Thank you guys so much for your support here on dA! I know it sounds really cheesy, but all your faves and comments makes my day a little brighter everytime I read through them~
So we've hit 30k watchers today and I can only say thank you for your overwhelming support and love! I believe I'm one of the luckier users here on the site to be recognized and supported even though I'm mostly still a student at this art thing, and it just heartens me to know that there are people out there who enjoy my stuff witness my growth.
I feel like it's a good opportunity to do a little reflection and write a few things I would want to tell the "me" of 2013.
1. You are going to be in a world of frustration and struggle.
I've used to feel, until recently, very unprepared and anxious whenever I encounter an obstacle in my drawings. It got worse the more I tried to resist, instead I found it much better to accept it and move on. I've discarded a lot of paintings which I spent a good 6-8 hours on recently because they weren't good enough. The old me would have probably freaked out, but I've since learned to just move on and don't repeat the mistakes. It sounds painful to lose so many hours of work. (especially since I post new pieces frequently) But in a sense, they weren't lost. It was more of a really long lesson in "how not to screw up next time".
2. Be careful of social media.
I really don't mean to sound like an ass, but the most relaxing time is probably when you have really few watchers. Sure your work doesn't get seen by many, but the best thing is the sense of freedom and adventure! When I went by the name of "staplus" (yea I know really stupid name) back then and had 80 watchers, everyday on dA was just really fun and exciting. Predicting how many new watchers (ranged from 1-10) I will get from the next piece was like a pastime of mine! I also didn't really feel the urge to get my stuff seen or get "popular", since those big deviants were literally thousands of times larger than me it was just kinda impossible to get close.
The moment you start to gain a little traction though, you get a lot of weird feelings. Pressure to keep up the growth. Feeling the need to "please the audience". Growing your fanbase to match the biggest ones out there. The old things that satisfy you so much become meaningless.
Remember when you refreshed your page after like 2 hours and got 3 extra notifications? That was a really good feeling. I would go into the notifications just to visit the guy who fav'ed my stuff and give him a llama badge or something. I had this habit of not clearing notifications and would be really happy when it hit 100 (dA clears it regularly I think?) Now I can't really keep up with that. I just post, come back to read comments and post again.
I guess I'm saying "be careful" because it's easy to lose sight of your goals when all these things change around you. The only thing I can say is to stay focused on your goals, and don't let them change because of "others' demands"
3. Be cautious of art sites.
So recently I was listening in on one of Artgerm's livestreams and he was doing this Q&A and talked about this phenomenon of "The internet artist". Basically it's a magical person you find online who appears to be able to do anything and everything. The reality is that this "person" is a combination of hundreds or thousands of artists you see online, which makes him kinda omnipotent. The bad thing happens when you compare yourself to this monster.
I used to do it a lot. I would go on artstation, scroll around and feel like absolute shit. The combined prowess in all those works was just suffocating, especially when seen from the wrong perspective that I was in. So yeah, be really careful about that. Don't go in trying to be better than EVERYTHING. It's just not a very realistic goal.
4. Don't go taking long breaks.
This is really just a personal working style, but I'm the kind of person who needs to work through his obstacles. I tried just stepping away before, but I doesn't work for me. The longer I leave the problem alone, the worse it gets for me. If I have this drawing that's torturing me, I just kinda have to keep forcing it and trying out stuff with it until I work something out. I'm not talking about physical breaks though. It's pretty okay to just lie down for a while or something, but you can't allow your mind to "give up" or walk away.
This probably won't apply to a lot of people out there, but if taking long breaks doesn't work for your artblock or whatever, maybe try just brute forcing your way through~
So yeah, it's really late and it's been an ultra long day and I realized that when I read through how incoherent my rambling was (and how depressing it probably sounded), so I better end it here before I start typing nonsense in my sleep. Thanks for reading and hopefully it helps, or maybe it at least provides a little bit of food for thought!
Once again, thank you all for your support here on dA. I really mean it.