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I ran across this post today here on Deviantart:… . Some of the videos and links invoked inspired me to discuss the creative process. And negativity.
From time to time, I think I am very lucky in that my existence is caught up in what I do. I write, because I can't not write. And I draw for the same reason. Other people, apparently, are not this lucky. So I guess this journal is for them. Anyone who has ever doubted, anyone who believes they are a hack, anyone who believes that creativity done right flows all the time and never, ever stops (that's crap, by the way.) And, perhaps most importantly, that the Internet is the end, all be all of Art.
I personally have a difficult time doing everything the Internet demands. I have difficulty with Twitter, I'm lousy at my Facebook, and my account here on DA is probably the only thing that I check consistently. But, that's because I have a life. I have a project that I'm working on pretty much all the time, a dog that has to be walked, and most of my down time I choose to be focused on what I want to do, rather than the latest bit of Internet. The Internet is the most powerful tool of communication we've ever created. It also shows the worst of humanity way more often than it should.
I heard a parable once about living a life: that your life is an empty jar, and you can choose to fill it with rocks or sand. The rocks are the major, important things: your goals, your dreams, your relationships, your career. The sand is all the other minutiae: day to day crap, drama, going to the grocery store, and so on. You can fill a jar with sand, but if you do there's no room for the rocks. That's why you put the rocks in first. The sand fills up the spaces and the cracks in between.
So, when I see people talk about being afraid to create new content, because they are afraid of what the howling mobs on the Internet will think of them: all I can think of is that these people have filled their jars with sand.
I've noticed a phenomenon that suggests that art is meant to be social. It's a social event. You draw with friends, so you don't get bored. You draw with an audience, so your self-confidence can be propped up. You draw with a class so you can stick to a schedule. Art, for whatever reason, has become about less about focus, about introspection, about the journey to the truth that lies at the core of every human life.  Art seems to be moving away from its traditional role of criticizing and critiquing society, breaking new roads and giving new insights to its culture, and moving in to the mainstream cry of "Please accept me!"
I've got news for you, folks. Artists have always been lonely. We might make connections, but we belong to a world that demands us as individuals, more alone than regular people. Because if we're not alone, the process suffers. Art suffers. Art is not about being accepted. It's about creating something new, something that hasn't been there before.  A new voice, a new perspective, even a new emotion or a new awareness. And, yeah, we're damn brave for what we do. Because we do it more alone than anyone else. We're more alone then athletes, surgeons, engineers, and the idiots who do nothing with their lives but watch reality TV and post mean comments about your painting.
A lot of what these people seem to be whining about is that the Internet is a toxic place for feedback.
At the risk of sounding facetious: well, duh.
Philistines have always been the bane of the artist. Marcel Duchampe's Nude Descending Staircase was unveiled to scathing ridicule. Michelangelo's health was ruined by the Sistine Chapel. Art is easier and more accessible than ever, and these people want to complain when Michelangelo painted 5000 square feet of frescos? If Art is not worth sacrificing for, it's less meaningful than you think it is.
And, yes, that means suffering the slings and arrows of people who 'just don't get it'. Who the hell cares?
I can assure you that Da Vinci was not asking the peasants on the street what they thought of his work. If he was asking anybody, he was asking other master painters. I don't care what the latest angry 11-year-old has to say about my critique of how to design wolf characters. A) They don't know what they're talking about because they're laughably lacking in experience, and B) they don't have to listen to anything I have to say.
I draw for myself. I write for myself. And anytime I feel like I'm getting a little bit too big for my britches, I go to a used bookstore, and look at how many other novelists ended up there. Because odds are, I will, too. I'm probably not going to be the next J. K. Rowling. But, at the end of the day, I'll be satisfied with myself, what I had to say, and how I chose to say it. On my own terms. Because that's what being an artist is about.
We might be more alone, but we have the most freedom of any other existence. Our identity is the envy of everyone else in their most secret hearts. Cherish that. Especially the next time somebody tries to shit all over your creation. Yeah, yeah, we all want to be accepted and all that, but no matter what, we are all "unutterably alone."  You might as well have fun with it while you're here.
To everyone too scared to create: go back to the center. Go back to being alone. The Internet will be waiting for you when you get back. In all its stupid, burping, loud, obnoxious glory. The Internet should not define you. Your artistic vision should. And if you've lost sight of that, that's why your fear has gotten the better of you.
Art. What else matters?
  • Mood: Tired
  • Reading: Clan Apis
  • Watching: My Little Pony
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Blackinkbarbarian Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013
I have put this on favourites.

I was one of the many guilty ones who was too afraid to put any new content online because on how people on the internet could respond to it. But after reading this I think I became a bit wiser.

Thank you for writing this. :-)
WFengs Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2012
Thank you for having the courage to speak up! A lot of people draw as a means of getting attention. If it would be physically possible for someone to not draw at all for more than a week, maybe they should look at their reasons for drawing. Class notes are a telltale sign of an inclination towards, in blunt terms, selfish drawing in many cases. :)
Nick-Matulich Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
Preach it!
noleah Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2012   Digital Artist
I must say, the internet can be both a good and bad place for art. Up until several years ago I never used the internet or computer for art. When I first started putting art on the internet it was positively horrifying to look at. I'm glad I didn't get 11 year olds telling me it looked good, cause my 8 year old sis could tell me it was terrible. But I'm also the type of person who is almost never satisfied with my art, I'm always looking for ways to improve it and make it look better. The internet was great for me in that respect. I can't go out in real life and find people who have art that I could look at and improve my own, but once I had the internet I was scrolling through tons of artwork, staring at some for hours just finding all the little details that made the art so amazing, then going to a pencil and paper and trying it out on my own, trying to improve my own art. And over the years that I've started putting art on internet, I've gotten exponentially better. I would have improved without the internet, but not this much. That said, I don't and never did get a lot of attention on my art. But that never really bothered me. I draw for myself what I want when I want. The only reason I know people are interested in my art is when they ask me for commissions. The first time someone asked me for one I was astounded. I never expected attention on my art, never expected anyone to want it. So at least, my expectations were exceeded. And I'm happy at that. I didn't go out looking for an audience and rarely asked for critique unless from someone who actually knew something about drawing.

I really like this journey entry, and I've seen it happen a lot when an artist gets depressed because of the comments they get or that they did not get comments. And thats why I still often draw with just paper and a pencil. Go back to drawing just for myself, things no one else is even gonna see (or want to see) and just draw for the heck of it. Thats why I like drawing, I can pour out all my creative juices and slip into that place where its just you and that drawing and you don't think about anything else. Its strangely relaxing. I always remind myself, as soon as you start drawing things just because other demand it, its gonna suck. You can't just spit out art like a factory. Its a process. Yet, the only reason I put my art on the internet is so others can enjoy it and maybe even learn from it. So I always consider the comments I do get, but I would never make those the sole driving force of my art. that will always be my own imagination and want to draw.

I even try writing once in a while. It normally sucks so I never actually put it where others would read it, but I always have fun imaging plots and stories and different ways a story could be told, weird plot twists that are never in books. I love mixing around a story until its the complete opposite, then contemplating it. But it usually just stays in my head. Once I try to express it in words it comes out wrong.

The next time someone complains about not getting comments I'm gonna point them to this. xD Well said!
Xerdazure Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2012  Student General Artist
wadifahtook Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2012
Excellent journal, and one that speaks well of how to put such things into perspective.

I don't see an artistic path as one that has to be walked alone though. Most of my most favored works were done with the input and direct efforts of many, and all relied ultimately on others in more indirect ways as one who grows up in a vacuum does not create. Erm, unless they are a monotheistic deity of course.

But too true, something like, "Rats of NIMH", does not become an awe-inspiring feat of animation by having random people off the street bump heads together. And when fans dictate it, it is even worse. That's how you get NIMH 2. ;)
KaxantheDragon Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2012  Student General Artist
I... am speechless... You've given me the goosebumps. ^^ I wish there was a way to say this very thing in a fortune cookie. Something so small that only those that are looking can see the pearl that it is and cherish it...
Corysaur Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2012  Professional General Artist
Thanks for writing that :)
Zerox-Z21 Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2012
I know I haven't uploaded anything or whatever but I found this a good read and agree entirely. I always intended to upload what I want rather than any particular demand. To be honest, I don't ever expect any kind of fanbase to worry about, seldom enough that crappy fans may even be a problem.
One of my favourite artists I'm watching mostly uploads alot of their own ideas and artwork of made up creatures and so on. They also, unkowingly to me, had an FA account where they also uploaded some Pokemon fanart, but had been uncertain about uploading to DA because they didn't want fans to only be interested because of Pokemon artwork. They have decided to upload them to DA now, but the worry is a nice example of the point you made about rabid fans demanding or expecting certain things.
KreepingSpawn Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Puppetcancer Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012  Hobbyist
Well said. Your examples of Duchampe and Michelangelo really puts the snarky gripers of the Information Age into perspective, too. Good work!
Keaze Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012
The internet (especially DA) is definitively a horrible place to get critiques, because it's filled with inexperienced kids and people who look at art in that extremely commercial and uncritical way. So most stuff you'll get will either be dumb, blind praise, which is apparently deserved by any art/story that appeals to the commenter's taste ("OMG ITZ WOLFS IT MUST BE AWESOME") and which is even slightly better than what the commenter can do (these kinds of people also think "Let's see you do better" is a good comeback to a critique), or unconstructive "critique" that is in fact merely whining about the fact that the author doesn't cater to the audience's expectations. And that's the problem. These are the most vocal people that make up most of the audience on the internet.

I think the perfect example of audience catering is in Legend of Korra. Among other things, the authors obviously decided to give the fangirls what they want - an early love triangle and Zutara #2. The result was so horrible not even the fangirls wanted to take it. The fangirls instead turned their attention to yet another crack pairing. Which brings us to the next point: You can't please everyone. But if you want to please someone, at least try pleasing those with a semblance of taste because their expectations tend to be more complex and less defined.
There is some charm in the relationship between the audience and the author. But the line shouldn't be crossed; fans are not the author. If they were, they'd do something on their own instead of relying on the author to give them their entertainment. If the fans can inspire something new and creative (e.g. Derpy) that's great. But the author's decision to accept this should lie in their creative responsibility, not their wish to merely give the audience what it wants.
Droemar Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012
A "commercial way" is such a perfect way to put that. Love it. Sleek, highly marketable characters and designs dominate artistic expression in the young. It's why I have such a vendetta against fanworks. The occasional "I like this!" piece is okay, but when I see teens pouring their heart and soul and an actual modicum of artistic talent into a fanwork, it breaks my heart. Because all I see if someone with self-confidence far too fragile to dare adding their own voice to the void.
neverthirst Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2013
"Because all I see if someone with self-confidence far too fragile to dare adding their own voice to the void."

This journal, and insights like the above? really, really needed it... Thank you.
Keaze Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012
I definitively believe that one's own art and ideas should be more respected than fanworks. It's awful how so many artists who start out doing fanart get discouraged from doing their own work because their audience doesn't give a damn whenever they post something that isn't fanwork. For me, an artist's own creation is much more likely to make me curious than when they draw a character I've already seen and who doesn't belong to them.
What gives me the chills is galleries filled to the brim with fanart, and fanfictions longer than most novels. Don't you have your own ideas to pour all this work and creativity into? Most of this stuff doesn't even bother staying true to the original. Ever heard of "AU"? Probably the most idiotic excuse to gain attention by parading your own stuff under the guise of fanfiction. Not to mention it's based on the terrible notion that a character is defined only by their name.
Mello245 Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I've actually bookmarked this, because it was somewhat inspiring, especially how you said that we have the most freedom, I really liked that and it even cheered me up after a really bad day.

Thank you.
Furrama Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2012   Digital Artist
One can always work hard until death and hope to be discovered postmortem I suppose. I'm not sure if that's comforting or sad. I guess it depends why one does what they do.
Droemar Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012
I wouldn't mind being discovered postmortem. Immortality!
MissDudette Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2012
DawnSentinel Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2012
Thank you! It gets me pissed when people start nagging on an artist to draw such and such and only draw that. The moment the artist changes the subject their fans freak out.

And Omnivorous, I agree with you.
comixqueen Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
I went through a rough period of exactly that. It got to the point where I was almost afraid to post anything that wasn't "what my fans wanted to see"
Then I broke out of it, and that felt great. :thumbsup:
DawnSentinel Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012
Good thing you went with it :)
OmniWitch Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2012  Professional Writer
I feel uncomfortable when writers allow their fans to directly influence their stories. I knew a few webcomics that are done well enough to get away with it, but they tend to have loose plots that can allow for that type of thing. Homestuck comes to mind. At first, the guy let some forum members vote on certain character actions, but it didn't take long for him to throw that out the window in favor for actual plot. He remains conscious of his fanbase though and puts in some jokes at their expense. It's part of the comic's charm and appeal, sort of a giant meta gag.

But that's, like, a very rare exception. DA published an article a little while ago where some artists talked about the supposed "new age of storytelling", how fans should interact directly with creators. Maybe I'm just a weird shut in by nature, but thinking about people peering over my shoulder and telling me what they don't like about something before it's even finished gets my hackles up.

I don't know. Sometimes I wonder if feeling constant inadequacy or like nobody values what you have to say is just part of the gig.
Droemar Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012
Yeah, it's definitely part of the gig. But at the end of it all, we at least get to say we spoke into the darkness when thousands never dared.
Fandoms and fan stuff I have an extremely aggressive reaction to. If you're a fan of my writing or whatever, that's great. The moment someone presumes to tell me what I should do or create: them's fightin' words. I don't want stupid fans like the Twihards who beat each other bloody standing in line for an autograph. I'd tell morons like that to their face "I don't want you reading my shit. If this is what you're going to do with it, don't buy my work. I don't want stupid people like you for fans."
It's up to the artist to make the statement. Fans are just the populous, and vox populi can say some pretty stupid things.
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