Have you guys ever wanted to try your hand at something creative? Drawing comics or writing poems or nature photography. Maybe you watched a short film on YouTube that touched your heart, or heard your friend play piano like a pro, and thought to yourself, “I want to create stuff too!”.
So you try.
It sucks. You failed. It turned out to be a disaster.
So you throw your hands up and accept that a gorilla is more creative than you. The end.
But I want to tell you a secret.
A quote from Ira Glass.
I love this quote so much! Because it is so, so, soooooo true.
The artists/writers/directors/musicians/creatives you guys love? They didn’t suddenly wake up one day with magical artistic abilities. Their work probably sucked too, in the beginning. They WORKED for the masterpieces they create today. For YEARS and YEARS maybe. They put in EFFORT and PERSEVERANCE to get to where they are now, WITHOUT giving up. And believe me, they have their own idols that they look up to in their field, and they want to make art just like them.
And it is never too late to begin. Go search about Grandma Moses. She only started painting at the age of 78. But she managed to succeed in a (very late) career as an artist!
I’ve always been into digital art. I’ve been toying around with MS Paint since I was around three, probably.
I drew that when I was nine. Ten years ago. I wrote ‘I finally did it!’ because at that time, I believed that I had successfully drew a character in anime/manga style.
Then, I uploaded some works online. And people commented. Err. Let’s just say they weren’t very nice. Hahahaha. (But then again, Gaia Online was meant for users 13 years old and above…)
But I still continued making digital art. After deciding that anime/manga style isn’t for me 😛
I got a drawing tablet when I was 11 going on 12. A Wacom Bamboo Fun. Because all the magnificent artists on DeviantArt used drawing tablets.
My first two works with the tablet:
(Camp Rock just got released that time, okay!)
I think they actually look uglier than my earlier digital artworks. Haha! ‘Cause I didn’t know how to trace or colour.
A few months later, I tried learning.
But I was still annoyed because my art still didn’t have that ‘special something’ that all those artists on the internet did.
Unfortunately, I had no one to point me to the Ira Glass quote back then. I didn’t bother using my tablet for a long time… until the end of 2010 (I was 13) because I became active on Tumblr which was THE place for fanart and fanfiction and just… fangirling.
I think I drew some terrible Harry Potter-related stuff at first. Didn’t get as many reposts/likes as I wanted. My hand still felt awkward using the tablet and it wasn’t much improvement from the above drawings.
So you know what I did? When I turned 14, I scanned my pencil-drawn works to my computer and just coloured them digitally, instead of drawing the lineart digitally.
Which explains why Hermione looks a bit blurred.
But it was a drastic improvement, don’t you think? It was a great alternative because I still didn’t have the confidence to draw with the tablet.
I didn’t draw much digitally during my later years of school because a) I lost my tablet pen, and b) I was in MRSM. But I got a replacement for my pen and after SPM (18 years old) I finally gained the confidence to draw with the tablet! I had a loooooot of time to experiment since I got a six-month break before entering university.
Now I’m 19 and here are some recent artworks.
I am also going to shamelessly promote my new art account on Instagram, @artsyfah. (I’m currently trying to art journal.)
But anyway, you guys have just seen the evolution of my digital art for the past ELEVEN YEARS! From 2006 until 2016. Of course, I still think my art sucks compared to the millions of talented digital artists out there — but hey, at least I’m better than yesterday! I am still searching for that ‘special something’ for my work, still in the process of developing my own style, but I feel like somehow I am slowly but surely finding it…? 😀
I hope this post will serve as motivation to somebody, anybody out there. So my advice to you and myself is: work hard, persevere, and don’t give up. Go re-read the quote at the top of this post.
Also, if you have a great idea, but you’re still not competent enough to create it… create it anyway.
I drew this (pretty bad) drawing when I was trying to communicate this quote Ustaz Zaidi used to say a lot back in MRSM. This was after SPM. I guess I was too lazy to make an actually nice piece of artwork. Hahah!
But I found the picture again today, and I decided to make some improvements.
MUCH better, eh?
The point is — don’t throw your ideas away in the bin if you feel that you’re not talented enough to execute them. Just make a crappy version of them first. Even if you get badly criticized for it. One day when you’re better, you might find them very useful! For example, I’ve been wanting to write a novel (with a specific story in mind) since I was 16, but until today, I feel like I still lack the knowledge and maturity to write it. So, I’m just going to write a short version of it (probably 1000 words or less) first. And I’ll refer back to that short version when I seriously sit down to write the novel in the future. InsyaAllah.
Speaking of writing, I want to add a bit more. Just a biiiiiiiit more.
When I was 11 I tried writing High School Musical fanfiction. Kahkahkah. I actually barely had any plot in mind and just uploaded ‘Chapter 1’ to DeviantArt, hoping that ideas would come as time passed by.
The first comment was particularly pleasant.
“Wow. This story is so magical and wonderful and original that I think I’m going to cry tears of joy. Oh wait, that’s just my eyes throwing up at the sheer crappiness of this piece of writing. My bad. This “story” has NOTHING to resemble decent writing… the plot line is NON-EXISTANT, and what there is of a plot stinks like the stale pieces of s**t it was used in before yours. Get a plot. And learn to write. Thanks!“
I didn’t write fanfiction again for the next two years :’)
But I became Tumblr famous to a certain degree when I finally did. It was a one-shot and not multi-chaptered like the first ‘attempt’. It was regarding the death of a Harry Potter character from another character’s point of view, and I wrote it from the heart.
The comments were much nicer.
“You’re a pure genius. It made me cry. :’)”
“I think you should write more fanfics though 🙂 Are you thinking of writing any?”
“How about you write something about Lavender Brown in her thought after Ron dumped her?”
“That was very touching. Very good writing. I have tears in my eyes, haha. Amazing job <3”
“Your blogs are fantastic. You put so much effort into them including the stories you write. They are magnificent. Keep up the good work :)”
“No way. You’re thirteen? I’m like 3 years older than you and I can’t even write something that has quality in it. Not even close! You’re amaziiiing.”
“Dude. You are unbelievable! Your fanfic… Gahh you should become an author :D”
I did not make these comments up okay… people from all over the world actually messaged me on Tumblr… I swear! Apparently I made people cry in class and one nice user actually made a graphic based on that fanfic. Yep.
And no, I am not giving you the link.
What I’m trying to say is, sometimes you just need a little bit of criticism, time, and change of style to succeed. To find that ‘special something’.
Anyway, this post is close to 1350 words by now. Do share this post if you think it might benefit any aspiring creatives out there and do comment below if you have any similar experiences! (Wow, I’m talking like a /real/ blogger now…)