Before there was Instagram and many of the social sites artists use today to show their work, there was DeviantArt.com.
You could find and follow great artists from all around the world! It’s still one of the most popular sites for artists online.
One thing that I always found interesting was…
When artists developed a bit of a following and accepted commissions on the site, they seemed to focus all their time and energy into doing what the commissioner wanted.
And doing what they THOUGHT would-be-commissioners would like.
I was in many conversations on this topic and most of them could be summed up to this…
“I can’t make money drawing what I really want to draw so I have to draw this other thing”.
I get it.
When I was younger I thought that way a little.
Draw what sells!
Focus on what’s hot right now!
But doing this made my insides squirm.
What is true for artists is just as true for everyone else. If I was to break it down for you, it’d sound like this…
Don’t let the outside world control your inside world.
In comics we used to call copy cat artists “hacks”. Nowadays I prefer Seth Godin’s definition of a hack, “a hack is a professional who doesn’t care.”
Seth says, “the hack has been beaten up enough times that he has emotionally disconnected. The hack has a short-term view, able to do what the client asks, without regard for how it will impact the culture or his long-term prospects.”
We all start somewhere but do the work that energizes you. The work that you are curious and passionate about. The stuff you love.
Treat other people’s opinions and desires like two day old french fries. You can consume them if you’re desperate but it’s best to leave them alone.