THE ARTIST PATH (AND THE EMOTIONS WE FACE)
Practically every week, I see a post on Facebook or a text message on how an artist is discouraged to keep pursuit of their dream. "My art isn't good enough. There's too much talent out there. No one likes my art. I don't get a lot of likes, or words of support. My family says I should just quit. Maybe I should." The list literally goes on forever, and I am always surprised by the people who do post those comments. Some are what people consider very successful artists: working at companies, have thousands of followers, or whatever other definition you consider "successful artist" to mean. I'll also see posts including chronic anxiety, depression, or suicide.
Being an artist today is hard. The field is growing more and more competitive every day, and we have sites like Artstation that constantly dish out amazing work. We are getting more information and visuals faster than any point in history ever. Of course that's going to be intimidating. Additionally, all artists are never satisfied with their work and want to constantly strive to improve, or have someone they aspire to be like. That feeling is normal. Even the most successful artists have expressed openly it's intimidating because they see the rush of youth learning art that much faster, and being ahead of the game far sooner then they had the opportunity. So let's face it...
WE ALL INTIMIDATE EACH OTHER,
LIFE WILL BE UNCERTAIN FOR MANY OF US BECAUSE THE ART WORLD IS CONSTANTLY GROWING,
AND THIS FEAR IS NORMAL.
Now here's what you can do about it. First off, stop worrying about other people and what they are up to. It's good to keep in touch with what's happening, but not to get overwhelmed by it. So try to minimize the amount of stress you focus on others, and focus more on yourself. Second, go and find some work from when you were younger. Whether it's a year or back when you were 3, just find one. Then compare, and find the positives. Don't focus on the negatives, but the positives. Look how far you've come! What did you draw, and why? I chose this picture you see above because I recognized something I should have realized 15 years ago: I like stories. I actually came to this realization when I graduated high school in 2010, then forgot it (again) during college, and remembered again right as I was graduating this year (2015). Sometimes it takes that long, takes repetition, and that's completely alright because I now recognize it and am working hard to pursue a life filled with stories. Third, remind yourself as many times as you can to be happy. When I was going through hard times I had to take baby steps in reminding myself this. That's ok. What I did for a while was found lots of gorgeous photos, wrote big positive reminders to myself that have a meaning to me, made it a slideshow on my desktop wallpaper settings, and read it every time I take a break, log on the computer, etc. Words grab my attention, and if I'm the one who made the reminder I'm more likely to want to look at it then if I grabbed something random online. I chose photos than paintings because I get inspired by nature and yet I'm not intimidated by nature. That's when I realized Fire Woman, something I did back when I was 9, was someone I drew inspired by nature, stories, and imagination. Other little things I used to do and still work for me is making to-do lists, but calling them "Plan of Attack". Why? Because it's way more fun! Cleaning my room (and taking showers) also helps me to feel refreshed, just like taking 20 minutes to bike or run (or snuggling a fluffy animal) helps. Be a kid again, and do what you like out of love.
Find the positives in your life, be comfortable with having fun, and know you're not alone in this journey.