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When I started out on DeviantArt, I used to be one of those artists that thought I could never do art properly.

I'll start saying that I spend most of my childhood getting only little encouragement.
My parents were, like many other parents, convinced that art wasn't that much of a useful skill since it's nearly impossible to earn money with -- and would've liked it if I spend my time doing something more useful instead. At school I was that pathetic kid without friends. Creative, yet very introverted. The one that gets bullied in the schoolyard. Needless to say; it was rare to find people saying something nice about me, and it was even more rare to find someone actually encouraging me.

Back then, I used to believe that I was alone. I initially signed up to DeviantArt to find people with similar interests. But it happened to change my mind along the way. When I came into contact with other artists, I came to realize that there were in fact many people just like me. People that didn't have a great time at school, or had their parents giving them a hard time because they believed art was a bad career choice. People struggling with their confidence because they were well aware they weren't as good at the pro's out here, but just didn't know how to get better.

Starting out with things is hard -- even harder when you have little to no confidence to build on.

I've been there. I had my idols that I looked up to. But, sadly, most of them were so grand and impressive that they almost seemed inhuman to me. As if they never had anything other than impressive talent or massive popularity, and it came to them naturally. And like probably many others that didn't overflow with confidence at that time; I felt too intimidated to even talk to them. Yet I kept feeling disappointed over the fact that such a 'great person' would probably never notice me, let alone reply to my messages.
Yes, a lot of mixed feelings here -- yet I noticed it's a very common feeling around here.

I wished that, when I started my journey on DeviantArt in 2007, just one of those well-known artists would have replied to my messages. Nothing special. Just being honest about their talent. That skills don't come overnight. That the road towards it is far from easy, but that we should just be stubborn and never give up. Because back then, I was in need of encouragement -- just like many other beginners are. And such a thing would most certainly have pushed me forward.
But just like many others, I never got a response back. And I felt unworthy.

You know what the weird thing is... once people have acquired something, they make it seem so damned easy for other people to get there. While, as a matter of fact, it's not easy at all. Getting good at something is a rocky road full of hard work, being swayed between emotions, dealing with both peer pressure and self-doubt, and finding creative solutions to deal with all kinds of limitations that come up along the way. I now realize that neither of us are born with the magical talent to draw or write. We all worked for it. And we're all the same.
People tend to forget that a lot.

I see people nowadays being so keen on filtering away the parts in life where they failed, that they make themselves seem almost inhuman. Just note the number of people on DeviantArt hiding their old art because "it's ugly", or the number of improvement meme's that start with amazing art already -- while I'm sure they were at some point unskilled too. You know which improvement meme's inspired me most? Those that started out like utter crap and gradually moved on towards an amazing level of art. Why? Because they encouraged me. Rather than just showing perfect work that I can't do and can't relate to, they showed their beginners stage, when they weren't all that awesome. And I could relate to that, because I wasn't that awesome either.

Over time, things have gradually changed. I've noticed so by the increase of messages in my inbox from people that tell me they admire my art, or ask me how I write so well.
True, it's been almost 7 years since I signed up here. I've changed from a beginner to one that is seemingly known in the community. But to my regret, I now see people looking up towards me in same way as I looked up to my idols years ago. As if my 'level' is just as impossible to reach. As if I were just that inhuman. To be honest; it scares me. I don't want to be one of those amazing artists that new people get depressed over, because they feel they can never do the same.

The sole reason I'm teaching art at conventions, rather than selling it, is because I want to get rid of that illusion. I firmly believe that there's no such thing as sheer talent. I believe that anyone can achieve greatness, if they really try. And I left my old art on DeviantArt for that purpose, even despite thinking it's crap now. Just so people can see that when I started, I was indeed no more skilled than they are. To me, that seems reasonable. I mean; it's the least I can do to encourage people. But over the years many people have asked me how it came that I wasn't afraid to show those works, and why I wasn't afraid to write about the not-so-good things in my life (like bullies, or handicaps), or even exposing my own artistic mistakes.
In return I asked them; "Why should I be afraid?"
Writing fiction for years taught me that the most interesting characters, are often those that are severely flawed, because those are the characters people relate to. When we encounter perfection, we can only stare in awe. When we encounter someone that overcame obstacles in order to grow, it encourages us to do the same.

I have no ambition to pretend things like talent or popularity come to me naturally. It would be a lie if I did so.
Instead, I'd rather be the artist that I wished that had talked to me at the beginning at my journey.

The one that would've told me not to worry too much, because skills don't develop over night. But that I was at least on the right track, because I was trying to improve.
The one that would've told me that popularity isn't only a matter of being skilled at art, but also heavily relies on social skills.
That --despite what many people think-- even talent and popularity won't make you feel better about yourself -- only believing in yourself will.

And if there are, by any chance, people who read this message and feel encouraged to never give up...
I'm glad to have done so.
Add a Comment:
Avodkado Featured By Owner 1 day ago
This was really inspirational and it was hard for me to believe I've only come across it now.
I've always looked up to those who tried and put in effort into making art, and not really those popular artists who seemingly conjure eye-appealing pieces to general audiences. I've never really wanted to be famous or 'god-like' at artistic creation - I've only like drawing and animating because it was an outlet (of expressing my emotions) for me and drawing for or with others was enjoyably fun. ...Still, at some point in every artist's lives, we would've striven to improve as we compare our skills to those well-known artists. I've faced many limitations you've mentioned in this journal (parents discouraging drawing, people telling me to stop) but I think what's important about art to me is that I love it. I love drawing because I can have the freedom to do anything I want with my pen/tablet pen and I've never minded looking at my older drawings from eons ago for all of them have a memory attached to it, which was significant in helping me cope with my life. Truthfully speaking, I've found this message very encouraging and I think an artist's road to wherever they want to go is never easy (I agree with you on many counts!)

Despite many people praising my art at times, I've really have had the urge to tell them that I took three-quarters of my life, constantly drawing, to make it what it is today. Thank you, with all my heartfelt gratitude, for writing this. I think...I sincerely feel...that no matter what the circumstances are, whether you're an artist or not - believing in yourself is what's most important.
Miss-Astronaut Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2015  Student General Artist
This made me thought twice about cutting myself again.
And this made decide not to do it.
Thanks for saving me.
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You shouldn't cut yourself at all :hug:
Please seek help if it becomes a problem. There are good treatments that are able to help you get over it.
ScottWhit Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
So True! I hope this works.
Anime-geek-ftw Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2014
Dude...this is deep, and it's so true. I'm just starting to learn how to become a better artist and writer and this helped a lot. I love it!
Torpoint Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Hi I'm still trying to find my way around the website as a newcomer. Although, I have been doing art for a number of years. I always keep references, artworks that signpost an improvement or a change of style, sometimes even a revelation. That way I know that I will eventually get better, because its happened before.
With regards to goals, I try to keep them realistic and specific and be happy when something good happens. I hope to comment some more on your writings in the future. If I may. 
EskeWolf406 Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
This is a very true journal. I really felt that this journal bring the truth to the light. Amazing. :-)
SunnyArts Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
zackaryrabbit For you, buddy! :)
zackaryrabbit Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
this is amazing. thanks for sharing it! Hug 
SunnyArts Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
You're welcome! Hug I hope it encourages you to keep making your awesome art! :happybounce: 
AdorablyDangerous Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2014  Hobbyist
Thank you for writing this!
Maxojir Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2014  Student Writer
Yeah, the nostalgic feeling of looking up at the "good" artists/writers as their image (in your own mind) towers up into the heavens while you've stopped gaining height at your human six-foot limit . . . been there, felt/thought that
Vikavilewell Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
thank you for this. It takes away that 'unreal' feeling >:)
delPuertoSisters Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you so much for all you do for your fans. Now we've read this fantastic words... WE'LL DO OUR BEST TO BECOME GOOD ARTISTS AND BE PROUD OF OURSELVES! Naruto Uzumaki (This is the way) [V1] 
mylittleponyfan24 Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2014
AMAZING!!!!! :)
HalcyonNoctem Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Such wonderful words. Would you mind if I linked this to people who need some encouragement?
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Not at all.
It's posted on a public site for a reason :)
WellKnowngraphics Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2014  Professional General Artist
good speech will take heed to those words thanx
DaddysGirl120 Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2014  Hobbyist
Thats Great i mean not about the whole background with no encouragemant but that you didn't give up and kept doing what you love no matter what they said.
MisterSnowLeopard Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
It is upsetting looking at all these professional artists who are hiding their bad work. Honestly, I've seen very VERY few of the skilled folks here show any of their old drawings, the bad stuff they did on their way to way they are now. Not only that, from what I've seen (and I've seen hundreds if not thousands here at this point), almost NONE of them give any explanation as to how they did their work. No list of tools, and I see people asking some of them and they'll give what is effectively a non-answer. I swear I just saw one who had asked a pro here what tools he uses and he said "I use a wide variety of tools :)". No seriously, that's all he responded with. Another who's said she doesn't want to teach people how she draws because she doesn't want people to "copy her style", as if to imply one person can claim ownership to a style, out of the billions of people in the world. There aren't billions of ways to draw wolves, lady. Eventually, it'll stop looking like a wolf and start looking like a sheep. There can't be a unique style for everyone, we can't go around saying "only I have the right to draw in this specific style, NO ONE ELSE!!!!". She also won't say what tools she uses, she'll say what type of colored pencil she uses, but not how she uses them or what specific colors per picture.

Do you know what I honestly believe? They don't want to help the less skilled. They love having people look up to them, and if they were to ever teach them how they make their art and how to be as good as they are, they might actually accomplish that. Worse (in the eyes of these pro's that is), these newbies might exceed them in skill. Either way, they wouldn't continue idolizing them, because why would they? Why look up to someone who's your equal or lesser? So basically, these skilled artists don't want to lose any of their fans, if they have things their way they'll stay terrible for the rest of their lives, forever looking up to them and wishing they were as good as they are, just so that they can continue to feel superior to other people at something, I guess.

Alternatively, some or a lot of them may just not even think to say what they used to make their pictures, not realizing the effect you spoke of which makes them seem god-like to others who don't know better. It's the ones who want to hide the secrets to their great art who are the true assholes.

 Well, I'll never be like that, I can say that for certain. I've made a folder for my old work, and once I've gotten to where I want to be (as much as I'd like to count my latest piece, it's got some serious flaws caused by my lazyiness, something I'm trying to get over and fortunately I'm improving on), I'm gonna keep explaining what tools I use.
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
> Do you know what I honestly believe? They don't want to help the less skilled. They love having people look up to them, and if they were to ever teach them how they make their art and how to be as good as they are, they might actually accomplish that.
Or it's just too much of a bother to teach...

> Worse (in the eyes of these pro's that is), these newbies might exceed them in skill. Either way, they wouldn't continue idolizing them, because why would they? Why look up to someone who's your equal or lesser?
I still love the artists the helped me up when I started out, even though I've exceeded quite a number of them already.
You may call it nostalgia.

> So basically, these skilled artists don't want to lose any of their fans, if they have things their way they'll stay terrible for the rest of their lives, forever looking up to them and wishing they were as good as they are, just so that they can continue to feel superior to other people at something, I guess.
I don't get that. Even if people move on, there will always be new newbies. It's not like the world ever runs out of newbies XD
Shadowkat678 Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I agree with almost all you said, though there are nice people like us still out there. Good thing too, or I shutter to think of what would be...
MisterSnowLeopard Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Fortunately. And too be fair, I've personally never asked any of these proffessionals how they do their art and what tools they use. Reason being because I fear they won't even respond, that I'll just be drowned out in the sea of people saying "OMG YOU'RE THE BEST EVER YOU'RE SO TALENTED I'LL NEVER BE AS GOOD AS YOU I CAN'T EVEN DRAW A STICK FIGURE!". Tho I guess I could send them a note, they might be getting flooded with notes just like they are comments.

I think all the good artists should explain what they do and how they do it, because it makes them seem like they have this inherent ability, and thus discourages newbies who are struggling to improve, because why bother trying if you just don't have that special "talent"? I believe this has caused the idea that art is a talent, because artists hide what goes on behind the curtains. People who don't know better think they're like magicians who actually use real magic. Tho I have seen some really good artists who have a lot of WIP's in their gallery that have seemingly been abandoned......

Also, the "NO REFS USED" people, no doubt they're the cause of the "references are bad" mentality that I've seen around here. They make it seem like they're better for not using refs when all that means is that they either :

A) memorized something from drawing or looking at it so damn much


B) they're lying


C) they fucked up somewhere along the lines and references would've prevented that.

Every time I see "no refs used!" I assume something is seriously wrong with the piece. And good for you if you can successfully draw well with no refs, all that means is that you've either drawn something so much that you've memorized it part by part, or you just wasted your time staring at refs over and over till it's burned into your brain before you even attempted to draw it. Like this one artist I saw making tutorials, claiming he looked at lots of photos of an animal to study it before making his guide on how to draw it. I was just thinking "why not just use a fucking reference and show us how to draw from it? Wouldn't that be far more efficient?

But I digress.

Anyway, it's important to not get intimidated, these pros are human just like you and me, if your work doesn't look as good as theirs, obviously it's because you're not doing something right. It's all about figuring out what, and how to rectify it.
Shadowkat678 Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah, although I do think certain people have natural talent. I have a friend who can draw things free hand just by looking at things once or twice, but she still gives tips and help wherever she can. Me, I'm a natural singer and writer, though I know I'm not the best and I believe everyone can improve and it's the job of those with more experience to help them improve. Some people aren't cut out for writing or drawing or painting, but they excel in other areas, but that doesn't mean they should be looked down by those who are better. I don't know if I'm making any sense right now, as I'm kind of tired at the moment, but anyway. I agree.
MisterSnowLeopard Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
When it comes to something that takes skill to do, like drawing and painting, there are some I believe that start off better at it than most, but nobody picks up a pencil for the first time and is immediately a good artist. There is too much they have to learn and practice before hand.
Shadowkat678 Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
That's true.
Shadowkat678 Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow, this described exactly how I feel sometimes. My friends encouraged me a lot, and I'm not really anti social, but my family on the other hand...sigh. 
caoimhenaggy Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2014  Student General Artist
holy crap man you just made my day and i will keep going i wish there were more people like you on his site im only just starting and it might not seem like some body favourieing my art is a big deal but like i throw a party its just nice to get noticed. thanks for the badge man also
Lorian-Nod Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That was AMAZING!!! You were the one who welcomed me my first day :3 Then, I went over to your profile and saw your bagillion followers... It was kinda hopeless. I know my comment will probably get lost in the hundreds of others, but thank you for posting this. I can very much relate. Thank you for being so awesome :D
SososAlderworlds Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2014
Than you so much for your inspiring words. You just made my day :-) And thanks for the Llama bagde!
I agree with everything you write. I had very little encouragement as a kid as well.
For a number of reasons for over twenty years I did't pursue the artistic career I had planned on as a teenager. Than life happened and the artist in me screamed to come out and here I am, an artist after all. On most days though I feel not good enough and I am not sure  that is a bad thing, at least not always. It makes me want to learn more. :-)
CyanVelvet Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Inspiring words! I used to study arts in university but i couldn't stand drawing classes because of my parents and the some teachers. I didn't draw about six years, I just couldn't. About year ago I started drawing again, thanks to my best friend whose support always encourage me. I'm glad if someone sees my art and likes it.
CrazyCrysten Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2014  Student General Artist
That means a lot. :) 
Beth-Z Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2014   General Artist
armiasuncion Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2014  Student Photographer
your words are just simply wonderful.. as an artist who's still wondering whether i've chosen the wrong path, this really inspired me.. makes me realize that i got what it takes all along.. makes me feel wonderful and not alone.. please continue inspiring artists like us.. 
Arte-que-Cabe Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
What a beautiful text! It must've been hard to face bullying and not having much encouragement to go after your dreams...

I had similar problems and for many years had given up on drawing. I studied and worked in different áreas, never felt completely happy and recently got back to do art. Now I get an account here at DA and the first person who favorites my art is a great person like you! This must be a good omen!

Thank you very much for being you. The world needs more Damai Mikaz, definitely.
glitchyEpicness Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Your words were chosen so well, and I'm sure anyone reading your journal will be inspired and encouraged, as I am as well. I see what you're coming from; I used to have crappy art too. And yet, I've left them on here just to show how much I've improved. I also see where you're coming from with this site as a form of comfort at first. I may not know you, and you may not know me, but thank you for the words because this encourages so many people.
SAMTProductions Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
With artists, I always felt that the ones that go out of their and talk to their fans and show there path to what they are now are "better" to look up to. I'm not saying that the people that don't do this are bad artist, heck I've seen some of the most quiet people I have ever met making absolutely beautiful pictures. I just felt that if some one shows there flaws and how they weren't too great at one point, it still makes them feel human to the fans and gives them proof that one day they might be like them. This is the type of artist I would love to be one day, and you have helped me get that hope I had once had from my childhood back. Thank you for showing your path and helping me find mine. Have a nice day. ^u^
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
AkindioStudios Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2014
Thanks man for your work. I am glad to see someone who has a passion to help others learn their special skills and talents, as artists. I hope many young artists will be encouraged and inspired by you.
Net-Wanderer Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2014
Very inspiring written journal. There's alot of facts I agree on there and I think it's the first journal I've read on here that's about the hardships someone's went through to reach a good level of success that's shining away now... I had always wondered and feel fascinated to hear someone else' past experience. Many thanks for sharing, I had a great read and I should visit your page again :)
colourfulAnatomy Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow. You are truly an inspiration. Where were you in my early years :XD:. I guess in yours haha! You have encouraged me so much to just be me and I feel that that is the greatest gift of all. Since creating a new account on here I feel like a new member all over again! I'm finally getting out of my shell and starting to socialize with the community. You have shown that I just keep on doing what I'm doing I can eventually reach your status :). Thank you so much for these journals :heart:
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Where were you in my early years
Writing in Dutch
*Is not a native English person and wasn't capable of writing in English a few years ago*
colourfulAnatomy Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh that explains it :D
PURE-fectionist Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2014  Student General Artist
Words of wisdom my friend :) This really inspired me. I'm a new member on DA and at first I just thought I was going to be a nobody but that changed little by little. I'm glad there are people like you who share their expiriences and inspire people who read this!
Blue-Raccoon-Pro Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2014  Student Digital Artist
omg... i'd like to say this really inspired me, i remember a time where my art was just art, nothing special to look at, nothing but art, and now i've moved on from the job i used to want to wanting to be an animator. i'm trying hard to be someone people can talk to on DA. i guess... i want to be someone people can look up too, but not really for fame or to say "hey all these people love me" i want to be a person DA members can talk to and have a friendly chat and someone to be comfortable around. I wish someone had done that for me, so i do it for others. i look back at my old art, maybe it's not on DA, but sometimes i hold it and smile and say "wow i used to suck, and i'm so glad i used too" i'd be....a little put-off if i was amazing at first, i look at it as....a way to see my hard work has payed off. to you, you're....a different kind of DA member in my eyes, you're real. what you say just.... wow. I think you're brave beyond belief. It's incredible. It's true. It's real. And YOU seem like the kind of person i'd want to sit down and talk to and confide in. Thank you so much, i feel like i can see a part of me in you, and how i used to be.
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That's so sweet :hug:
EmilyG26 Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2014
Wow. Just wow.
This is so touching. It encourages me to do more. There are so many people I look up to. Yet, it's understandable, because I'm only 12.
My main desire is to really be the best artist I can be and inspire others to try. I don't want people giving up because they think they can't ever become good. As you mentioned, skills don't come overnight. Yet, I used to believe they did. I believed all there was to drawing was making copies of someone else's art.
Now, I realize that's not the way to go about it. I've made my share of copies, and I regret doing so. I wish I had never.
I also used to think everyone hated me, and everyone didn't care. But since then I have changed; I mainly thought that because I copied, and people got mad at me, but I didn't see how people can get so angry over a pixel character. For anyone who thinks I've copied, I'm dearly sorry. Especially to ipandacakes.
About social skills, that's not my thing. I have been locked up away from sociality for 11 years. That's almost my full lifetime so far.
I also feel more comfortable writing messages instead of talking in person. I am not very social. Somehow I feel better about it.

Thanks for writing this message. I hope people feel encouraged to do more, and to be their best. No matter what you do, there's always a way to be the best you can. Just don't give up.
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I also feel more comfortable writing messages instead of talking in person. I am not very social. Somehow I feel better about it.
You're only 12 years old, now. You still have a lot of growing to do and a lot of development.
When I was your age (yeah, I sure sound old now) I was too shy to even speak a word in class. And I'm sure there were teachers and students in that same class that even doubted my ability to speak because they've never heard me speak a single word. At that time, I also firmly believed that I would never be social and never overcome that shyness. I'm 26 now. Still an introvert (which means I prefer being alone over being social) but I nowadays talk with people and even teach kids how to draw manga. So yeah... things can change :)
EmilyG26 Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2014
They sure can - my life has been changing and changing, lol. And not in very much of a good way. :P
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Sometimes things get worse before they get better :)
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