This is a commission I completed yesterday. This was one of those times where I look at what I have drawn and say “I am so awesome at this!”
I have been meaning to discuss something on a related note. You will very often hear an artist say “I suck at this so bad.” I feel that way often. I think there are two reasons artists do this to themselves.
First is something called “impostor syndrome”. Artists are not the only ones that get this. It happens to students often, as well as people in all kinds of professions. You have these sorts of thoughts: “I do not belong here. I don’t know my stuff as well as people think. Someone is bound to notice.” and so forth. I think artists want to admit that they are no good before someone calls them out on it.
The second reason is that we can see ourselves being so awesome at it and we become frustrated because we are not at that level yet. Maybe we haven’t pushed ourselves to improve as much as we should have. Perhaps we know we take the easy way out sometimes. (like drawing oven mitts on a character because hands are so dang hard to draw… but that’s a story for another day) We see how awesome we ‘could’ be, but have no idea how we are going to get there.
Now for the bit I’ve been meaning to talk about. A while back I met an artist that was 14ish years younger than me. She let me see her sketchbook. In my opinion she is better than me. She’s also younger, so by the time she is my age she will be even more amazing. She said “I am terrible at drawing.” I regret that I said “You are so good you are not allowed to say that.” I meant it as a sort of complement and encouragement. How arrogant of me. What right do I have to tell someone they are not allowed to be frustrated? I get frustrated all the time. I am not saying that I should have agreed with her and said “yeah, you suck” because that would have been a lie. What I wish I had said was “Sometimes I feel that way too.”