4:54 PM

Fragile Soul of an Artist

(Warning: Rambling post ahead!)

As a few people know (actually, more than a few, since I haven't kept my mouth shut too well), I am gearing up to get my first novel published. The past few weeks I've been editing, adding on appendices, rethinking, reworking, and finally- redesigning my characters and reworking my drawing style to a more detailed anime style.

Most of my friends will tell you that I don't change my drawing style too terribly often. My "typical" style animates well- it's simple and easy to draw and so it allows me to animate rather quickly. However, most of the time I find myself doing illustrations or character designs- things that are much better suited to a more detailed style because they're static. In animation a person's eye can't follow all the detail at once, so a more simplified style is necessary- the viewer just is NOT going to see all the detail if you load up each frame of animation with it!

So, I've been working on this new style of drawing, and I'm liking it a lot, actually. In fact, I'm going to show it off- as compared to my "animation" style!

Pretty drastic, huh? And I confess that I LOVE the new style- I think it's some of my best work ever! And certainly the most drastic style change I've ever done.

So now that I'm sitting here with my manuscript in front of me and feeling more comfortable with the new style (so I'm thinking I'm pretty ready to start in on the small chapter illustrations), I start hearing this little voice of doubt in my head. I know it well, even though it usually picks different voices to speak in. It always says the same thing though.

"You're not good enough."

I hear it in the voice of every single person who's ever told me those things. It drowns out the nice comments my new art has gotten in My DeviantArt Gallery, the voice of my husband telling me that my new work is awesome, the voices of the guys this past Sunday at the gaming store who told me my work "looks like to came right out of a manga!" and then talked to me for close to twenty minutes about my story and what I was doing.

"You're not good enough. You'll never be an artist. You need to add more details! You need to be better! Draw more like so-and-so! Experiment more! Stop drawing the same thing over and over! You're still not good enough!"

It's enough to make me stare blankly at my sketchbook even though all I want to do is start getting some basic sketches done for future chapter illustrations. I don't even want to finish anything yet- just start getting ideas down! I'm really intimidated by the thought of doing this novel. Putting my writing out there isn't as painful, for some reason, but putting my art out there and saying "I'm good enough for you to give me money for this," is really hard. I guess that thinking back on it I haven't heard as much negative criticism (not constructive- NEGATIVE, there's a difference) about my writing.

I'm only doing self-publishing on the book, so it's not like I'm afraid I'll be rejected. More like feeling that I need to really polish this and make it fantastic so that when people see it or pick it up they go, "Wow, the art for this is great and the story sounds awesome! I think I'll buy it!" And that, my friends, is what's making me freeze up and replay every person from middle school up through college and in the past few years that has told me I'll never make it in my head.

I still need to figure out how to let go of what's been said to me. I remember these things even though I don't want to. I remember off-handed comments people have told me that made me sad, like one friend telling me that in order for them to accept my half of an art trade I was going to have to send them a scan of every single step along the way of my art so they could critique it because I "need it." I really need to figure out a way to forget these things- because the more I think about writing novels and illustrating them, the more I want to do it.

Don't get me wrong, I love animating. I'd still love for the Aka Ryuu Series to be made into an animated series one day! But I've always loved to write stories and then draw pictures to go along with them too. I just went through a few weeks where I was wondering if I didn't have to sacrifice being an artist so I could be a writer instead, since that's more where I seem to be going with life, and then realized I don't have to give either up.

I just need to shut the voice up that talks badly about my artwork... Once I figure out how...


Manda said...

I believe you have the talent to do this, now you just need the confidence. You really have been transforming your style and I am excited for you :D!
You still have to sign my copy when I get it!

Anonymous said...

You should read Julia Cameron's "The Artists Way". I bought it by accident and ended up loving it. Reading this post I can tell its exactly what you need.