Your Worst Critic

Artist are a large and rather diverse lot – actually, the most diverse lot there is! They come in all shapes, all sizes, all walks of life. They draw their inspiration, their ideas, their concepts from a million different sources. Each one is as unique as the next. They come from all over the world, from every corner of existence. Each one has a different way of doing the exact same thing and a different medium to dabble in. Some have dedicated their whole lives to their trade, others have only just picked up the tools of their interest, eager to ply their way to fame or just to have some fun. But as diverse as each one is, they all share one thing in common – at least a majority of them anyway.
An artist’s worst critic is the artist themselves.

True, there are some bold ones out there – and good for them, secure in their confidence and knowledge that they are indeed the best of their trade – regardless of whether or not this is indeed fact or merely their idea, its real enough for them and that is what counts.
It doesn’t matter to them, their work is good regardless of what anyone thinks of it. And that isn’t a bad mentality to have regardless of how good the actual product is, so long as the artist is enjoying themselves.
But for the majority of artists out there, or at least the ones that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, they have all wondered if their work was good enough, always wanting to do another touch here or another drop of color there. That isn’t a bad thing either, wanting to go the extra mile or two to make sure their work is the best it can be or at least do everything that they can do to make it that way. But you should never question your work to the point that you don’t share it.
Sharing your art, your work, your passion is the best thing you can do with art. It isn’t a spectator sport, it’s a get your hands dirty and grin sort of affair. It isn’t what makes you an artist, sharing your work – you are, by definition and truth already one if you have made art, even if you are withholding it from your eager audience.
Sharing your art is a good idea, showing it off, letting people know and see what you do and what you are capable of. You should have the mentality of the child showing their parent the picture you drew, the one that they want hung on the fridge, proudly displayed for all to see.
When you share your art, when you get over the initial fear of criticism, the better you will be. Criticism isn’t bad – especially when its constructive-criticism. There is a big difference between criticism (or constructive criticism) and just knit-picking, a rather large difference. When you share your work, when you take that plunge, along with all the negative, there comes the positive, the comments (those are the good ones). You hear what people think of your work, how much they like or dislike it. And most importantly, you hear their take on it and a few new techniques. It’s good to have your own way of doing things and figure things our for yourself, but it’s always a good idea it be able to talk to someone about your passion and get their suggestions for improvement. Not all of them are going to work for you, that is true of anything really. But between the ones that won’t work, there are a good number that will and that you’ll love.

You don’t have to just go run out there and start showing off your latest painting or drawing on the streets, running up to someone and spinning them around with your work. That is actually a terrible idea and will probably not help facilitate a future in art – at all.
And you shouldn’t expect to see your work emblazoned on the billboards in Time-square either, at least not right away. But if you work hard enough, you practice your trade, you may just get there one day.
There are many good places to share your work, especially if you are looking for suggestions, input and constructive criticism. There are actually many websites solely dedicated to sharing your art with many devoted communities just waiting to see what you’ve got and to discuss it with you.
One great website if you are looking is Deviant Art. It’s a great place to start if you’re an amateur looking to simply get your feet wet and share your art or if you’re a serious professional with a portfolio a mile wide, it doesn’t matter. They’ve got plenty of discussion areas and people who look forward to seeing what all you’ve made, eager to hear how you did it and to make some suggestions for future projects.
A word of caution though, when dealing with the internet and forums, you should make sure that your work is perfectly marked. This prevents people from stealing it and also to make sure that you get credit for it. Watermarks are your friend.
The world didn’t get where it was over night and that is a very important lesson to learn, the sooner the better. It took time. Lots of time.
Nobody started off a legend, nobody got where they are today by simply picking up a pencil – they got their by picking up that pencil and picking it up and picking it up again and again till they got where they wanted to be. It took practice, many hours of patient practice.
As clichéd as it can be, Michelangelo didn’t just decide one day that he would paint the Sistine Chapel, thinking he would just throw some paint up there and see how it looked. In reality, it took him years to plan and years more to paint. It was a massive undertaking, carefully and thoughtfully done. It was also one of his last works, meaning he had plenty of experience and practice under his belt before he even began the project. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t do something that will be remembered throughout the ages as something spectacular. It just means that you have to try to remember that being thought of as one of the greats throughout time immemorial isn’t a tangible or worthy goal, but to create great works that you love and have a passion for is more than a worthwhile goal, its something to go after.
You just have to try.
So go share your art, pull it out from hiding and let the light shine on your creations, let your yet to be adoring audience let you know what they think of your passion. Take a
break from being your own critic, let someone else have a turn. You may just like what you
hear.
I assure you, it can’t be as bad as what you would have it. You can rest assured of that.
And remember, Everyone, Everywhere started somewhere and at sometime.
There is only one way you can improve. Take the plunge.

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