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I was doing some studying of construction this morning and it got me to thinking on some stuff that might be helpful to you crazy kids that wanna break into comics as artists.

When I was coming up, I had an irrational confidence. I didn't know it was irrational at the time, but I can now see it upon reflection. I just KNEW that I was gonna be able to do this one day. 

But when I go back and look at old drawings I did, I think, "What the hell was I thinking?" I mean, I was BAD. I definitely could draw, but I was a complete amateur in every way. A hobbyist. I was a guy that had a better jump shot than his friends and somehow I knew that meant I could play in the NBA.

This confidence could have been a hindrance, though, if it was the wrong type of confidence. My confidence wasn't that I was already good enough to draw professionally. My confidence was in that I would look at art and think, "I can figure out how to do that".

I've seen plenty of guys along the way that had the wrong type of irrational confidence. In their eyes, they are already good enough. They were born great and it is just on the world's shoulders to stand up and notice them. These guys hit a certain level of ability and just seemed to stall out. Why? Because their self-assuredness told them that they didn't need to study. They didn't need to read books on illustration or de-construct their favorite artist's work. They were already pleased enough with themselves.

But the irrational confidence that I had, that I would hope that you as an aspiring artist would have, is that you can teach yourself to be better. Because you can ALWAYS get better. 

I would read articles and interviews with my favorite artists and they would mention a certain book and I'd go get it. I specifically remember Jim Lee mentioning George Bridgman's anatomy books. I now own several volumes of his books that they later re-printed in one large volume…Which I also have. 

I was a huge fan of artists that could really portray action and energy in drawings, so I scoured the net to find a book called "Drawing Force" by Mike Mattesi that detailed how to make your figures come to life. I've read Loomis, Hogarth, etc. etc. etc.

I would study my favorite artists, often copying their work just to see how close I could get to what they were doing…Just to know what it felt like to draw great.

But the reason I read so many of these books and did these exercises is because in my mind I thought, "Well, I can't draw the way I want to yet, but I sure as hell can work as hard as anyone to figure it out." 

You need THAT type of confidence. 

Lack of confidence can also be a huge hindrance. "That is too difficult, I could never figure out how to do that so I'll just avoid it forever." You don't get to avoid it forever. Drawing comics means being able to draw anything all the time. And if you can't draw it, you have to have the confidence that working at it will make you capable. 

In conclusion: You probably suck at drawing. Don't worry, we all did at one point. But you CAN fix that by working your ass off. Never believe that you're already there. Even the greatest comic book artist in the world is still probably looking for something to improve upon. And never, ever, ever let yourself believe that you CAN'T do something. You can. You just haveta figure it out!

  • Listening to: Nuttin'
  • Reading: Kirby stuff
  • Drinking: coffee
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yost614 Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
Great words I'm going to take serious

SheldonGoh Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2013
Very well said! Thanks for this. :)
Mstevens15 Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
Youre the bessssssssst
TheRiotRanger Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
robertmarzullo Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Very nicely put. I love looking into my old box of shame. Drawings from even 4 or 5 years ago that I don't ever want to see the light of day but it's important that we see where we have been to have a better idea of where we are going. And you are right, you never stop getting better. That is what makes being an artist so exciting. Keep up the good fight.
CagsCreations Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2013  Student General Artist
Thanks, Ryan.
youryaleness Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
It's always great to see the pros discussing how they got to where they are.  It's even more amazing to see one reflect on how he got there.  Thank you so much for sharing this.
Vvendetta77 Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
joshhood Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Great stuff, and when I stop crying at the realization that I suck I'm gonna draw hard. I wonder if John Byrne ever thought this...
razorgunk Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks for the insight, now I have a lot of work to do. And I am happy about that.
RenaeDeLiz Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2013  Professional Artist
Very interesting, Ryan! Funny I always tell people the same thing, but kind of opposite. I always say a certain level of dislike for your own work is necessary to not become complacent with your work (which, if you feel good enough, you'll stop working on your skills and stay the same). The more dislike for your own work the better, because you'll just work that much harder, but you must be careful not to let the dislike stop you either. I like your description better, it's much more positive! :)
Blackn-Yellow Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2013  Professional Filmographer
Thank you Ryan! This is EXACTLY what I needed! Thank you!
fisheypixels Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2013  Student General Artist
This is fantastic man!! Though I'm more of a writer.  But I want to be an artist.  I'm definatly going to apply this to both writing and drawing though!
Timothy-Brown Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2013   Digital Artist
You should start writing books on this stuff man.

I really enjoy reading your bits about becoming an artist and your own experiences with it, it's reassuring to know Ryan Stegman was as irrational as the rest of us amateurs.
JohnnyFive81 Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You're right there Ryan.  Around the time I was starting on DeviantArt, I thought my art was first class.  But looking back on it, it actually sucked balls.  Only through constant practice and study has my art become much better, and I still have a long ways to go before the companies come calling, but at least I'm not embarrassed to look at it anymore.
RossHughes Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Brilliantly put! 
NJValente Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2013  Professional
As someone looking to break in this goes a long way. Thank you good sir for posting and sharing this! 
cerebraleye Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
That is a very good way of putting things into perspective. My faith is restored!
snarebang Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2013  Professional General Artist
Thanks for sharing.
Greteh Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Truer words have yet to be spoken in the world of artists :) :iconbravoplz:
ArminOzdic Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
"Well, I can't draw the way I want to yet, but I sure as hell can work as hard as anyone to figure it out." -This is exactly how I think.
Thanks for sharing some wisdom. :)

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Submitted on
September 25, 2013


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