Thoughts On Being A Positive Illustrator: Encouragement

As an illustrator, I hardly illustrate for myself. I really enjoy making illustrations that I’m sure people are gonna enjoy. If most people do what they want to make themselves happy, I really try to do things for other people, and that’s where my happiness and sense of purpose comes from, as an illustrator at least. But I must be honest….something that pisses me the heck off is when you work hard to make something for other people, and you don’t get a thumbs up for it. Hurts, no?

I’m sure some of you guys are thinking  ”Why the heck is this guy bitchin’ about this? Selfish prick.” You know what, I think the same thing too! I ask myself the same question. But it’s terribly hard to think positively even when you know it’s the right thing to do. And as people, we avoid doing the right thing cause the right thing is much harder to do. I mean think about it, it’s much harder to suck it up and move on than to bask in sadness and negativity….’cause all you have to do is just sit there and feel bad! We bug people and try to get them to recognize our work so we can juice encouragement and affirmation out of them, because it’s easier to bug people than to be patient and persistent with our work. I’m beginning to realize that that’s wrong! And yes! It IS selfish. 

As illustrators, we’re gonna receive a lot of discouragement. Our work is gonna suck ass. We’re gonna realize that we were doing great at digital painting and then some guy with magic hands shows up out of friggin’ nowhere. You’re gonna lose your Pentel Pocket Brush or the stylus for your Pen Tablet (which happened to me earlier today). And the most painful part (in my opinion) is that we’re gonna see our colleagues, fellow illustrators, rise up and find their place in the realm of visual arts while some of us get left behind. We’re gonna see them make their mark in the industry, leaving footprints on the Tumblrsphere and random people’s artist reference archives. All that shit is gonna bite us in the ass, but you know what….That’s okay! It should be okay. We all receive discouragement, even those rising stars. 

When it comes to encouragement: We must give more encouragement when we receive less of it! Selfishness isn’t going to do anyone any good. All it’s gonna give us is a bad taste in the mouth. Instead, we need to remember to snap out of that mentality, look to our friends (yes, even the guys whose fingers you wanna break cause they’re so good) and tell them, “Hey man, you’re doing a great thing here. Keep it up, yeah!” We can only imagine what a few sincere words of encouragement can do to someone. I’d like to think that it can go a very, very long way.

Are you still worried that you might be giving a lot of encouragement without receiving an ounce of affirmation for what you do? That’s okay! ‘Cause doing good will always be reflected back to you. If we all do our part and keep this in mind, then we’re not gonna have anything to worry about. Bottom line is this: Give, give, give , give, give! I promise you, seeing someone smile when you encourage them is worth more than bitchin’ around. And I tell you, that same person is gonna come around sooner or later and place their hand on your shoulder. They’re gonna look you in the eye and say, “Shit man….you did a hell of a good job! No, really. You did. I’m proud of you.” And you’re gonna feel very inspired by that. You know the feeling when you get when you take the first taste of a real good, chewy oatmeal cookie? Or your favorite bucket of chicken wings? You’re gonna feel that. And that feeling is simple: It feels pretty darn good. Let me know what you guys think! I’m here to share with you guys!

Cheers all!

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