Accept the Fact . . .

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There are certain things all artists (especially portrait artists) have to accept. Try to accept these things, and don't despair, or be too mystified by them. They happen to all of us, you are not alone.

Accept the fact that some of your artwork will suck bilge water.

It happens to all of us. You'll have a sketchbook full of drawings, and some of them will look great. And some of them will suck bilge water SO bad. You will not understand how you could produce them! But, there they are, taunting you with their ugliness.

Accept this. You'll always produce a bilge-water-sucking piece of artwork now and then. The more you practice, the less yucky pieces of artwork you'll produce. But, accept that they will still rear their ugly heads now and then. No artist is exempt from this horror. You WILL do this. Just move on, accept it, and realize that it's very normal to have this happen.

You are constantly improving your skills as you practice. The yucky drawings are part of your learning process, so don't be too upset at producing them. They are helping you get to where you want to go.


Accept the fact that not everyone will "get" your work.

It's not always your fault. You are just trying to show your work to the wrong person, or the wrong venue. Imagine showing a portrait of Elvis (or Justin Bieber) at the art show of an opera singing convention! (I don't know if there are opera conventions, but follow along with me here.) If the opera fans don't appreciate your fine portrait of Elvis or Justin, (but instead prefer someone else's portrait of Kathleen Battle), does that make you a bad artist? Of course not!

Sometimes, you are just showing your work to the wrong people. You haven't found your niche yet.

Accept the fact that there will be better artists than you.

If you are one of those people who cannot bear to not be the "best in the class," then give up now. There will be someone "better" than you out there. There will always be someone "better" than you. But they won't be the same as you. You are unique. Just try to be the best that you can. Don't fret over the concept that you can never be "the best." It's all a fleeting concept, anyway, since we all are so different. Produce artwork to feed your soul, and to please yourself. Improve your skills to the best of your effort. Don't worry about being the "best."

Accept the fact that people will tell you when you made a mistake.

You will make errors, mistakes, or maybe you'll just produce a bilge-sucking drawing. And someone will tell you. It stinks, but you must hear it. You must not plummet into despair, or become irate because someone dared criticize you. You must not always believe that all criticism is accurate, but you must not automatically assume that it cannot be true, either.

Be open to criticism. You will learn and improve much faster if you are willing to listen to other people's input. Spare yourself a lot of wasted time and make yourself listen. You may hear something that you need to hear. Of course, not all criticism is helpful, but how will you know, if you are unwilling to even accept that it may have merit?

Anyone who works and strives will have to take criticism. Only people who safely never stick their necks out can be spared from such criticism. Do you want to be like that—too afraid to try anything new? Of course not! So, accept the criticism, and move on. Criticism is part of an artist's life.

Accept that fact that you will produce something really goofy now and then.

It'll be like you had a bout of temporary insanity. You'll wonder, "What was I thinking?" Accept it. Move on. Art is not for the extremely proud, who cannot bear to do something stupid and idiotic. All artists will humiliate themselves sometimes. Don't worry about it too long. Just keep plugging away.

Accept the fact that things don't always make sense.

It's as simple as that. You won't sell a portrait that you thought would sell. People don't like a drawing you know is good. Someone else gets an art award and yet their work is bad. Whatever it is, it doesn't make sense. But it happens. Accept it.


Accept the fact that sometimes, nobody cares, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Let's be honest, most people are engrossed in their own lives, their own dramas, their own screw-ups, their own projects. Some friends and loved ones will honestly care what you're doing, but at the same time, many won't, and it's not always out of lack of love, it's just how it is. If you believe that there are people in your life that "don't care," try to accept it, and be honest with yourself—do you care about everything they're doing right now?

It's normal and part of human nature to be engrossed in our own little world. So when you come across the apathy and disinterest of others, I won't lie, sometimes it hurts. But sometimes it's liberating! It's like now you're free to do whatever you like, don't show them what it is, don't tell them about it, because . . . they don't care! Their not caring means that you don't have to hear them criticize, question the kinds of things you want to draw, question your interests and expect you to justify yourself to them. (Like for instance, are you a fangirl or fanboy and get grief for it? Why not stop talking about it to those who don't care, and only share with fellow fangirls and fanboys. Sounds much better, right?) Accept the apathy of others as part of the package with any creative person, and realize: You're not alone, it's not just you who gets this, and it's okay! It's good, even.

Accept the fact that sometimes Life gets in the way, and you can't keep to your artistic timetable.

If you can't draw as much as you'd like, sometimes it just can't be helped. If you have family obligations, job or school obligations, sometimes they just suck up all the time. Try to squeeze in a little art time when you can, but don't fight the inevitability that sometimes, you just can't do as much artwork as you'd like. You may even have "dry spells" that last months, or years. It happens. It doesn't mean that you'll start from square one when you return to art. Just do your best, and find the time when possible.

However, never accept that watching TV or frittering away time on meaningless recreation cannot be avoided. Decide that your art is more important than some of these other things. Decide that, or accept the fact that art isn't all that important to you after all. But if you do prefer a meaningless recreation over your art, don't ever whine about how you "don't have time." No one will buy it.

Accept the fact that sometimes the best things just fall on your lap.

Sometimes you work and sweat for every break you get, and sometimes it just "happens." Don't be too amazed and astonished when something really insanely great happens without notice. Usually good things happen when you don't expect them. Don't spend too much energy "expecting" certain results from your hard work. Do the work, stick your neck out, but don't spend too much time "expecting" a big art sale, or "expecting" an art award. Stop "expecting" so much, and prepare to be amazed when things start happening!

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