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I remember quite a few years ago reading an artist's blog about how he was an outsider at school, rejected by society, and because he didn't conform or fit in, that's why he was such a rad artist now. And I remember thinking, you prick. You don't choose to be an outsider, you become one because you're awkward and find society hard, just like the rest of us, only difference is most of us don't grow up to then use this alienation as an anecdote for how cool we are. Even though i read this ages ago, it always really flipping annoyed me. Partly because I've always felt a sense of bewilderment blundering through my career and its left me feeling like a drifter. Not even in a hip, alternative way. Just a bit lost.

Here's why. I find it hard to buddy up with others in my industry, because I rarely know enough about it. Back when I was drawing Bear and suddenly found myself an artist in the alt/goth/horror/whatever comics world, it was rather like kicking a pig onto a motorway. I didn't know anything about the scene, didn't know the artists, didn't know the references. I was being compared to artists I'd never heard of, so I found myself checking them out quickly just so I could keep up the conversation. I didn't know the scenemakers or the heroes. Even wider, in comics generally, I'd never read the classics (the ones any self-respecting comic fan would rightfully stamp your crotch to dust if you hadn't read), or any of the well-known artists. I'd just done my own little silliness for my own amusement and now was trying to hold conversations about things I knew nothing about.

The same happens now I'm producing children's books, I have no idea what the right ones are to have read, or who the artists are to know of. When people talk to me about someone-or-other my face goes pale and i nod in polite agreement, making a note to remember that name but knowing just by thinking i must make a note of it, i've already forgotten it. I've been very lucky in getting to know a good handful of children's book authors who produce some beautiful work, and I'm proud to know them, but outside of that I'm an idiot. Again with children's comics, I've been working in the industry for years but don't know a lot of the classics before me. I read these comics as a child, devoured them, couldn't get enough of them, but I never really paid attention to names or places.

Then I started finding myself working in children's television, and the same happens but on a bigger scale. Suddenly, you're the floppy-haired stubbly artist in a room full of suits, it's like being a child at a dinner party. You feel like your place is under the buffet table, putting scones in your pocket for later. Everyone in that room knows how to socialise, knows how to talk and most importantly, knows their industry. As a creator, you've come from a far more secluded place, and don't know the references. I've held evening-long conversations with people about children's shows i'd never even heard of, just hoping I could keep it up inbetween frantic glugs of wine. Then I get a bit silly and sweary. I should stop doing that.

So although you could tag me an illustrator or any deviation of that, this job involves different types of industries, none of which I seem to know my way around. I'm just bouncing between them. I should work harder at it, should learn more about my peers and contemporaries, but I just don't have the brain to retain this much information. And that sounds like an excuse, but let me put it to you this way - I love films, tv and video games. I watch most films that come out, and TV is just the right mix of concept and stupid that it keeps me switched off. But if you ask me my favourite director, I'd have no idea. If I said to you I was a massive fan of a TV show, and you quoted a line of it to me, I'd have no idea what you were talking about. I can absolutely love something, yet not store it in my head. And I rarely watch things more than once, so it's unlikely to stick. My brain is like a single rollerskate being pushed round a rollercoaster track. I'm very grateful for how it serves me in drawing comics, it's that flippancy that seems to keep me going, but in storing information it's just flapping in the wind. And when you're amongst people referencing their favourite things, that's not incredibly useful. So outside of my industry, I can't even associate with glorious, beautiful geeks.

So in conclusion, DUHHH. I love hearing people enthuse about their favourite things, to hear passion in someone's voice for the artform, but I never find the eloquence myself. I can scream an emphatic YES but beyond punching a thing, don't know what carries on from there. I'm just boing-boinging around between everything you love, enjoying it in silence then promptly being distracted by lollipops.

If you and I have a conversation, please bear this in mind. I fell into a few industries I wasn't prepared for, AND NOW I'M ALL DRUNK ON YOUR WINE.
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Zeta-Neubourn Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2011   Artist
Blehhhh, what an asswipe... I grew up an outsider, but I sure as hell don't gauge myself any higher because of it. Don't get me wrong, I take pride in the fact that I didn't conform to be "one of them", though.

But hey, maybe it's a good thing you've never heard of *insert well known being here*, you know? I mean, hell, a lot of people spend so much damn time worrying about other artists, that they're so focused on comparing their stuff to them or something, they loose track of how they got there int he first place. They're so damn busy trying to be Picaso or some crap that they either get so discouraged, they end up killing off any form of motivation or they suceed in their goal and lose any form of what makes their style... well, their style. It sucks to see that happen. (Still, I guess I'm kinda guilty of that, in my earlier years as a artisssst... cartoonstsss.... whatever I am.) ...But I guess I'm getting off track. (Happens often.)

That's pretty much how I am. I dunno shit about film or games or anything, but I love 'em to death. I can tell you about some games, but you ask me "What's your greatest influence?" or something, I'm all, "Derp, I 'unno. All of them?" But hey, the point is you've got a passion for something and you're making something of it. And hell, if you're doing it without any knowlege of whatever people are expecting or comparing you to, you've gotta be kicking ass.

But I ramble.
esoterik-designs Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2011   General Artist
I feel the same way. I have always critized myself because I feel like I must be disrespecting the artist/musican/actor/director etc. Does it make me ignorant or forgetful?
I dont do it on purpose, but I also think (subcontiously maybe) that I shouldnt have to know that persons life story or who they are to appreciate their work.
I am pretty much a social recluse tbh, people make me extremely uncomfortable because I dont fit in.
Im 32 and I would like to think I've just given in and stopped trying...
My partner has the freaky ability (its freaky to me lol) to know who they are; be able to recall other works they have done and who they've worked with- how is this possible?!
dushaking Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
So in short, your a forgetful genius of your craft. You don't memorise stuff well, but your work is revered for it's pure artistic talent, and it's landed you big opportunities within groups and cultures that appear daunting in both size and depth.

I'm curious about the whole interests part. You love shows but never think "Oh, I wonder which brilliant mind created this?". You never try to find the names of talented individuals of fields you come into contact with?

Surely you're exaggerating a bit?
bromley001 Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
That's like me: I 'claim' to be a Sci-Fi geek. So much so that when I studied for a BSc in Science & Science Fiction at University (don't worry, I failed the first year. Twice), I learnt to stop calling it Sci-Fi, and call it SF instead, because it sounds better and is a little less annoying.
But although I'm a massive fan of Red Dwarf and Doctor Who, I'm not a big SF reader - Doctor Who novels? Don't think I've ever completed one - and I've never seen many 'seminal' works, such as a single Alien or Terminator movie. I'd not seen Star Wars in well over 20 years until last year, when I watched all six movies (in Episode order) in one weekend at a friend's house (the first time I'd ever seen the Prequels). I saw stuff like 2001, Soylent Green and Silent Running for the first - and only - time at Uni.
So, yeah. Don't really know what my point was, but I'm sure that ramble started somewhere relevant.
Mosama Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2011
This sounds like something you've put way to much thought into. You need something to clear your mind. Take a rest. Know that we'll love you and your art no matter what. You dont have to think anymore. Go to sleep, wake up tomorrow and draw something cool, enjoy whatever happens next and then go back to sleep.
Vex-the-Pirate Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2011
Lul gosh i remember when i was about 11,12 or so we were EMAILING. I compared you to jhonen Vasquez and you didn't reply. This has always embarrassed me, but now i'm even more embarrassed than i was :P
Midnight-Specks Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2011  Professional General Artist
I love this.

In such regard to a few small mentions, indeed, I more-or-less have fallen to quite an understanding of this. What I appear to see by this is a society that builds their inspirations off of already existing creators and styles so generically, by this point it's considered almost alien to fall into it originally. You're expected to know the field before remotely touching it, because it's automatically assumed that you gained an interest in it via some other mode of inspiration or education. It's sad, truthfully.

Being compared to artists you've never heard of... Does that drive you insane? I know it has me from time to time, but I've learned to cope over the years. Someone trying to lead a conversation on a creator that you know nothing about, only to nod your head politely, unknowingly, as it's simply expected that you know exactly what they're talking about since your style or genre is "so similar." That natural uninfluenced instinct is primarily how I fell into illustration and visual writing. So much of which has never seen the internet. Then I went to school for graphic design, and got to see the other side of things. Heaven knows why I got schooling in graphic design, it's so easy and freakin' boring, but I can do it now. Still cling to illustration though, because it's more... natural. Y'know? People are funny. Don't let it bother you, man. You're freakin' talented, don't need no influence to give you that, a real artist & creator, and no one should expect otherwise.
EclecticManta Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2011  Student Digital Artist
Haha agreed completely!!!!!! I just recently entered an art school that teaches you 3D, animation and video game designing...I entered it more to get more experience on 3D and animation, since my ultimate dream is to be an animator at Pixar or Dreamworks. A few months later, i feel exactly the same as you, as I am in a place more focused on designing of video games. xD Sure, i do play some, but 99% of the time I have no dear idea what the people in my class are talking about, so like you, im just nodding blankly. (Like i said, I only play a few...just for you to know how serious my situation is I only played Zelda once in my life...) I am trying to play more video games I can, but where I live they are expensive as hell, and I mostly enjoy to watch a good movie or draw in my free time which is extremelly limited...not to mention, I dont enjoy games with a bunch of guns and war and complete insanity. =_='
Now to the 'finding where we belong'' thing I believe that we sometimes 'leave' society. I mean, Im the quiet girl in school, doodling away in her sketchbooks, and just trying to get good grades and so on. I think I left society in a way, because to be honest, I dont like wasting my time on people I know will only stand in my way, or have no brain at all. So I stopped talking that much to be honest. Not to mention, my class is a bunch of 5 year old kids. I mean really... -.-'
Well hopefully we will somehow understand what people are saying before us and understand more about the industry!! XD Something Ive learned is that we must always think positively and forward. ;)
bigbadantidote Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2011
I can't say that i know exactly how you feel seeing I haven't fallen into several industries. However, I'm also socially awkward and often make do as best as I can... often with small-talk and putting up a fašade of Mr. "nice emphatic guy". I'm very glad that you remain uncomfortable in a room full of suits, it means you're staying true to yourself. There are indeed people born to be in a suit and often what they want most is cash and a better position where they can make more cash.

This was probably a rant with not much expectancy of replies in mind but I like your stuff and from what I read in your journals you're a level guy with troubles like the rest of us. You haven't popped your collar and are now surfing on the mass of worshipping fans with sunglasses and a bleached smile and I hope you stay like that. It's what makes you a cool guy.

ps: some of your comics remind me of Jhonen Vasquez :D (sorry, couldn't resist)
mishellemilne Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2011  Professional Photographer
Moral: dont romanticise being an outsider as if its something to aim for.
...and also, dont tell Jamie anything, he wont remember it :P

ps. I love bear, have a tattoo of bear, I want to push bears nose!!!
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October 6, 2011


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