Oh yeah, that’s right, this is a Christmas story! Did you know that in Livonia, it’s said that werewolves used to come out in droves and run around the countryside?
Well, regardless of Christmas wolves, here we are again. Good lord the weeks come and go fast. Not the best page ever. Oh well… gotta keep moving. However, I’m gonna take a moment to discuss a… I dunno. A gripe? A tip? I’m not sure, so just skip it if you like.
Huh, I figured you’d move on.
So here’s the thing… regardless of the kind of art you do, be it writing, flatwork, sculpture, music or culinary, people are going to tell you what to do with your personal work because it doesn’t suit their individual tastes. Now, thankfully, most of this will be in polite suggestions. When suggestions are asked for, this is all well and good, but I’m not talking about those sorts of things. I’m talking about the people who act like they’re better than the artist they’re talking to. Those who seem to think that artists of whatever kind have the unique opportunity to heed their singular ‘expert’ advice, and that if they don’t, the artist in question is either stubborn, stupid, ungrateful, or a million other things.
I cannot tell you how often people have tried to tell me what I “Should” do with my comic over the years I’ve been working on it. That doesn’t mean that the advice of others is wrong; the comic has lots and lots of problems. I’ll gladly admit, good points have been made, though, since I’m doing this to please myself, I can tell you with the utmost confidence that it’s pretty good for its target audience. (This of course, would be different if this involved commissioned work, where the job is to please the client. In those cases, yeah, you have to heed their advice whether or not you agree with it.) That being said, there have even been some instances where I’ve explained part of what’s going on in my comic, only for someone to turn around and tell me my own idea again as if they’d come up with it themselves, either because of simple ignorance on their part, or because they outright didn’t read what I wrote. It makes that whole “Hey, I got it, what if she’s on OUR side?” scene in The Lion King all the more funny.
Regardless, here’s the thing:
<B>You, as an artist, don’t have to do what others tell you when it comes to your personal work.</B>
Be open to good advice. But don’t limit yourself to the demands of others.
It’ll be hard. When someone goes out of their way just to tell you that they dislike your work, and that “It’d be better if you had…” or “If it were me I would have…” it’s oftentimes like a punch to the gut. It makes you feel like you’ve wasted hours of your life, and that you’re worthless. Even if you have thick skin, somewhere, it still hurts.
However, when you’ve decided to do the scary thing and share your work with the whole world and then someone gripes about the hard work you’ve done, just remember that they’re not the ones making the art. YOU ARE.
You, personally, are contributing to enjoyment in the world, even if people sometimes forget to mention to you that they enjoyed looking at, reading, tasting, or listening to your work. Just because one person, or a few people don’t like your personal artistic ideas, that doesn’t mean that they’re bad ideas. They might benefit from a little polishing, but they’re still GOOD ideas and they’re still YOUR ideas. Don’t EVER let anyone tell you otherwise.
Keep doing what you do.
Celebrate your successes.
Learn, grow, and create.
Be an artist.
Be your own artist.
And make the best damn art you want to make, regardless of everyone else.