Apr 1, 2012

Where do you come from?

What a weird title, but I think it's an important question I wanted to talk about in the next Tips 'n Topics post. If you're interested in hearing about passion, drive and confidence:

I guess a lot of artists and illustrators know the shy feeling of 'what would they think?'. As a kid, my mother used to be very proud of the things I made and on birthdays and the like she showed my relatives. I'd rather NOT show it to people in real life those days. I don't (or didn't) know how to react to reactions, comments or compliments. That's because I made the art for ME not for someone else. It was and still is very different to me to put my art on the internet than showing and presenting it in real life. However, I gained a lot of confident by showing it on the web! The internet is something I feel comfortable about, it comes natural to me because it is an indirect way of showing. Like: you put something in a gallery but you aren't there all the time and then at the end of every day you go through what people wrote in the guestbook about your art.

Now, the last year, I realized it doesn't come as easy to some people. Some find the internet as scary as real life. Or some people just find it plain scary to show their art. I have to say, for me it was pretty scary to make a Facebook profile for my illustration business and showing my friends and family my work, but I think it was a great thing to do!
There are several reasons why people show their art in public. They might just want to 'share' it, or they might want to get opinions, or they might want to get a certain kind of 'recognition'. I was never the kind of girl that showed my art for recognition...not in the first place at least. Sometimes I'm just a bit proud of what I made and I think others would like it too, so I share. And often it comes from this small (and often) deeply hidden place in me that is called passion. I don't do it for anyone, I do it because I enjoy it a lot, it drives me. And mostly, that's why I share my artwork with others: it's a result of passion. Yes, of course: kind comments are nice and often they give me a bit of more confidence. For me it doesn't really matter how many comments or reactions I get. It's not about popularity. It already means a lot when it reaches one person, that's already a change I think.

But even without anyone reacting, commenting on something...I'll keep on drawing and painting and making things. Because it's what I like to do, because it drives me. And that's exactly what I wanted to talk about here. Confidence, persistence and that drive...it comes from within. I think that is something that you shouldn't forget. Especially when it comes to art, it something that is 'shown' to people, it will, one way or another, be judged. But what does it matter? Is that something that should stop you?

Translating this to day-to-day life and business: it could mean that some people just aren't interested in what you create. It could mean that you wouldn't earn that much money with it. I know money is important, especially when you have a mouth (or more) to feed. When you're going through hard times like that: no clients, no commissions, or nobody really interested in your work....that's pretty rough. Because art is, I think, a very pure thing...a reflection of our feelings. But you can also be TOO careful about that. If you have a passion, don't let rough times or fear of judgement stop you.

I'm not saying I'm the kind of person that won't ever give in, it's just that I know that 'hard times' can make you stronger. How? Because everytime I had a hard time, a rough day, a night full of scary thoughts, that was one of the reasons that I had to listen to that feeling that remains in the end. Which is passion, and a drive. I know that THAT will always remain. And as long as it's there, there always be some kind of hope (even when it means I have to change, or learn things...). I also know that, when you overcome those fears and those hard days, you'll become stronger (as well as a person as a stronger artist). It might all sound so very cheesy like, and it might be something you've heard or read many times before. But I think it's something that you'll often forget when you're confronted with a challenge.

So where do you come from? What is the origin of your acts? Why do you do what you do? Do you have something that keeps you reminding of that motivation? Are you the kind of person that wants to give up or wants to keep on believing? Do you have a goal? If you show people your art, just remind yourself what exactly you're doing and be the best you can be: be yourself!


  1. This is such a good post, and what I needed to read this week. It's SO difficult to keep going sometimes because I too make work for myself. Any money I make I see as a bonus. And sure enough the commissions have started to come in which is great! But i'm finding myself unmotivated and lacking that spark that I usually have when just doodling or doing a piece because I want to. Maybe for some people pressure is a de-motivator? So doing work for you and you alone is definitely good for the artistic soul, as if we don't create work we're not happy with, we don't want to show it. And if we don't show it, it's like it doesn't exist in a way? The internet is fantastic because to an extent it's faceless. I can put my work up and have it critiqued without being in a room full of people!
    Thank you for sharing this post, it's got my mind ticking and may help to get me kick-started again :)

    1. That's great to know, hope you'll have a good week, just have fun, do what you like best!