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If I knew then what I knew now, maybe I might have appreciated my work a little more.

I always used to compare myself to the other artists that I would see, artists much older than me, with the training and the experience I didn't have. It didn't seem to matter to me where they came from, just that they where good and I was not. If I had understood at the time that someday, with perseverance, study and practice that I too might be ask good as them, maybe I might have worked a little harder, studied a little more and not been so down on myself.

Now I look back on a lot of the artists who were my idols, megabytes worth of their art saved to my ancient drive in the basement for reference and inspiration. I realize, they really weren't that good. Some of them were actually quite bad. At any given time, if your art sucks to you or even thousands of other people, it is amazing to someone and you are inspiring someone else by sharing it with them.

If it seems like you are not improving at all, it is probably because you have stopped learning. When people draw the same mistakes over and over, they are practicing doing it wrong and practicing making those mistakes. Simply "Practicing" is not enough. Take a moment to study, learn to do it right, even if it is hard and messes you up now, it won't forever. This was a really hard bridge to cross when I was young and stubborn and lazy and just wanted to do what I felt like at the time. Now I can't wait to learn and study something new. This attitude and willingness to follow through has let me improve very quickly in a relatively short period of time for doing so. Just remember, nothing happens overnight. It will always seem a bit slow but keep going and don't be afraid to look at your older works when you're having lows. You don't notice your hair grow but you can sure see the difference if you look at pictures of yourself months or years after your last cut. No one stops improving for no reason, do not accept "just because" as an answer. As soon as you accept a perceived limitation as a fact of your artistic life, it will become so.

People often tell me they can't get better, that their art isn't changing and when I look at their stuff, I again see, not only that they might be practicing the same mistakes but that they are simply practicing different variations of the same thing. This may seem a bit strange from someone who has made part of their living doing portraits, but what a lot of people don't know is that this is a very small part of who I am and what I do as an artist. I am actually an animator, which is a side of myself that I don't often show to DA, but comes through in other areas of my art. Do something new. Try a different style. Try a subject you would have never drawn before and learn to appreciate something you might not have. Do you rely on your CG to make your art look nice? Just sketch. Sketch until your sketches please you just as much and don't have to rely on shiny rendering to hide your mistakes. Just draw heads? Draw a full body. Just draw people standing there? Draw an action sequence. Swear to yourself that your next 10 drawings will not be what your previous 50 were. Finish something you might not finish because it's just too hard, or learn to let go of something you spent a lot of time on that isn't going to work. Nothing is a waste of time, even if it ends up in your trash bin, where 9 out of 10 of my pictures go.

Something people who are not artists and even many starting artists don't understand is that art is not a "gift". People are no more born artists as they are born Olympic gymnasts. It takes years of time, dedication, study and hard work. It takes mental focus, toning, endurance, physical and mental co-ordination, aim and understanding. I practice drawing a minimum of 5 hours a day, every day, not including time to study, wherever I am. Immediate gratification is not a reasonable expectation of a dedicated artist. Art is not a competition. If all you do is work to please everyone else, you will never achieve the gratification and inspiration it gives to those who do art because they love to do it and have something to show or prove to themselves.

I know all of this may sound incredibly obvious and should just be a given but I am constantly surprised by how many people need to be reminded of this now and then, including myself. My very long point here is that every artist thinks they suck. During this time of thought, always remember:

You don't suck. You just suck right now.
Someone wanted me to upload a very old journal entry pep-talk for them. This is a pep-talk for all those new and starting artists, or for those who have been around the block and just need to get back to the basics. This is something I went through and am still going through. I think every artist at one point must go through. I hope that it helps give context and perspective to all the starting artists out there who think that they will never be good or achieve their artistic goals.

Art is not a gift. No one started where they ended up. And remember, whenever you feel like you suck, you don't :) You will be better later, use it as inspiration to get there.
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:iconstar3catcher:
star3catcher Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2014
This is probably the best advice journal I've seen yet. It's not a sugar-coated "go get 'em!", it's not a cynical rant that makes you want to stop trying, it really tells those little truths in a calm, normal way. Kudos.
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:iconchoppywings:
Choppywings Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
There's no such thing as talent, only dedication and passion.
This journal is spot on. 
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:iconbeestinqs:
beestinqs Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
dude, you just came and saved my entire day. I swear that I won't sit in my room trying to copy the styles of other artists (which I do, admittedly, to try to develope a "better" style. True, my art stinks now. (At least in my eyes)but I think I can learn a little from my past, I actually made somewhat lazy attempts to "study" and it worked! But now I'm ready to metamorphosise again, and emerge with improved and more realistic art. I could rant all day about this and what you've done for me in about a minute, but I'll cut it short right here. So thank you!!
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:iconkuro-rey:
Kuro-Rey Featured By Owner May 31, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Woah, you can't imagine how much you're making me happy right now xD My mom have been an artist all her life so I started to draw when I was very young, and I couldn't see all my improvements until I read this. I mean, maybe I haven't improve like I wanted too but at least I've founded a style I like and now I draw what I want and when I want, simply because I love it, which was not the case before. I often receive comments like ''You should fine a better style of art.'',''Your art isn't unique enough.'' or ''You're borned with a reall talent!'' and I'd say 80% of the time, these comments are from people who never tried (or not enough) to draw before.  

Also, I wasn't really open to the idea of trying different styles in my sketch book, and I see a lot of artists with this same point-of-view, which is sad because that proves they aren't drawing for the pleasure, because they are focused on a fixed idea. In my case, it was above-all because I couldn't stop to compare myself to expert artists, a now that I've realized it's just about working hard, I think I'll improve more in the way I want.
Thank you~ (...and sorry for the huge comment, I needed to express myself about that xD)
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:iconmad-bites:
Mad-Bites Featured By Owner May 14, 2014  Student Photographer
;_;
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:iconnarnla:
NARNlA Featured By Owner May 8, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
thank god 
I agree fully, 100%

I'm going to try harder then ever before. Thanks. :I
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:iconclowwwd:
Clowwwd Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
agreeeeeed
Reply
:iconriurekai:
Riurekai Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
thaks for the inspiration >:3 *keeps drawing*
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:iconthejoanapadj:
TheJoanaPADJ Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2014
Thank you! You really are an amazing artist and a very nice person. :)
I started working hard when I first joined DeviantArt and, as you wrote, I had (and still have) a very large amount of drawings from artists I used to worship and admire. Looking back... I realized the same you did. And in a way that made me feel like I had grew as an artist and it made me feel better with myself because right then I knew my art was improving.

Of course I'm no better than many artists out there and surely my drawings wouldn't be my life, since I know they aren't THAT good yet. But one thing I know, the way I draw is MY way of drawing and no one can actually draw exactly like me. The same goes to every artist out there! Each artist is so unique in it's own way because they worked more or less than others to make their art.
Also.... at first, when I arrived at DeviantArt I just was overwhelmed by the amount of amazing artists... I could only see myself as a baby near those giants... sometimes I would be ashamed of my own drawings and be afraid of submiting them but then... I just decided to learn from those giants, you included Sambees, and tried to see how they worked and what they did to improve... and improvement was what happened with me too when I realize that. It took time but it feels so damn good. :meow: and the thing is that there is still SO much to learn.

I'm glad to have joined DeviantArt, even if right now... most of the frontpage is filled with naked girls and big breasts! xD
This place, this comunity, made me grow and even made me dare to call myself an artist! :meow:
So... thank you! ^^
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:iconsambees:
sambees Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2014
<3
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:iconeternities22:
Eternities22 Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Okay, only about half of it
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:iconeternities22:
Eternities22 Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
My art is horrific...
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:iconmasterofthestorm:
MasteroftheStorm Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2014  Hobbyist
Thank you for this. Clap
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:iconuntoldpromises:
UntoldPromises Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Yes! I had given up art for a few years and started getting back on it but feel like I'm sliding back because I KEEP comparing myself and it's STUPID.
Just because someone is more advanced than me doesn't mean they're the only ones who should draw.
They WERE in my position before-- but THEY never gave up, so must I.
Thanks for reminding me. :)

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:iconrainkow:
RainKow Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You really are amazing :)
Reply
:iconmegpressley:
megpressley Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2013  Student General Artist
Not only have I found someone who has inspired me to try, study, or just doodle and get better, but someone whose art is absolutely mind blowing.
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:iconsambees:
sambees Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2013
:heart:
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:icontclego:
tclego Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Wow. You, my friend, are inspiring.
Reply
:iconfallen-h:
Fallen-H Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is cool, and holds great meaning
Reply
:iconmegalopolus:
Megalopolus Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2013  Student General Artist

Inspiration. What this is, that's what people need when they just aren't feeling it.

Wow. That's all I can really say...wow.

Reply
:iconstickfigurequeen:
StickFigureQueen Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I really needed to this today~ thank you :intears:
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:iconsambees:
sambees Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2013
;;
Reply
:iconloverofhtf:
LoverOfHTF Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thats really inspiring! =D
Reply
:iconhensenfm:
HensenFM Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
thanks
maybe i can't improve because im just : 
"People often tell me they can't get better, that their art isn't changing and when I look at their stuff, I again see, not only that they might be practicing the same mistakes but that they are simply practicing different variations of the same thing. "
Reply
:iconabbyelena:
AbbyElena Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2013  Hobbyist
<3 thank you
Reply
:icongabbygaw:
GabbyGaw Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2013
I like to look back on my old art, even though it's all really crappy. It shows me how much I improved. I do need to do a heck of alot more learning. Alrighty, time to go practice some heads! ;D
Reply
:iconraycey:
raycey Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for the pep talk, I feel better now. :)
Reply
:iconim-a-tree-he:
Im-A-Tree-HE Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2013
Whoa
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:iconnightlynxness:
nightlynxness Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2013
Thank you for this, I think at some point in every artist/ art student's life they need to hear this. :hug:
Reply
:iconlullabyforyou:
LullabyForYou Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Truly inspiring, I need to keep reading this over and over when I get frustrated with my art!
Reply
:iconheartteddies:
HeartTeddies Featured By Owner May 28, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Nearly every sentence in here stabbed me right in the heart. I will try to not forget these words. If I do, I'll
go back again and again.
Reply
:iconwhatisinthedark:
WhatIsInTheDark Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2013
"You don't suck. You just suck right now."
I love you! :XD: I haven't laughed this much for some time now. Thank you! :D
Reply
:iconagacora:
Agacora Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2012  Student Digital Artist
This is very helpful for me. I myself express myself through serveral meduims including traditional and digital art and writing litature that falls into the fantasy and science fiction genres.
Reply
:icondreadman110:
dreadman110 Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
adding something: finding your own strength in art is important, finding what you're good at (theres no way, we can be good at everything; for me is sequentials art is one thing i've good at) and then you can shift your focus on your weak part of art (for me digital painting i'm still sucks :P). Nicely said ...been there done that too. :)
Reply
:iconshiningindarkness:
ShiningInDarkness Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012  Student General Artist
I read this whenever I'm having lows about my art, and it sure cheers me up :) Thank you so much for writing this :)
Reply
:iconjemaica:
jemaica Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Loved reading this! Especially
That last line haha :) very inspirational
Reply
:iconhyousetsuryuu:
hyousetsuryuu Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2012
This... Is amazingly inspiring. Thank you for sharing!
Reply
:iconnhibii:
Nhibii Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you so much! Nothing more to say. Just thank you!
Reply
:icontaylornaw:
taylornaw Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I'd say how much this inspired me and pushed me to do better- which it really did- but that's basically what every other artist did here.
I'm gonna strive to be better than I am now, especially after seeing the work that you post here.
Reply
:iconcloudrider99:
CloudRider99 Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2012  Student General Artist
I feel like I really needed this.
Quite often, I look at other artists' works, some who are the same age as me or younger, and their art looks so much better than mine. Sometimes it takes a lot to convince yourself that you're going to get better.
But it's true that looking at your previous works helps - in one of my lowest drawing moments, looking back at my works from the past couple of years really was an eye-opener.

I've copied all of this into Microsoft Word, so I can see it whenever I feel down about my drawings.
Thanks for writing this for us all, you've really given us hope!
Reply
:icon5unnyr4y3:
5UNNYR4Y3 Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2012   Digital Artist
This was so amazingly helpful--people tell me that they like my digital art, but I only ever draw in realism, because I don't like how my regular lineart looks. Like you said: I'm really just covering up my mistakes. I mean, sure, it's kind of cool to be able to draw something in realism, but I really need to take that leap, and learn to improve my sketches too. and I think this will help me take that leap. thank you
Reply
:iconmoossey:
Moossey Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
"You don't suck. You just suck right now."

Yes yes!! Thank you. :iconcryhappytearsplz:
Someone who puts my thoughts into two simple sentences.
Reply
:iconmusicalkeys:
MusicalKeys Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2012   Digital Artist
THIS. Is exactly what I needed to hear, I can't even emphasize how much. I've been stuck in a rut the past 6 months or so, not really improving, and reading this I realized...it's because I'm not really learning. I'm just drawing things I know how to draw, and making the same mistakes again and again.

Thank you so much for posting this! I really needed to hear this, especially coming from such an amazing artist as you. :hug:
Reply
:iconrowena-jordan:
Rowena-Jordan Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2012   Traditional Artist
I needed that :)
Reply
:iconalias-coquelicot:
alias-coquelicot Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Damn i needed to hear that! Im gonna try harder! :devil:!
Reply
:iconthejung:
TheJung Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2012
I know this is an older post...but your art is seriously amazing...then I came across this post. This is exactly what I needed to hear! Thank ye kindly!
Reply
:iconraintowns:
raintowns Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2012  Student Digital Artist
wow thanks for this. I think your work is great and serves as one of my inspirations now!
Reply
:iconyukime-kun:
yukime-kun Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
thanks c:
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:iconpipe-stream:
Pipe-stream Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Love this. Love this so much!
Reply
:iconsmallbiscuit:
smallbiscuit Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2012  Student General Artist
Linking this in my journal. I want to see it every time I open my page. <3 Thank you.
Reply
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