Neill Cameron, a successful comic book artist, had some things to say on his twitter to young budding artists when he saw them tearing up their drawings…
“I was working recently with a bunch of kids who kept tearing up their own drawings in frustration, so I did something I’ve not done before. I talked honestly to a classroom full of children about how much I hate my own drawing. Okay, not the full extent. These kids ain’t ready to hear that. But that I do. They were kind of appalled and horrified and fascinated, but anyway, they stopped tearing up their drawings. As I attempted to explain it – and many of you reading this will know this already – when you make a drawing, there are two versions of it. There’s the version that exists in your head, and then there’s the version that ends up on paper. And because you can see both versions, you can’t help but compare them, and feel frustrated by the difference. But here’s the thing, and I think it’s easy to forget this: no-one else can see that first version. They can’t judge against it. They can only see, and judge, the version that exists on paper. And you know what, this sounds crazy, but they might actually like it, for what it is. They might think it’s cool that you made it.”
To be an artist is to hate everything you make, at least a little bit. Body builders have this concept called “chasing the pump.” For an hour or so after you lift weights, your muscles will look flexed and toned because they’re all pumped up. But here’s the thing, you can get as big as you want, but you’ll never be as big as your pump. Being an artist is the same way. The more you learn and grow as an artist, the more ideas you’ll have that are just beyond your abilities. The result is that you’ll ALWAYS feel inadequate as an artist, and that’s ok! As long as you recognize it. As soon as you grasp a rung of the ladder, your focus shifts to the next one.
That’s why you shouldn’t destroy you art work, even if you think it sucks. Even if it DOES suck! Objectively! Because in the future, when you don’t suck, you’ll still feel like you do, and it’ll be encouraging to look back and see how far you’ve come.
“I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have.” –Leonardo da Vinci