Art and Discouragement

19 May 2016 18:16 #241650 by Leah Starspectre
It was my local Comiccon this past weekend. This is a fun and busy time for me, as I'm a competitive cosplayer, and I had a GREAT time.


Now is the time that all my friends/fellow cosplayers are sharing the pictures that they have of the weekend. Usually I'll see a mix of professional photoshoots and casual snaps from the Con floor. This year, though, I'm feeling decidedly inferior about it all.

I see all their wonderful cosplays and Masquerade (costume competition) awards and I'm SO happy for them (they're my bestest friends, after all!), but at the same time, I feel terrible about myself. I'm discouraged by the talent and skill that's around me, because I fell like I can't live up to it. I refuse to compare myself to pro artists, but it's hard not to do so with your peers.

How do you artists out there cope with your own inferiority complex about your art? I'm having a hard time trying to find something in the Doctrine to help me out of this negative way of thinking.
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19 May 2016 18:22 - 19 May 2016 20:03 #241652 by OB1Shinobi
Replied by OB1Shinobi on topic Art and Discouragement
i only compare myself to myself -- of the past

am i better now than i was a year ago, for instance?

am i still doing somethinjg that excites me?

am i still growing and developing at it?

do i push myself?

am i open to doing something new?

am i working to get better at what i already know?

theres a part of our minds that always comes up with reasons for why we arent good enough

we have to focus ourselves and deliberately come up with reasons for why we are

this isnt just art, its everything


and besides, it sounds like youre comparing yourself to people with more experience or at least more "fine tuning" than you have got, YET.

if every kid who loved the guitar got bummed out all the time because s/he isnt elvis, we never would have had stevie ray or or joan jett

you just have to do what you love and believe that its worth it

it will always be worth it to have worked hard at something you love

People are complicated.
Last edit: 19 May 2016 20:03 by OB1Shinobi.

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  • Goken
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19 May 2016 18:26 #241653 by Goken
Replied by Goken on topic Art and Discouragement
My fiance really enjoys cosplaying and is something of a perfectionist. She also has a friend who is working her way towards being a professional cosplayer/costumer (not sure if one implies the other or not :lol: ). I know that she can be rather competitive with some of her friends or just people she sees. One thing that helps her with her friends is to work on them together. It helps it feel more like a team effort and hopefully raises the quality of everyone's work. She doesn't do that with all of her friends, but it helps with the ones that she does.

On a side note, I was at a comiccon this weekend too! Which one did you go to? If you don't mind my asking. I was at Wizard World Des Moines. It wasn't super huge but I had a blast, and got Peter David's autograph. :woohoo:

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  • Snowy Aftermath
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19 May 2016 18:49 - 19 May 2016 18:57 #241658 by Snowy Aftermath
Replied by Snowy Aftermath on topic Art and Discouragement
I am a writer, and for many years was a sculptor and painter as well.

I've found that the quickest way to ruin your own art is to compare yourself to anyone else. Are you making your art because you love it or because you want recognition? because there will always be someone with more status. If I spend my life comparing myself to JK Rowling or William Shakespeare I'm going to be miserable...

and the roles of JK Rowling and William Shakespeare have already been taken. People have heard their expressions of their existence. The secret is that all art is just the same story we've been telling for thousands of years, and now I get to tell it with my voice too.

So be happy being Miss Leah. Make what you love without worrying about what other people are up to. Use your voice to tell your story in your way, let those other guys tell it with theirs. Be happy for those other folks for their expressions, but be confident that what you made came from you and is your expression of being alive. Nobody will ever have your exact experience again :)
Last edit: 19 May 2016 18:57 by Snowy Aftermath.

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19 May 2016 21:11 #241686 by Kit
Replied by Kit on topic Art and Discouragement
I know it's easy to say and nearly impossible to do, but don't compare. Try to become inspired instead.

I call myself a crafter more than an artist. I'm a creator. But I found I more find inspiration from other's works rather than try to compare myself to them. For example, I've been seeing a LOT of breathtaking watercolor works recently. Discovered a new artist through my cross stitching and when I delved more into it I found out the artwork my cross stitch is designed from, was watercolor based. (same artist who created this current avatar)

She's inspired me to try watercolors. Something I haven't done since grade school XD I will admit, I looked at my first piece and thought " can I ever reach that which inspired me in the first place?" and I haven't picked up my brushes since. But I have done some research into techniques I want to try, and picked up a new (more suitable) pallet, now I want new brushes ;) (most of ours have been used for miniatures and those are rough on them...) but that drive to create has caught me again. So hopefully soon I can make the time :D
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19 May 2016 22:48 #241702 by Gwinn
Replied by Gwinn on topic Art and Discouragement
It's kind of funny. Once again I have similar feelings as you. I feel that way with my programming. I'm not bad, but pretty inexperienced, and seeing all the crazy things people do and make and figure out is pretty intimidating, and it's really easy to say "Gosh, I can't ever see myself being that good, so what's the point?"

I guess the point is to do it because it's fun. Don't worry about being the best, just worry about enjoying yourself as you do it. I'll have to agree with OB1Shinobi here. It's much better to not compare yourself to others. Use them as a guide, maybe, but let your own experience be the one that's important to you. It's your life, after all, not theirs! Enjoy the time you take to make the costume. Enjoy the fun showing it off. Who's to say yours is any inferior to anybody else's? It's done in your own style! Be proud!

I'm glad you started this thread. It's good to see so many others sharing their experiences. Great support!

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  • The Coyote
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20 May 2016 00:58 #241709 by The Coyote
Replied by The Coyote on topic Art and Discouragement
I see a lot of people have replies saying not to compare yourself to the others, just to enjoy doing it, and to not worry about how it compares, but for me personally I know I can't do that. When I have a passion for something and I look at others who do it much better than myself, I also feel a bit discouraged about how I am not better. But when I feel this way, I don't stop there.

Instead of allowing the discouragement to fill me up, I use it as a fuel to improve upon my own abilities and drive myself to become better at it. Instead of saying, "Wow, that was so good, I wish I was that good," I instead approach the situation asking "How were they better than me, why were they better than me." I stop and ponder what it is that they did right and I look at what makes then successful. Then I look at my own work that I've put forward and ask if I have put forth the same effort as the other person(s). If I haven't, then I know that I must simply put more time/effort into it.

If I have put the same effort, then I must ask, "What is it that they've been able to do well that I haven't been?" I analyze if I can do what they have done. Maybe they've come up with a more efficient technique or perhaps the material or tools they've used are better than the ones I've been using. So then I can learn to better my technique or use a material that is better suited to what I'm trying to do.

If this is still not the problem, then I begin to ponder if they simply have a style that is very different from mine which gives it a different appearance. If that is it, then I can ponder if I prefer their style over mine and perhaps should begin to pick up that style so I can better pursue my passion in life. If I decide that I prefer my style to theirs, then maybe I can learn what is lacking in my style that I could adjust to counter or make up for what I feel I like better in their style.

Instead of focusing solely on where I am now, I look at where others have had success and then proceed to figure out how I can make that own success in my life. I believe that it is Sun Tzu that said, "You must let go of who you are, so that you can become what you may be." Instead of focusing on the past that is already gone, focus on what you can do today to become better tomorrow. This goes to the quote that Lao Tzu said, "If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present." I focus on what I am able to do today, and I know that it will allow me to end up where I want to be tomorrow.

This is how I personally tackle my discouragement. I hope it may be able to help you overcome yours. If not, you could always speak to other people about how you feel, sometimes simply talking about things to others can give you a different perspective than you had before. I know some of my greatest epiphanies have been in the middle of conversations with others. If that's the case, I love discussing anything with people and love to learn more about what I do not know. You (or anyone else reading this) could always throw a message my way and I've been told that I'm a pretty good listener!

Either way, I hope that you find the peace you are looking for!

May the Force be with you, always!

Sent from my SM-N900V using Tapatalk

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20 May 2016 01:10 #241710 by Proteus
Replied by Proteus on topic Art and Discouragement
Comparison will naturally happen. Don't feel you should avoid it. Instead, learn to understand its pro's and cons.

First ask yourself "Why am I doing this at all?"

Is it to impress others? Or is it just for the sake of you having fun?

If it's the former, you will feel discouragement when comparison happens, because you know that you will not be able to impress people like those who are more experienced. My advice is to rethink your motive and reach for the latter approach.

Do it for the sake of your own fun alone.

With this approach, through comparison, your focus will be on getting good ideas, and accumulating inspiration for those ideas. You are to be your own audience and the only one to impress, when the next outfit you put together is a level up from your last one. Your focus will be on what improvements you make and what new ideas you've come up with and how you've implemented them. You will have utilized comparison and in so doing, have used it to IMPROVE what you do. That is the goal you want - to improve (always only to improve, not to impress). While your focus is on improvement and not impression, you will grow your skills and before you know it, will become one of the best out there among those you once felt discouraged by. :)

“For it is easy to criticize and break down the spirit of others, but to know yourself takes a lifetime.”
― Bruce Lee

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20 May 2016 01:32 #241712 by steamboat28
Replied by steamboat28 on topic Art and Discouragement
There's a skill gap in all arts. It's rough, too. What happens is you get just good enough to recognize your own mistakes--your knowledge of the art has grown faster and more accurately than your skill itself has. And the only way to get past that gap is to make your skill increase to match your knowledge.
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20 May 2016 06:11 #241720 by Entropist
Replied by Entropist on topic Art and Discouragement
Comparing oneself to others is using external measures to validate self-value and status. To focus on what others do must never result in a person's actions to retard others as external measures of self-value to maintain status quo. Others may have autonomously earned their ability; some find alternative means; while some just pay their way, or brown-nose and kiss a lot of ass. Obviously the most respected means is to autonomously develop our own ability because it's a direct and most accurate measure.

In conclusion, you are like everyone else that has the right to autonomous development of our own skills. What reason do you have not to exercise your own right?

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