ACCEPT YOUR LIMITATIONS
It came to me during an IM convo with Mike Lunsford. He showed me a link to another DA member's site (complete with almost a million visits and some very cool art). At first I felt my spirits begin to sink yet again at the thought of my art standards hardly reaching theirs.
Its not a new thought. Every artist gets it; that nagging "I can do better than this" syndrome that appears when one looks over art which they consider to be of a higher standard compared to theirs. And there's nothing wrong with that. I mean, its what drives us forward, what pushes us to continue our efforts to improve and hone our skills.
But somewhere its gotta stop. If we kept on feeling our work was inadequate then we'd NEVER be satisfied. There's got to be a point where we can finish a piece, take a step back and say, "hey... that's a personal achievement".
Keep this in mind. There's always room for improvement. But at the end of the day, there's always gonna be someone better and someone not so good at art than you. It's a fact of life. Learn to love your art for what it is.
A limitation is only as limiting as you want it to be.
A wise person sits back and accepts their limitations. After all, beating yourself with what-ifs and I wish-es never does anyone any good. A wiser person glances at the bindings that their limitations may have tied them down with, gets out the scissors, and cuts right through them.
So you might not be able to do the same things others can. But there are things you CAN do, and those are the things you have to grasp onto and treasure for all theyre worth. Those are the things you have to nurture and thrust forth into the world. Those are the things you can use to prove to yourself that with all those metaphorical stones in your shoes that cause you to stumble now and then, youve still got a light to shine out there. And you cant let that light go out, for its that light which others shall see you by.
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF
Now every artist gets it, the want to be have their work appreciated by someone somewhere. Some end up getting more appreciation than they expect, either due to the content they draw, the style they draw it in, the sense of humour they have or the amount of shininess they inject into it. Shininess usually involves liberal coatings of digital nail varnish, 'sparklies' and other such stuff that takes hours to put on. The creator may also add to the effect by sitting there and going 'this is my crappiest piece of work to date' and wait for the condolences to flood in.
When it comes to popularity, most people are extremely fickle. If they came to you wanting Pokemon or other existing project-related art, you stop drawing it and they'll go elsewhere. Your other kind of fan will dangle off your ankles and throw a celebration party every time you scratch your nose.
Anyway, what I'm trying to say is ART SHOULDN'T BE ABOUT HOW MANY PEOPLE YOU CAN GET TO LIKE IT. In the end, an artist is biased anyway. You could have thousands of people that enjoy what you draw and still think its crap. It's a state of mind! If you feel lousy about what you're creating, tons of people that say 'but I think its great' won't make you change your mind. Because you won't believe them.
So artists, stop worrying about who cares what you're doing. Make sure YOU care. If you don't, what's the point?
SHOW 'EM WHAT YOU'RE MADE OF
Nothing is original any more. There's always someone that has done something before you, be it a certain art style, a certain concept or a certain method of colouring something. There's millions upon millions of extremely talented artists out there and there's equal amounts of those who have no imagination but are very good at duplication.
I don't believe we should think ourselves to be better at what we do than anyone else. I believe we as artists are all part of a bigger picture, a creative continuum if you like. We all have something to give to this continuum and in it we take inspiration from one another and portray things through our own point of view. That is the beauty of artisthood.
We cannot let the beauty of artisthood be destroyed by our fear. To grow as artists and people we have to share what we do with other artists. To gain the warmth of helping other artists to become more experienced. Of course there should be a certain amount of reservation over newborn projects but to hide everything one does away...
...an artist needs an audience. If we all hid our work from others the world would be a very dull place indeed.