Ever feel like your good pieces are accidental?

  • Because I do. It always sucks the joy out of my work, because when I am starting to really love something I am doing, I think to myself "I couldn't do this again" or maybe it is a lack of knowing what is good about it that fuels this.

    This bothers me, because obviously my dream is to one day get an agent, and I want to be able to do anything on the spot, and maybe I could do that now, but it seems that I do not believe in myself enough, or lack confidence in my work.

    Any thoughts?

  • Oh yeah, here is a piece I am working on now. Did a bit of value on it, and some color to see where it might be going. This essentially just came right out of my butt, and I am really enjoying the process of puting this together. It is a practice piece on clutter, before I jump into the draw 50 things challange.


  • Pro SVS OG

    I sort of feel that my best pieces are those that I do not plan too much. But I believe this has mostly to do with expectation than with quality. If I spend a lot of time planning, I sort of have higher expectations on myself and it is easier that I get disappointed. If I do not plan, it is always a surprise, and it almost looks nicer because of that....

  • Totally agree — there's always a little sting at the end of a decent drawing, wondering if I'll be able to do it again.

  • SVS OG

    I feel like the "10,000 bad drawings" thing some of my teachers talked about is pretty interesting and has some truth in it: everyone has 10,000 bad drawings in them, and when you start out those are all that come out. Some people never get past those, but others (us!) keep going. Then you start to get an occasional good one mixed in, and then more and more of them are good, and then most. But you don't know which one it's gonna be, good or bad, til you put pen to paper and just start.

  • Pro SVS OG

    @Sarah-LuAnn Yes, I do not know if the number is 10´000 but there is definitely truth in that!
    I will add one of my favorite "keep going" quotes:
    "It takes100 image that crawl to make 1 that walks. It take 100 images that walk to make one that flies".
    I do not know who said this, but my feeling is that this one never goes away, and is always on my mind. So whenever I do a really good one I think "Yeah, this one flies! (Or maybe walks...but at least it does not crawl...)", and when the next one does not measure up, I think "Ok, one of the next 100 crawling/walking ones". Which is a nice thought for me - much better than "I will never be able to do a good one again..."
    Incidentally, I think it applies to writing too - it takes a few drafts that "crawl" to do one that "walks", etc...

  • @Sarah-LuAnn, @smceccarelli YEEEAAAAH! Thats so true! Keep on going!
    @Eric-Castleman NEVER GIVE UP! BTW love the dino illu.

  • SVS OG

    @Eric-Castleman I feel this way pretty often too. The really lame thing is that most of the time my good things happen by accident when I'm using my scratch paper and cheap water colors etc. Sometimes people even ask if they can buy it and I'm like, uhhhh..... You really don't want this. Ha! If I could afford it, I'd just always use only the good stuff.

  • SVS OG

    Oh, I know this feeling too. Last year at the SCBWI November conference, when an agent reviewed my portfolio, the two favourite pieces were the ones I had spent the least time on, and I spent about zero time thinking about value or composition - I just had an idea and ran with it. Then one piece I slaved and agonised over for about a month, didn't get much interest from anybody, and in comparison it looked laboured (to me, as well, I don't like it so much). It was infuriating! I didn't know whether to be pleased that my 'best' work could be done so very quickly, or annoyed that when I really took my time to think and make an effort, the result wasn't as good.

    But I have some thoughts, about why that is - I think when you are really trying hard, it's because you are learning something new and/or trying to solve a problem you haven't done before. Maybe it's a more difficult scene somehow. So naturally, you may make mistakes, or have to re-do bits, and it doesn't look as natural. Whereas when you have a cute idea and it's fairly similar to compositions that you've done before, it all comes out quickly and hurrah, it's great! Because those pieces build on all of the rubbish ones you did previously, without the mistakes, and maybe the style is more consolidated than before, etc. This is really a similar point to what @smceccarelli and @Sarah-LuAnn have said and I totally agree with what's been said already.

    I'm worrying that my Draw 50 Things piece is turning into one of those pieces where I work on it for ages but I don't like the end result as much as I expected - but then again I don't draw interiors as much as I should, or clutter - so maybe I need to go through a struggle on these topics, so that next time I draw piles of clutter, it will be better.

  • Pro SVS OG

    @Dulcie I totally relate. My best pieces are the one I did without thinking, without planning and mostly in-between things (on the plane, as a "filler", etc...). It is a hard pill to swallow, but being able to accept that (and to know, as you say, that you need both to labor over things as well as to do them in a whim: you cannot have the one without the other...) makes life as an artist a lot happier. I do believe that, once you accept your own limitations (in speed, in learning, in practicing) and the vagaries and unpredictability of creativity simply as being a part of life as an artist - rather than something to fight - things clear up and you can really enjoy the process as well as the outcome. That is why a book like "The war of art" is very important for me. It does not offer a solution or a perspective, it just describe things as they are - the simple acknowledgment is healthy...
    If you look through a good picture book from a favorite artist: how many pieces are really "wow" images, if you took them out of context? How many are ok, but nothing special? And how many are really not that good? I have the feeling that even for established artist working through a project there are pieces that crawl, walk and fly as for everybody else...

  • saw this on the internet.

    I feel it is relevant to this discussion:


  • I am glad that so many good artists have the same feelings I do. Gives me hope!!!

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