When I was in school, we had to define what art was. The common accepted answer was: It’s art if you and another person believe it is. What this implies is that in it’s essence art is about being understood by at least one person. But is that our expectation when we go into it? For a long time, I believed that it was better to create for myself. I found this viewpoint to be widespread. This would mean that the common accepted definition was flawed. I perpetuated this viewpoint.

I’m fortunate to have people around me who actually like what I do or care enough to give me encouragement from time to time. Yet I have the nagging feeling that it’s never enough. I have a tendancy to feel ignored even if unwarranted. This is hard to admit but I am often envious of the success of others. I’m extremely hesitant to share this. This day and age doesn’t help. We currently live in a world where our every action (or post) need to be an achievement. Why is that? Simply put, when we see somebody sharing only achievements, never their “failures”, it makes you feel like a loser. It becomes very tempting to do the same and the vicious circle starts again. But actually, failures are immensely important to learn and grow!

I was recently having a conversation about this with my old teacher, Grégoire Bouchard. He recently launched two new books by the way. They are amazing. I told him that I was ashamed of wanting to be noticed, that I should just do this for myself and not care what people think. He completely disagreed with me. The whole point of art is to share with others and being noticed is an important part of what we were doing. There’s nothing wrong with yearning to be respected as an artist and wanting to connect with others through our art.

Of course he was right. Doing comics is typically a pretty solitary venture and you are left alone with your thoughts for a long time. A lot of things can pass in your head, it’s easy to sulk on your failures. You may feel like you will never achieve anything. The dangerous thing is: repeat something enough times and you may start to believe it.

There is this image of the pretentious artist that gives a lot of comic artist the desire to dissociate with the “artist” label. Anybody can throw paint on a canvas and call it art. Depending on their charisma and social skills, they might even make some money out of it. Comic artist are typically and entirely different breed. They are some of the hardest working artists out there and often have very poor social skills. It depends on how you do it, but usually making comics requires a lot of knowledge to be done efficiently.

Where does that leave me? Not sure. Still very insecure about what I do, but I believe I’m slightly mentally healthier about it. So I can accept that there’s nothing wrong with wanting people to resonate with what I do. It’s perfectly normal.

I know that every time I put something out there I’ll feel underwhelmed if I don’t get as much attention as the last thing I did. It’s very annoying, but in the end, this annoyance, doesn’t it help in creating the drive to keep producing?

I have to remind myself that things are getting better and better. Slowly but surely. Thank you all again for your comments, they really mean the world to me. Readers on this blog, Webtoons and Facebook have been fantastic. My new book is out and I’m looking forward to meet some of you in cons.

I have a lot to be thankful for. It’s comforting. 

Thanks for listening 🙂

 

Did I make any kind of sense? What are you thankful for?

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