great artist actually cares and helps people and i just wantd to say thank you   for all the support to a lll the fellow artists and i hope things will be good for you in the future      anyway keep up the great work :D
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:iconeirikiss:
Eirikiss Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
This is soooo me! Thank u :)
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:iconasaber-eleanen:
Asaber-Eleanen Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I realize this was posted a long time ago...and I probably missed the right time to actually comment, but I would like to say, I think you're an amazing person. Not just an amazing artist, not just a intelligent person, but an exceptional human being. Artblocks the worse...it really is, and you have probably already gotten over it, because you posted this so long ago, but I still felt like I should put my two cents in. Sorry if its too late, or silly. But sometimes it seems like the best thing you can give a person is a little bit of hope. You say praise of your art makes things worse, so I wanted to say this. From what I've read from your journals, and the amount of times you've saved me from giving up on art, just from your kind and wise words, I can tell your a great person. As far as the internet, and Deviant art, you are one of the most inspiring and kind people I've had the honor to talk to. I know this doesn't always help, but I hope 2014 brings a lot les artblock and insecurity, and a lot more joy.
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:icondamaimikaz:
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:hug:
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:iconmateograph:
MateoGraph Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2013  Professional Artist
There no need to judge.. just share constructive criticisms and points of view.If somebody never doubts doing art , he s   not artist ...maybe just a money machine or megalomaniac^^
I personally think that "making art" or create is easier than "live" Even if my work always brings doubts, questions,choices ,the most important is to Do (even if i find a stuff shity , i m already thinking about the next one ^^)
My canvas , sculptures... are not "my babies"  :      - when i finish a work , "it s dead " its  time life was during its making."This is just art after all" , not a sacred thing like businessmen speculation (or religions did centuries ago)
The only way to make it "survive" a little more after building is when a work is a source of sharing ideas,questions.. while an exibition,with friends..so it s not sterile,barren.

And Virna , don t worry about technic ..just a matter of patience,time,work and eye's education ,the important is your approach,thought process ..don t need to do complex things 
to express ideas or poetry;) i went to art schools and didn t listen to teacher ....and got a certificate with congratulations of board of examiners (that means nothing^^)
Most of business artist doubt too but they just don t show it , just an attitude to seem strong and professional, just varnish,disguise.Nothing to be impressed ,lies and emptyness
I humbly and sincerely think that real artist are not those who sell or in museums,appear on media.. ,  only those that work with their heart and soul  
Maybe my point of view is "romantic,immature or from the past " but i ll keep my integrity even if i have to sleep on the street^^
Hoping my english is enough clear..^^
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:iconthausgt:
thausgt Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2013
Fear cannot be reasoned with. It comes from a part of the brain that evolved long before language or abstract thought.
Sometimes, blocks fall if you just slog your way through them. Just draw something, anything, regardless of how "good" you think it is.
I'm a writer, myself, so I understand something of what you're going through, and sometimes I can sneak around writer's block if I set the "major work" aside and start playing with something that "means nothing". Sometimes all it takes is giving yourself permission to fail... and thereby permission to succeed in a different way than you expected.
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:iconkawaiikiddo:
KawaiiKiddo Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You said in the journal that when you started to do your art again in 2010 you didn't join contests because you were scared if failing :D even thought you're far over my skills, I want to tell you this: the point with contests is to show your skills to other at same time you having fun!
And in contests you sees others art and art style, get some hint of their art so you can improve your own! :D that is actually whole the point with DA
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:icon0l50nj4:
0L50NJ4 Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
"I'm insecure about my skills, probably like many others. And I messed up. But at least I have the guts to admit it."
I totally respect this and applaud you for admitting this whole thing, and you're totally RIGHT, at least you DO have the guts to admit it. unlike others out there (and it seems to be nearly everyone) at least you're BRAVE enough to tell the truth. :D :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :)
And don't worry, I'm not anywhere near as good as anyone on here but I'm in the same place as you, don't worry you're not alone, not at all. :)
:hug: :hug: :hug: :love: :love: :love: :)
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:iconscarlet-wings-kaili:
Scarlet-Wings-Kaili Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2013  Student
^-^, I think whenever a risk is taken, there's a sense of fear. I don't know if this will help, but I totally know what you mean. When I was little, cause I had language delay, people thought I would be one of those "stupid" kids (one teacher actually called me that but that's beside the point.) Because of that, I was discouraged, thinking, I'll never be able to write well, always be a failure. But thank god, I had the best parents ever and supported me, because I did love stories, just couldn't imagine writing them. Somehow, failing school wasn't what happened, and one day, a teacher told me that I should join Creative writing. I think, it was around then when I realized that maybe I don't have to be creative for other people. This could be for me. Just me, just my private library. Although I am still really insecure about what people think about my work (because creative things should be shared) to me, my growth is more important to me. So, I think that making art (including writing as art) for yourself is more important than making art for others. So what if it's rejected. Van Gogh (I think I spell that right?) sold one painting in his lifetime. That didn't make him any less amazing. So I think, maybe it's not the work you are insecure about, maybe it is the risk that you are afraid of. That's just what I think. Easier said than done though. I often feel the same way as you about my art and writing. I remember the first time I had to read my story in front of the other Creative writers. This person who is giving you this advice hid behind a book. I still feel nervous showing my work, but nervousness should be a natural reaction to having another person read/see my work. Maybe that's because I fear that their opinion of me will change, or maybe it's just too dark (why I will never show some of my stories) and even I'm wasting that time. It's a horrible feeling. To make it worse, I know that I am a good artist, so I feel horrible if I complain. How am I supposed to answer: "That's so good!" when I think it's horrible. I don't want to feel like a show -off or seem snobby. I swear that is the last comment I want to hear (and it is a nice comment) not because it's almost the only thing I hear, but I really have no words for it. I feel I have to get even better because of this insecurity and it is not a bad thing, but I also feel can't gain anything. So in a way, I like criticism better because I know what to work on. So I think, if this is stressing you on, remember this is for you, not me, not anyone else. Remember if you share, real artist who know how the risk feels like will support you and who thinks its trash or something aren't real artists. They are just show-offs. Art blocks suck, but sometimes they need to happen for you to learn something else.
I figure, if you keep trying to get better and better, work will tend to get better lol.
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:iconbumpytheshroom:
BumpyTheShroom Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2013  Professional General Artist

It happens. Offten for us. Just go with the breakdown. Some record every thought during the break down, to use later, but what ever you choose- just let it flow. There is catharsis in it. Break down. Let it all crumble around you, let yourself crumble, and when there is "nothing left", when you are empty, remember this:

 

You.

 

You are feeling empty. You are there. The pieces are fallen all around you, but there you are.

 

Continue forward from that point. Continue forward to your next break down, and do it all again.

 

That's the one lesson I've learned well enough to feel confident to advise others in. Don't die, just shluff of the old, break under the pressure, let it all go, and then move forward through the dark, the empty, the directionless forward. Really, that's the only direction you ever go, however it may appear. There is no shame in the cleansing that comes from the loss. There is always more to move toward.

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