The "I Suck" Dilemma



  • I found this great blog post by illustrator Eliza Wheeler http://wheelerstudio.com/2015/08/15/the-i-suck-dilemma/. I often succumb to the "I Suck" dilemma. I'm curious if 1)anyone else suffers from that dilemma and 2)how you conquer it.



  • @Joy-Heyer Hey Joy,
    Its such a recognizable issue. even when I see all of you join in the 3th thursday, i feel like * and dont want to join in the fun. Its just because I am so afraid of failing. Bléh, I hate it. But then I start working on a painting again, or I check out my older work, and i get happy again. My tip for you is this: take encouragement out of other peoples talents. Enjoy it, and learn from it. Work hard, work harder. Then, you start to succeed more often day by day. and of course you fail. I fail. we all fail, we need to have failures to grow. And be your own cheerleader. encourage yourself. Celebrate your successes and be proud of who you are. You are special, exceptional, unique. Nobody can draw the way you can. xxxx



  • I have been struggling with this SO MUCH lately! Thank you for this thread!

    I think most of my personal discouragement comes from impatience - I want to get better faster, and when I don't have a day where I can spend hours and hours on my art, I think I'll never "get there." (Wherever "there" is - art is a lifelong craft)

    And when I do have several hours for art, at the end of it, I still think, "gah it's not good enough!"

    I agree with @leontine: failing is part of it. There are many examples of historical people we look at as great successful geniuses, but we don't see the enormous piles of crumpled papers and failed ideas that were also a part of their lives, and part of their success.

    I just read a book about the beginnings of Disney - it was really inspiring. (He wasn't perfect, haha, but Walt can certainly teach us about persistence and vision) he went bankrupt, lost his top animator/friend to another studio, worked for almost no pay, sold the rights of one of his first characters (almost a precursor to Mickey) studio was in a garage, etc. He took a lot of risks, and some of the studio's early stuff is rather... strange. But, whatever your opinion of the company, you can't argue that they started small, almost failed, and are now a global industry.

    I just have to keep reminding myself: "Where I am now is not where I'll end up" and keep drawing.

    Keep it up!



  • One thing that helps me with this is Jake Parker's manra: Finished not Perfect. It isn't really important if its as good as someone elses stuff, or even the best of your stuff. But finishing things is worthwhile, and makes them much more meaningful, even if you think they "suck".



  • The little voice that says "I suck"? well, i made it marry the voice that says "I'm the best" and i just laugh as their baby says "I'm the best at sucking"



  • It is amazing to me how generous we can be with others - find the good in their work and be happy for them and confident in their future successes - but it is difficult to find the same generosity of spirit for ourselves - not to get too analytical but i remember reading Carl Jung many years ago - i read quite a bit of his work and Marie Louise Von Franze also - i remember one of them writing about this very subject - the voice in the artists head - they (one of them don't remember which) compared it to the slaughter of the innocents - that there is a part of the human psyche that is a murderous tyrant who is apposed to the creative spirit - who whispers ugly thoughts into our ears until we give up - this tyrant prefers that we live an unconscious life and art is the most well known path to self discovery and growth - i do not agree with all of Jungs thoughts though he was a genius and i am not ( i believe he was quite far off the mark in his analysis of James Joyce's Ulysses) ....but the idea is a good one - that there is a voice and will be a voice...and we cannot wait for it to go away because it will not..we can choose to listen and give up or we can know that it is part of being human to have this voice but that it cannot be allowed to guide us



  • Nice topic! The approach in this post is really cool, thanks for sharing.

    You know, I used to think I was the only one that felt that way, because my friends never shared their thoughts about this topic. There was even a time I stopped drawing for a whole year thinking that it was a waste of time and that the effort wasn't paying off.

    Then I read and listened to a lot of awesome artists about this and I realized that quit drawing made me very unhappy. I took a look at my own art from before I had decided to stop and I saw that I was doing fine. That's when I decided to just let myself have fun with the drawing process and just keep drawing.

    Even knowing this much, there are times I let this "I suck" feeling take the lead. This mostly happens when I have a lot of anxiety build up, or when I start to compare myself to other artists and styles.



  • I feel it, everybody feels it. I stopped worrying after I heard it literally from all artists I admire. Everytime I listen to an interview with some great artist, at some point he/she will say that he/she is still worried that this new artwork sucks.
    My mantra, that I trust, goes like this.. :)
    I will never feel that I dont suck. I will always feel that way. but I suck less than a year ago. And thats why it is worth to continue.



  • YES I feel defeated at times when something I've worked on so hard goes unnoticed or met with a slight shrug. Expecting others to appreciate what we've poured our hearts into is partly the reason why we create... we hope that our work will resonate with another being. But the other part is because we are just wired to create regardless... it's all we know to do. Exploring creativity is a lifelong process and to be happy at it we must be true to our inner voice and not compare ourselves to others, which is sometimes good but can also be dangerous. The last two 3rd Thursdays I felt so defeated. I wasn't picked so I wanted to have a pity party. But instead I feverishly took notes that whole hour both times, and learned so much!! Everything everyone said on this thread is so true!! Thanks for the topic!!



  • @Carey-Bowden Excellent advice! Didn't know this about Walt Disney... interesting!!



  • It's good to know it is a normal dilemma! Thank you everyone for the great advice. Knowing that others feel this way too makes it easier for me to shrug off failure and keep working. --That and the great encouragement from everyone here.



  • @Joy-Heyer said:

    It's good to know it is a normal dilemma! Thank you everyone for the great advice. Knowing that others feel this way too makes it easier for me to shrug off failure and keep working. --That and the great encouragement from everyone here.

    Joy, I think you will like watching Stephen Silver's Art Talks on YouTube too, if you don't know about already. :)
    Here's the link, just in case - https://www.youtube.com/user/silvertoons



  • @joyce_carmo Thanks for the link! I can't wait to listen to them while drawing. They look very uplifting...perfect for "i suck" moments!


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