There are a list of rules to follow when you’re in any kind of creative field. I think there are ten, but there might be even more. Of course they’re separated by whichever field you want to get into and get broken down into specifics.
In writing the rule is to have a basic understanding of sentence structure and grammar.
This should be a lesson for life, but one thing at a time amiright?
In art there are rules for colour and perspective. Screw these up and you’ll get things that look wrong to the eye.
In visual art, the eye knows what’s wrong sometimes even before the brain does. Correcting errors in the visual sense is much easier than correcting words. With words, it takes an outside perspective to show where we’ve gone wrong or what can be done better and, sometimes, how it can be done better.
In animation the rule is to make the thing you’re animating move as realistically as possible. A pillow can look quite stiff if squash and stretch aren’t used right, and what might have been a bouncing ball, can quite easily turn into silly putty if squash and stretch are used too much.
I’m on deviantArt. I don’t like being on deviantArt, but it’s a good thing to have for ease of portfolio viewing. And because I think it’s obligatory for any artists to have an account there. I’m not a huge fan of the site for the same reason I’m not a huge fan of forum websites; there is always going to be favouritism. No matter where you go there will be shining stars within the community and they can do no wrong. There are also trolls, and I had a very bad experience with one when I was starting out on learning this whole digital painting thing that practically ruined the website for me.
Artists – any artist – are sensitive creatures. Good, bad, or otherwise, you don’t tell someone they suck and just leave it at that. Constructive criticism is a thing for a reason and should be used.
The main reason I don’t like the site, however, is not solely the forum thing. It’s because, with a huge collection of artists at different levels in one place, it’s impossible not to compare yourself to those who are professionals.
The golden rule, the big bold number one, the rule that no one seems to talk about but that’s always there and should be remembered at all times is DO NOT compare yourself to other artists.
Creative types talk about finding what makes you you as an artist. In writing it’s called a voice, in art it’s called style. In layman’s terms it’s the thing that makes you unique as an artist, the thing that you do that no one else does.
Style is developed through years and years of experimenting and drawing. Voice is developed through thousands of pages and millions of words. The quickest way to derail both of these incarnations is to compare yourself to Stephen King, Banksy, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, or Sakimichan. Comparison means that you see your picture for the flaws, not for the thing that you’ve drawn.
Comparison means that you see your manuscript for the ideas that weren’t wholly your own.
The crazy thing about being an artist – any kind of artist – is that positive feedback is a thing that we yearn for. We want to be told we’re the best thing ever, that everything we create is awesome and no one is better than we are. Of course we know that there are people better than us, but that’s beside the point, we want that positive reinforcement, yearn for our peers to accept our work as good. And when we get that, it’s the best feeling in the world, when one of our peers tells us that *we* are good, well that’s validation right there, innit?
Problem is, art is subjective. What someone likes, someone else won’t. I have a severe dislike for Picasso, I think he’s on the level of a five year old with markers. Except for one painting in his blue period, I am not a fan. The majority of the world disagrees with me.
deviantArt and artistic pages like it are a catch-22. On one hand, it’s a place for artists to share their work with others host their portfolio in an easily accessible place for companies and individuals alike to peruse. In another, it’s a place for creative types to wait with bated breath to see if anyone will ‘favourite’ or ‘watch’ their profile. Because those things mean that you have fans. Those things mean that you are validated as an artist. Those things mean that you’re just as good as the other artists.
The golden rule is to never compare yourself. Never look at a piece of art or writing and go “Jesus, I suck.” and then spend hours and hours reinforcing that fact by looking at other paintings or reading other works that you think are better than your own. There will always be someone better out there; someone with a better prose or grasp on the human condition, someone who can literally make their digital paintings look like a damn photograph or have a better grasp on drawing people than you do, but NO ONE can do the things that you do.
No one can write like you, and no one can draw in exactly the same way as you.
The trick to being an artist is not to compare, but to strive, and to find new ways to do things to improve yourself while still staying true to your own work.
Never compare yourself, it doesn’t do anything but waste time you could be spending doing art.