098: Draw like Nobody is Watching
Wherein we discuss the REAL inside job...
Often, we get stuck on only what we can see with our own eyes, or feel in our own hands. You see the celebrated artwork, the viral illustrations, or the full-time artists flourishing on social media. It’s the animal within us, looking outward for validation and signs of what success should look like.
Instead of looking outward, the real trick is to look within.
Success and transformation with your art, much like in life, isn't a meteoric rise to fame but a steady, often unseen, inside job.
Welcome to week 98 of the Draw or Die Newsletter for visual storytellers of all kinds….
The quiet hours of practice, the studious refinement of techniques, and the resilience to fall on your face while the trolls laugh at you from the forest.
The amazing art careers we may admire are not just flukes or miracles, but the culmination of a journey that that artist was and is on. Success can be very fleeting, even after you’ve achieved some milestone, the journey continues.
When we focus solely on external validation of our art, career, or life, we overlook the essence of growth and evolution.
Here’s the real question you should ponder….
what would you create if the world wasn’t watching?
If financial gain wasn't the end goal? You’ve probably heard that before in some way. Many artists I know can’t break through that. They don’t even move forward because they have a fear of their art or choices being judged by someone else.
Doubly, they are afraid to admit that or feel that. As if it reverse-validates the negative voices inside and out. But I want you to know it’s totally normal to feel this.
It’s human nature! I don’t buy everything I hear from gurus who say “stop worrying about what other people think!” - Clearly deep down we do care how we are perceived in the world. It’s why we wear decent clothes, or try to. It’s why I don’t wear my pajamas, or even sweat pants when I walk my dog 😂.
That’s not for anybody else though. That’s for me. I want to feel a certain way when I’m out in the world. I want to carry myself in a way I can respect myself
What did I create for YEARS when nobody was watching?
For me, it was always comics of some kind.
Storytelling of some kind.
Cartooning of some kind.
Nobody wants to wake up and feel envious of other artists. But you do. I’m involved in conversations all the time where artists are sending me posts or telling me things like "Can you believe this guy!” Or “This artist thinks they are hot shit!” (a real quote...)
It’s hard to hear yourself sometimes. Or to realize that feeling you’re having, THAT voice, is coming from a place inside of your own insecurity or self-worth.
I’m not going to tell you how to think or feel. That’s on you. My take is that, DAMN MAN, we shouldn’t be belittling ANY artist out there doing it, achieving, grinding, hustling, rising, falling… because choosing to be an artist of any kind is NOT an easy path. The odds are against you from the start.
I know all this because I went through all those feelings in the past. What did it get me but more feeling sorry for myself or complete internal misery and jadedness.
These days, I don’t judge. Or, let me rephrase that, I TRY NOT TO JUDGE…
It was only very recently in the past few years that NFT artists were getting slammed. But when I went and met some, they were just artists publishing their work on the blockchain. It’s something I still don’t fully understand, but I’m super happy for ANY artist out there feeling good or making money with their art.
You may feel some way about even reading the word NFT. Does that trigger you as an artist? “NFTs are a scam!!!” when in reality they are just digital collectibles. Just like you might not dig collecting sports trading cards, or bottle caps… but as my friend Adam says, everyone has something they collect.
Same as it ever was.
Stop looking outward, and look inward…
This week, let's challenge ourselves to detach from both the accolades and turn to the canvas of self.
Remember, the most profound changes are the ones happening within you, stroke by stroke, shade by shade.
Your craft is not just what you create, but who you become in the process.
Question of the Week:
"What would you work on if no one was looking? If money were no object?"
🔥This Week’s Drawing CHALLENGE!
We’ll pause the community comic and revisit that again soon. Many artists said thinking of a “comic” was too hard, so let’s go back to a narrative prompt for today…
“Alive in the Big City”
What’s the first thing you think of when you read that? DRAW IT OUT!
Be sure to tag #drawordieclub on the platform of your choice so we can all find each other (we’re mostly on instagram) Maybe we’ll feature your art in future livestreams and content!
✏️☠️♣️Join the DAILY DRAWING CLUB Community!!!
Help support the Draw or Die brand for $5 a month and get some nice perks including a quarterly sticker, daily prompts and more. CHECK IT OUT HERE!
On the road again for me! I’ve been in NYC all week working in HQ at VeeFriends. Gonna go enjoy the city a bit and then back to the drawing board for me!