Successfully Failing

  • SVS OG

    @Jake-Parker @Lee-White @Will-Terry You three are not only wonderful artists, you are also great human beings. The honesty, insight, wisdom, humor, and humility you share on this podcast is so refreshing and it is always the highlight of my week. Thanks so much.

  • This episode really resonated with me — I have always loved drawing, took a bunch of art classes in high school, and have my 2 year degree in visual communication and a certificate in character animation, but ended up taking a retail/tech support job to pay for my school. This went from part time, to full time, to being there for 5 years, to getting a corporate tech support job to escape retail — plus getting married and having my son along the way.

    On the surface it doesn’t look like failure but it feels that way to me a lot since I am not primarily employed in a creative field. I do freelance work very occasionally, but mostly I am too worn out from working 40 hours a week/commuting/taking care of a 1 year old to do much with art when I do have free time. I beat myself up a lot for not “going for it when I had the chance” and feeling like it’s too late and I missed my opportunity to pursue what I’m passionate about.

    It was really encouraging to hear Jake’s story about the period of time between quitting the studio job and getting to a steady point as an independent creator — a good reminder that things take time, yes we need to push for our goals but we also need to be patient with ourselves and give ourselves some grace when we have to be in a less than ideal work situation to support our families.

    Thanks for making this podcast — I’ve listened to most of the episodes in the past month and it has been soooo beneficial to my mindset, and inspired me to work on taking a step at a time towards my goal of having art be my main gig instead of an occasional side hustle.

  • This is the best episode! I love every episode but this one make everything balance and make sense! thanks for sharing this 🙂

  • Since I am not yet published, the only failure I can think of right now is when I stopped drawing a little over 6 years ago. We had a new baby, so I lost my office to make a nursery. I think not having my art materials readily available stiffled me somewhat as it was a bit of an effort to get everything to paint set up on my small desk in our bedroom. Fast forward about 3 years, and the bug bit me and I was back at it. While I can't say I necessarily regret the haitus under the circumstances (love my daughter), I wonder where I would be now if I had kept at it.

  • Pro

    I have failed a lot in my art journey, so many things I applied for (jobs, grants, awards, contracts, agents etc.) that I didn't get. At the time, each of them cut deeply and left me feeling unworthy, like a complete failure. But now that I look back, I have trouble even remembering specifics. The ones that I did get, although fewer, were far more memorable than the ones I didn't get, and all I can recall now is how much more happy I was when I did get one because it was hard to do. All that's left now is the feeling of pride when I see how far I've come, despite the fact that at the time each failure felt like I wasn't moving an inch. And after listening to the podcast I find myself feeling proud for failing a lot, because I realize now it only means I tried a lot!

  • Pro SVS OG

    I have nothing really clever to say... just that I loved, LOVED this episode. It was so uplifting and overall amazing! Thank you guys!

  • This episode was well-timed for me, as I'm right in the middle of a "fail period" at the moment. Which is really exhausting and challenging. After two years of illustrating books, setting up Redbubble shop, increasing exposure on social media and such, I suddenly have to take a step back from my illustration career. I'm still not sure if it's mostly because of financial reasons or because of creative burnout after having been thrown into the business side of it all without really being prepared for it. And I guess it feels like a failure when you have a hard time keeping up the momentum, so to speak.

    It all reminds me of this great analysis of the Studio Ghibli movie Kiki's delivery service. About how failing when you are working with your passion can be a double blow, as you're both failing in your career and in your identity - leaving you with a feeling of being lost.

  • Hi Guys! I want to say thank you for this podcast.
    it's by far my favourite.
    This episode was much needed as we all go through this failure, in big and small scale, all the time.
    The classes at SVS are for me an anchor as I am starting out understanding a bit of illustration and also that it's a BIG thing, design, composition, style ,etc.... Things that in a fine art degree nobody really thought me.
    Failing to me goes a lot with TRUSTING, or better the LACK of it. Often I would do a piece which represent the best I can do at that moment, and as soon as I stop there is an inner judge which makes it a failure no matter what.
    So, here we go. Lot to learn about TRUST together than failure.... PLEASE KEEP GOING with this podcast, you are such amazing teachers, humains and make me laugh so much! I hope one day to be part of one of the live classes to get my work under your hands!

  • I'm currently drawing, writing and colouring my own original comic book and its called "The Failed Artist" - this was a great listen and great thoughts have come from it.

  • This episode reinforced a lot of my feelings. I never went to formal art school. I have a degree in nutrition and work retail. After i found this site it made me feel like i can get there with hard work! I devided to participate in the contests and treated my submissions as homeworks and projects, i never won one as of this day however the one for January I did get a runner up shout out and that made me feel encouraged to keep going. It’s the little wins that have really helped.

  • Moderator

    I'll just add to the chorus of thank-you's for this episode. I've taught Costume Design at a local university part-time for the last 20 years, and I can tell you the response to failure for the current generation of students is very different than the ones when I started... So many of the younger folks I teach now have grown up with the idea that if something can't be mastered quickly or without effort one shouldn't attempt it. There is an overwhelming pressure to have "talent" in something which should thereafter define what your future is going to be. There is very little room for failure, and when one does fail it seems to carry so much more weight than it used to. So folks are fearful of trying things that are hard to accomplish or take time to develop (like playing the piano or tap dancing--or <shocker> ART).

    I didn't start to learn how to sew until I was a junior in college. And now I teach others how to sew for a living. I've worked at major regional theatres as a costume technician on shows that have gone on to Broadway. If I had defined my path by what came easy, I'd be a professional food sampler and mattress tester.

    There is something to be said for having an end goal in mind and working toward that goal and accepting failure as a necessary part of that trajectory. I worry for folks who instead use failure as a compass for determining their path in the first place.

  • SVS OG


    "If I had defined my path by what came easy, I'd be a professional food sampler and mattress tester."
    So wise and soooo funny! Thanks for the perspective and thanks for the laugh!

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