Artist Log: Progress is Endless

Has there ever been a time within your own life where you felt like you wanted to set out to do something, yet every time without fail there was a nagging feeling deep in the back of your mind screaming at you not to act on that feeling? Though I may have made it sound far more serious than it actually is, I can say for certain that I have felt such a feeling many times throughout my life when it came to the artwork I have produced. I’ve often wondered what it could be that makes me feel such a strong sense of self doubt and where it originated from. In recent years, I think it has become much clearer to me why it is I felt that way.

The internet is a bustling fountain of knowledge with seemingly endless content filling it to the brim. Content in the form of writing, art, videos, and analysis are created and posted at such a rapid pace that it would not even be possible to consume everything that catches your interest. This rapid waterfall of high-quality content is the source of not only my own artist anxiety, but so many others as well. When it becomes so easy to become overexposed to high quality work on a daily basis thanks to social media, it paints a twisted picture within the brain of what should be expected of you. Social websites such as Twitter serve as the central power driving this idea; a source of endless inspiration as well as bottomless self-guilt.

Though I no longer wish to entertain such self-destructive thinking, I want to turn those thoughts into action as well. It is not enough to want to change; a change needs to happen. It is for that reason that I am writing this blog.

Let’s start over with this: the constant and unending desire to improve. Perhaps some would find it to be disruptive or annoying and I can certainly understand that, but that very same desire is what actually lead to my gradual improvement. For example, take a look at this picture:

Rather simple, yes? It was a design I drew with the purpose of using it for a tabletop game. I wasn’t taking things too seriously at the time, so it shows in the picture’s jaggedness. Still, it gets a design across well enough as it was intended to do, however I eventually became dissatisfied. It felt too simple. “I can do better than this now” is what I started thinking. And so eventually, I decided that it was time I got to redrawing the character…

And hey, it’s a marked improvement over the first try. I wouldn’t call it one of my best works, but it’s no doubt a more complete character portrait. It is amazing the difference a change in tools can lead to. But even though this was more than enough for the purposes of what it was used for, I still found myself dissatisfied. This time I thought “It’s not bad, but the style changed too much and now it only shows her back.” As you might be able to tell, I picked up a bit of a perfectionist’s mind. I can’t say I would recommend you do the same.

Following this attempt I would give this character my attention one more time and redraw a portrait that addressed my own final criticisms.

And so the fruits of my labor created this last piece here. I still would not call it a perfect recreation of the image that was in my mind for so many years, but this is by and large the closest I’ve ever gotten to it in these three attempts and I think that is something I can be proud of. Especially considering not a single soul was even asking me to keep doing these revisions.

If I were to try again, I’m certain I would be able to come even closer to my vision and maybe even hit it right on the mark. Since drawing this I’ve gone on to gain more experience with Clip Studio Paint, the software I used to draw the latter two portraits, and I have even bought a tablet to help me improve my digital art production and push my abilities even further.

I bring up all these pictures because I want to create some perspective. These pictures were all drawn within three years of each other all by myself. As I hope I have been able to show, I was able to improve with each attempt I made at the drawing. Yet, even though I improved, there is still a looming sensation still present within me to continue growing as an artist. This feeling is why I still pursue art. Not for the benefit of others, but largely for my own self satisfaction. I think it is this that can lead fellow artists who feel like they have stagnated into a new season of improvement. This likewise applies to the myriad of other types of content creators as well. I still believe myself to be rather green as far as being a content creator goes, but I believe that your content will be an extension of your self. Whatever you create can only be as great as you truly want it to be. Follow the wants of your heart and new opportunities will follow suit.

On that note, I said that I wanted to “turn my thoughts into action” earlier. I plan on doing exactly that in due time. For years I was the type to let ideas sit in my mind, hidden from the peering eyes of those that may find them. This was a result of the anxiety I also mentioned earlier. But I will allow these actions to continue no longer. Within the next month, I will be creating a blog based on the original characters I have kept to myself since my childhood. This is still currently in the planning phase, but I am excited to finally start sharing my ideas.

I hope that for any other artists, writers, or general content creators that this has been an inspiring read. Good luck in your endeavors, and let’s continue to improve together.

*All featured art was created by myself.