A strange thing…
I spent 15 years of my life building a mural painting business — and far more than that engaged in fine art, design work, and general artsy projects — only to realize a horrible truth…
I’m a fucking hack. I have no clue what I’m doing.
This realization came to me when attempting to illustrate a few drawings for the next ridiculous book I plan to publish. I’m brutal at cartooning. I have no talent whatsoever. I feel like a pencil is a foreign object to me.
Those thoughts reminded me of a time I got invited to draw caricatures for an open- house at a resort I used to make signs for. I agreed, assuming I would excel at it — but the reality of the situation proved quite different…
I fucking sucked — badly… like a trainee Vietnamese hooker.
I arrived at the resort that day bubbly and eager — quickly finding my place to set up shop. While doing a test drawing with a marker on a sketch pad for the first time, I quickly learned there was no way in hell to get through the next 2 hours without a massive degree of embarrassment and ego diminishment.
I was fucked.
My only hope was to play Unabomber sketch artist — you know, where you draw everyone wearing giant sunglasses and a hoodie. That strategy was my perceived saviour at the time.
Jesus, what the fuck did I just get myself into?
Although it was a volunteer gig, I had no right being there.
I quickly made use of personality and charm to fumble through the onslaught of miniature humans lined up for inked immortalization. I thanked my lucky stars each “client” was a kid. I would have developed many enemies that day if adults sat before me, hoping to look pretty by my artistic hand.
The kiddies didn’t give a shit how accurately I rendered their faces — they were more pumped on whatever fantastical situation I could land their bodies into, through poorly stroked black marker.*
(*Note to self: Bread joke tomorrow about stroking black things)
Dune buggies, spider-men, and fairies dominated the themes — although the dune buggy idea was something I repeatedly suggested because of a stupid joke I recalled from a Simpson’s episode. Though I didn’t really know how to draw a single one of any of the elements I moronically kept asking my clientele to suggest, it turned out no one gave a shit. Each o’ the smallfries were happy with the giant piece of paper I tore off to give them as a horrible memento of my talentless efforts.
I got invited back the next year by popular demand of my “satisfied” customers. Many of the kiddies even had their artsy abominations still pinned to their walls, haha. Some bright-light gave me a tip jar the second year, and I made a decent buck for the meaningless gig I drove 2 hours to get to. Go figure.
It’s true what I said earlier about art. I really have no clue what I’m doing, despite years of experience. Dedicated effort ultimately comes down to letting instinct and muscle memory take over at a certain point — like playing guitar, trusting a tennis swing, or picking up chicks at the bar. When we allow our big brains to get in the way, that’s when shit goes sideways.
So today I spent a few hours getting acquainted with my pencil and eraser again, hoping to get Original Sin finished. And I realized why there was no need to feel frustrated over cartooning — because I’ve never really done it before, caricature stupidity aside.
We only get better at shit is when we engage it consistently.
Don’t we always?
Ya gotta jump into the muck sometimes, and just fucking do it. Instead of feeling frustration from the get-go for not being perfect at a thing you’ve never done before, cut yourself some slack. Before long, you’ll realize just how quickly you can rock whatever scenario you give your attention to.
I don’t need a Jerry’s Final Thought comment here to tell you that doing what you truly love to do should have no attachment to fear, apprehension, or intimidation. If you love it, then fucking do it. If all you care about is making a buck down the road, then maybe your project ain’t quite the right gig for you. I dunno, I could be wrong.
Life is about diving balls deep sometimes, the future be damned.
Not sure about you, but I just dropped my hawaiian shorts…
I’m goin’ in…