I’ve been getting a lot of questions these days from those setting out to do something big, in the form of “I want to publish a comic and I don’t know where to start” or “I want to make a living with art and I don’t know where to start”
It is certainly logical to not know where to start since making a comic and succeeding in making art into your career are huge tasks that involve a LOT of steps, steps that are not necessarily linear. The problem of making such a general goal like “I want to publish and sell my own comic” is most people think “ok I gotta write a story”, then think “fuck how do I write”, or “ok I’m going to draw some pages”, then think “fuck I can’t draw” and feel stuck.
The solution to that is just to make smaller goals.
If you go to google.com and type in your goal and you can’t find a clear answer, your goal is too big, vague and general. “How do I publish a comic” won’t give you anything helpful unless you already know how to complete the step of “draw a comic”. “How do I make a living from art” won’t give you anything useful unless you already know how to complete the step of “create a diverse portfolio catering to the company you’re applying for”. On the contrary, “how do I do 3 point perspective” or “what file format do I need for offset paperback printing” will give you exactly the answer you need for the goals of learning perspective or printing a book.
If you feel like you don’t know where to start to “learn to draw”, make a smaller and specific goal, “learn to draw a specific thing”, “learn to copy photographs”, “lean to draw young children in a specific style”. If you’re still lost about how to do that, make an even smaller goal of “learning photoshop basics” or “learning lighting and shading” Keep doing this until you know exactly what to look for to get to that one small goal. Focus on that and try your damnest to disspell self deprecating (aka absolutely useless and unproductive and most of the time untrue) thoughts like “it is taking me 2 years to learn to draw and I still need to do ___ _____ ____ and ____ to get to the my end goal, whereas other people just do it so easily, I’m not meant for this”.
Smaller goals do not mean settling for less. Smaller goals do not mean defeatism. Smaller goals do not mean you don’t have what it takes and you should give up while the time is still young. Smaller goals mean clearer vision and better plans.
It’s so easy to make grand final goals and it’s so easy to feel like making a minor goal of “being able to fluently draw the male anatomy” is too insignificant or settling for too little or not cool enough sounding when being asked what your goals are. But in the end you will only be able to work effectively towards the goals you actually are capable of logically seeing a path to.
(this applies to everything by the way, not just art, you’ll notice you already do this for basically everything else in life, it’s just that it’s so much easier for people to feel helpless against these situations when it comes to art)
"If you’re feeling frustrated with your progress toward your goals, it’s tempting to focus on what you lack that other people seem to have, to obsess over followers, engagement, traffic, or any other benchmark. The reality is that numbers don’t necessarily measure success, and they’re certainly…
Thanks to everyone who sends me nice messages here from time to time;v; I generally reply to every message unless the message doesn’t really require a reply, however I can’t do that if you send me a fanmail and block fanmails from people who don’t follow you. Just a small reminder in case you sent me a fanmail and are wondering why you didn’t get anything back!
When you are hurting, there will always be people who find a way to make it about themselves. If you break your wrist, they’ll complain about a sprained ankle. If you are sad, they’re sadder. If you’re asking for help, they’ll demand more attention.
Here is a fact: I was in a hospital and sobbing into my palms when a woman approached me and asked why I was making so much noise and I managed to stutter that my best friend shot himself in the head and now he was 100% certified dead and she made this little grunt and had the nerve to tell me, “Well now you made me sad.”
When you get angry, there are going to be people who ask you to shut up and sit down, and they’re not going to do it nicely. Theirs are the faces that turn bright red before you have a chance to finish your sentence. They won’t ask you to explain yourself. They’ll be mad that you’re mad and that will be their whole reason alone.
Here is a fact: I was in an alleyway a few weeks ago, stroking my friend’s back as she vomited fourteen tequila shots. “I hate men,” she wheezed as her sides heaved, “I hate all of them.”
I braided her hair so it wouldn’t get caught in the mess. I didn’t correct her and reply that she does in fact love her father and her little brother too, that there are strangers she has yet to meet that will be better for her than any of her shitty ex-boyfriends, that half of our group of friends identifies as male - I could hear each of her bruises in those words and I didn’t ask her to soften the blow when she was trying to buff them out of her skin. She doesn’t hate all men. She never did.
She had the misfortune to be overheard by a drunk guy in an ill-fitting suit, a boy trying to look like a man and leering down my dress as he stormed towards us. “Fuck you, lady,” he said, “Fuck you. Not all men are evil, you know.”
“Thanks,” I told him dryly, pulling on her hand, trying to get her inside again, “See you.”
He followed us. Wouldn’t stop shouting. How dare she get mad. How dare she was hurting. “It’s hard for me too!” he yowled after us. “With fuckers like you, how’s a guy supposed to live?”
Here’s a fact: my father is Cuban and my genes repeat his. Once one of my teachers looked at my heritage and said, “Your skin doesn’t look dirty enough to be a Mexican.”
When my cheeks grew pink and my tongue dried up, someone else in the classroom stood up. “You can’t say that,” he said, “That’s fucking racist. We could report you for that.”
Our teacher turned vicious. “You wanna fail this class? Go ahead. Report me. I was joking. It’s my word against yours. I hate kids like you. You think you’ve got all the power - you don’t. I do.”
Later that kid and I became close friends and we skipped class to do anything else and the two of us were lying on our backs staring up at the sky and as we talked about that moment, he sighed, “I hate white people.” His girlfriend is white and so is his mom. I reached out until my fingers were resting in the warmth of his palm.
He spoke up each time our teacher said something shitty. He failed the class. I stayed silent. I got the A but I wish that I didn’t.
Here is a fact: I think gender is a social construct and people that want to tell others what defines it just haven’t done their homework. I personally happen to have the luck of the draw and am the same gender as my sex, which basically just means society leaves me alone about this one particular thing.
Until I met Alex, who said he hated cis people. My throat closed up. I’m not good at confrontation. I avoided him because I didn’t want to bother him.
One day I was going on a walk and I found him behind our school, bleeding out of the side of his mouth. The only thing I really know is how to patch people up. He winced when the antibacterial cream went across his new wounds. “I hate cis people,” he said weakly.
I looked at him and pushed his hair back from his head. “I understand why you do.”
Here is a fact: anger is a secondary emotion. Anger is how people stop themselves from hurting. Anger is how people stop themselves by empathizing.
It is easy for the drunken man to be mad at my friend. If he says “Hey, fuck you, lady,” he doesn’t have to worry about what’s so wrong about men.
It’s easy for my teacher to fail the kids who speak up. If we’re just smart-ass students, it’s not his fault we fuck up.
It’s easy for me to hate Alex for labeling me as dangerous when I’ve never hurt someone a day in my life. But I’m safe in my skin and his life is at risk just by going to the bathroom. I understand why he says things like that. I finally do.
There’s a difference between the spread of hatred and the frustration of people who are hurting. The thing is, when you are broken, there will always be someone who says “I’m worse, stop talking.” There will always be people who are mad you’re trying to steal the attention. There will always be people who get mad at the same time as you do - they hate being challenged. It changes the rules.
I say I hate all Mondays but my sister was born on one and she’s the greatest joy I have ever known. I say I hate brown but it’s really just the word and how it turns your mouth down - the colour is my hair and my eyes and my favorite sweater. I say I hate pineapple but I still try it again every Easter, just to see if it stings less this year. It’s okay to be sad when you hear someone generalize a group you’re in. But instead of assuming they’re evil and filled with hatred, maybe ask them why they think that way - who knows, you might just end up with a new and kind friend.