April 21, 2009 1

More Men, and on taking criticism.

By in dogs, sketches


Kind of like what a complete page in my sketchbook sometimes looks like, rather than a nice drawing excerpted and isolated to show you. Again, the usual paints on a thin, sketchbook paper.

I’m a little bit torn up this morning, because a pro illustrator (more successful than I, at least) looked over my website and said the things in black and white were more “professional” than the ones in colour.

She was trying to help, and be honest, (and she’s probably right!) but I’m just barging ahead anyhow, hoping someone likes something. Artists have huge egos, and I’m no exception. I think it’s part of how we function. Personally, I’d like to have a less fragile one, so I can take criticism better, but at the same time not be in denial about my level of ability. I know some artists like that (and no, it’s not you!)

My trouble is that if I’m in any way methodical or self-critical about what I do, I get blocked, and the work gets awkward. The fun drains out. So I purposely put on blinders. I seem to get much more praise than critique, anyhow, so have learned to take it all with a grain of salt. If people want to buy it or print it, then I feel it’s all right. Sometimes they do. And I know I’m not Bob Peak or Maurice Sendak, but that’s okay.

I think successful people in general don’t let failure or shortcomings slow them down, or get in the way. Of course, if you have no talent and think you do, you’ve got problems, and will go through life frustrated, like some artist-manques I’ve known. Such as this writer who knocked off an atrocious “novel” every two weeks, simply by free-writing for extended periods of time. He got angry and frustrated, because people didn’t think of him as the new Henry Miller. There are obviously combinations of talent, business-sense, and confidence which let you succeed. I think it’s pretty rare to have all three, elsewise we’d all be rich.

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One Response to “More Men, and on taking criticism.”

  1. carrie says:

    oh, this is such a complicated thing, this creating thing. I’ve discovered that once I commit to writing a book review (for free or for pay), I completely seize up and am unable to enjoy any aspect of actually reading, because I’m reading, but I’m also taking notes, and analyzing my thoughts, and checking in with my own ego (am I hating this passage because it sucks or because I am jealous or because I’m in a bad mood or……).

    To not be in denial about one’s level of ability – I’m aiming for that, too.

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