I enjoy discovering new artists and being amazed by what they can do. The internet has been a magnificent blessing for the arts as more and more folks are practicing and sharing their work. In the old days, you'd find new artists by reading comics and browsing the bookshelves and magazines. Today you can find ten new ones a day and get bored before you run out.
|Sean Aaberg amazes me.|
The ones that impress me to the most often have copious amounts of work, including a seemingly endless series of sketchbooks in addition to their finished works. And I'm always blown away by that because that ain't me. I'm the artist over here with just a handful of sketchbooks, most of which are not full.
|Erol Otus mesmerizes me.|
Part of this is because I don't believe I'm obsessed with drawing. I love to draw, and I think about drawing nearly all the time. But I don't actually do it as much as I would like. Another part of the reason is that between 2009 and 2023, with maybe a year offset somewhere in the middle, I drew almost exclusively digitally. So I don't have physical drawings lying around from that period. I have thousands of PSD and TIF files*.
|Raven Perez blows my mind.|
But that's an aside, really. The point of this post is to talk about why envy is a potentially toxic shitty thing to do to yourself.
|Brian Baugh makes me happy.|
To be clear: it is good to look at the art of others, marvel at it, love it, and even express the very human "man, I wish I could do that!". This is not the problem, as long as you don't let it become one. That feeling turns dark when you look at their work and compare it to your work, looking for all the ways in which you are not as good as them.
Don't do this.
Evlyn Moreau enchants me.
It isn't helpful to anyone, most of all to yourself. You are not them. The strokes you make are yours. The drawings you draw are yours. You can never do what they do because you are not them.
|Bud Root gives me funny feelings.|
Also, they are not a representation of perfection. I don't care if their art is the most beautiful you've ever seen and it makes you cry and they have thousands of beautiful pieces and other thousands of pages of sketches. They are not you, you are not them. And you can only be you.
|Joe Vaux kickstarts my imagination.|
It sounds stupid to say it. Like a "duh" kind of moment. But you gotta realize how urgently true it is. You are an embodied individual tied inextricably to your own personal history and your own personal future, which has yet to be written. Focus on what you do. Look at their work, enjoy it, learn from, take from it what you feel will help you grow and feel more robust. But never do the math on who is better. That way leads only to dread and self-loathing.
|Matthew Allison makes me want to get better.|
*Honestly, to satisfy my lust for printed material, I am considering doing a "digital sketchbook series" where I collect tons of those drawings into a few print books. I think that could be super fun.
|Vaughn Bodé sings to my spirit.|