Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Thinking about the past

For the last year or so, I’ve been doing a lot of my digital work in black and white because of my book. So far I have 54 illustrations completed and incorporated into my layouts. I don’t know how many I’ve rejected, but it’s probably close to the same number.
When I think of illustration, I tend to think in terms of watercolor paintings or line drawings, and mine are all digital collages. I never thought I’d end up doing something like this even though I’ve been experimenting with black and white for as long as I can remember. My plan was always to become a famous painter and have a big loft in New York City.
Back in my early twenties – and after I’d done my B.A. in English – I decided that I wanted to go to art college because that had always been my dream. A friend of mine was dating a well-known Canadian artist, so I took my portfolio to him for feedback. He told me that I didn’t have the talent to be a painter and to forget about it – advice I might add that I took to heart.
Twenty-five years later I met this guy again at a party. He asked me what I’d done with my art. Thanks to him, I’d chosen to focus more on writing than art, so I was taken aback when he said he’d always thought I’d be a great illustrator.
This was a major life turning point for me. He had never said a thing to me about this originally. In fact, I was so devastated when he trashed my portfolio that I gave up the idea of going to art school full-time.
But this experience really made me think about whom we should trust with our dreams, and the importance of self-confidence. It had never occurred to me at the time that he might be wrong, or have his own twisted, personal agenda. (After all, he was a so-called artist of substance and I was just another wannabe).
That’s why I now believe that if you want to something that’s reason enough to pursue it. And give it your all no matter what anyone else thinks about your talent…including yourself!

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