Don't Be Afraid, Just Post It

You should never be afraid to post anything you create, plain and simple. This is a rule I have had to force myself to cooperate by in order to better prepare myself as an artist who will have to present work to the world if I want to get any kind of income. This is also a rule I realized I had to abide by when, as time wore on, I realized I kept telling people I was an art student, but they didn’t exactly believe me.

And why should they have believed me? It wasn’t like I was posting up artwork anywhere for them to see.

Now, that line isn’t quite true. I’ve been maintaining a DeviantArt profile for nearly six years, and have supplied my portfolio on theOtaku with enough things for the people here to know what I do. But as far as family and friends in that scary place known as the real world? Few of them knew what the heck it was I did. There was little proof of my hobby-turned-obsession-turned-hopeful-career except for the now-archaic things I had taped to the walls of my bedroom. It took my parents until my senior year of high school to see pretty much anything I had done, given that they came to the showcase that had my AP work in it.

That’s when my dad went “Oh, so maybe this will actually work out for you!”

I could’ve sworn I had shown my parents, of all people, things I had done. But nope! I just didn’t. I might’ve been discouraged when I showed my mom a self-portrait painting I was doing at the ripe age of 14 and she questioned who was in the painting. (Here’s a hint: It never gets better no matter how good you get.)

So when I entered college, I made a vow: I was going to put up my artwork in a place where the “normal” people could see it. For me, that meant Facebook. And, well, it worked. It took a lot of swallowing my pride, but I have been posting up every doodle and every assignment since I started college. It amounts to a lot, but it also shows people what I do: What I create for classes, and what I create when I should be paying attention during those classes. (Also stuff I did in my free time, things I call “for fun” art.)

Another place I use to really doodle-dump is my Tumblr. I started it with the intent of having a place to just stash things here and there, and it still is that. And I feel that by posting up all the things I do and just giving a basic outline of what in the world it is I am thinking, the whole “art” thing becomes a bit less terrifying.

I encourage people to post up drawings and stories all the time. Back in middle school and early high school (because we had the time to do things then), my friends and I would swap stories and show each other pictures we made all the time. We were all different, with varying styles and ideas, but we didn’t really have a notion of any one of us being “better” than the others. We just traded these bits to entertain one another, crafting characters for more tales and just really enjoying sharing what we thought.

And that is why I am always relentlessly telling people to upload whatever it is they make. Stories are fun to read because someone you know made it, and if nothing else, they are a stimulating way to kill some time. Artwork is a craft; when you make something for people to see, they have to realize that you made that. Whether by pencil, paintbrush, tablet, or mouse, it is a product of creation and effort.

The internet lets us see everything made by everybody. Sometimes we find things that cripple us with inferiority complexes, and I'm sad to say it doesn't get any better. The most one can do is bettering themselves for the sake of themselves, and to continue to strive to be better to be happy.

News flash: There will always be someone better. Another way to look at it: There will always be people who don't like what you do. And that's okay. If we didn't have varying opinions, things would get pretty boring pretty fast.

If you are an artist in any form of the word, then you should be familiar with the fact that you probably hate everything you do. You'll be proud one minute, then disgusted the next, and then the paranoia starts to set in. This is what I think when I hesitate on posting something of dubious quality: Who is going to judge me for this, and how harshly?

I've learned to close my eyes and click the Submit button, to never go back and hit Delete, and to come to terms with the fact that if I was perfect, I wouldn't be trying so hard. I've also realized that most, if not all, bits of constructive criticism are for things I also have problems with.

There really is nothing to be afraid of but yourself, and that can be the hardest thing to get over. I still get a little wobbly when I'm about to post things, but even so, the show must go on. What is there to lose?