Being any kind of artist is freeing and beautiful and we all have something to offer, but there is an element of torture to it. Those of us who take pride in our work are always overly critical of everything we create. What appears in the mind’s eye is very rarely what comes out in the physical world and it’s beyond frustrating, it’s infuriating.
When you hone your skills and practice and practice again and nothing seems to come out right, it’s difficult to not stop and question the entire point of what you’re doing. We’ve all been there.
I have a tendency to go from creating mind boggling abstract paintings and stories that make people scratch their heads to pushing out goofy cartoon prints and silly songs. The variety usually works to keep me sane in the midst of insanity, but even that goes wrong.
Last Friday I had this great idea to do a Harley Quinn/Captain America crossover. Something light and fun. (And something that would maybe get under my boyfriend’s skin a little since he loves the joker-but I meant it with love haha)
The drawing came out real well, and then…it was time to color.
Now I prefer oil pastels. They’re messy, they’re squishy, and they are difficult to erase/cover up (like me). I always go into a coloration knowing that:
- I am not a professional artist
- My abilities are not up to par with what i want to do
- There is a huge fan base out there that will probably hate whatever I do
Things got off to a good start.
BUT the backup black and white set I picked up turned out to be soft pastels. Big wah wah wha moment. Those things go on like chalk and because I am an impatient buffoon I basically destroyed what I wanted to do because I refused to wait and go get what I needed.
This is like one giant metaphor for self-instigated failure. I have read a LOT of poorly written, terribly edited self-published works, heard a lot of songs that could have actually found a real fan base if they had been polished, and seen pictures that just needed some tweaks to be more pleasing to the eye.
What is it about being an artist that makes us so impatient? Maybe we’re so worried that we suck that we’re trying to get the next piece out to keep up with everyone else. I don’t know. What has been a major theme in my writing career, something I will now apply to my work as an artist, is that I have to accept that I will suck sometimes. And it’s usually my own damn fault. But that’s okay, because the next picture is going to be immaculate.
Some creations have to suck in order to help an artist push forward and move beyond their previous mistakes.
And there’s a part of me that loves this. I get annoyed with the squeaky clean drawings of gritty comic characters. these people get messy, they experience great pain and loss. fan art is filled with bright happy pics of sexy chicks and uber pumped heroes.
I get sick of that fast. Why do so many people love Batman? Because he gets messy, he experiences pain and it shows in the art that portrays him. So maybe sometimes our mistakes bring out the best in us. (Or at least more perspective haha)