A Terrible Wonder

October 28, 2009
By Kirstie Guerette BRONZE, Clinton, Connecticut
Kirstie Guerette BRONZE, Clinton, Connecticut
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

How could something so beautiful, so amazing, involving so much time and effort, fill me with so much hatred? Art is such a wonderful thing, and it is so devastating that the one thing that made me the happiest, was also the one thing that made me feel the very worst. Every day, another much better artist created a new perfect, flawless, picture. And every day, my hopes would shatter, and my self-confidence would slither deeper and deeper down the drain. Compared to their masterpieces, my work seemed like nothing more than upgraded ‘free-time doodles’. No matter where I looked, or where I went, there was always someone doing what I could only dream of doing. When I was in the middle of art class, or even when I was just simply browsing the internet, someone else’s astounding piece was always sitting in front of me mocking me. Many of my older pieces dealt with drawing, in my own style, something of someone else’s; whether it be a television character I liked or a creature I enjoyed from a film. Among artists, the term for this is “fan art”. Drawing fan art means it is inevitable that there is someone else out there drawing the same subject. For a moment, I would be genuinely proud of my piece; of course, until I found another artists’ depiction of it. Though it was the same general subject, theirs would always be superior to mine, with more detail, a more interesting pose, and a high-quality background. Never was I the top dog, but always a few steps behind. I felt as though I just had to be the best, or else there was no point; I should just give up. What was the meaning of doing something if I could not pull myself above everybody else?

Having been shown up by greater artists again and again over time, I began to lose hope in myself, giving up on what I loved most; drawing. Ever since I can remember, I have been drawing constantly; I drew wherever and whenever I could, and I still do. Often times, while everybody else was texting their friends or writing letters during class lectures, I found myself drawing; sometimes little cartoony doodles, sometimes designing original characters of my own. Actually, one of my favorite creations, a tribal species of anthropomorphic cat creatures, was created at the most random of times; in the midst of a Health class discussion. It didn’t matter where I drew, it only mattered that I kept doing it. My passion for art was strong, but my jealousy of others was stronger, and eventually clouded over what I was once so dedicated to. I would go for weeks without drawing even a single new piece, just because I had no confidence in what I could do. Rather than spending my time creatively, I simply sat around and moped about what I would never be. Apparently, my fading adoration for art was quite noticeable, and it actually provoked my mother and her boyfriend to address me one day with a simple, but very striking question; “Do you draw anymore?” This simple question was a revelation for me. Did I really let go of my artwork that much, simply because a few people were better than me? How could I have been so dumb!? As my mother explained, no one is the best at anything; there is always someone out there who surpasses you. But even so, working hard at what you do will indeed come with improvement, and someday you might even find that you yourself are outdoing those you once envied. Practice and devotion is the key. From that moment on, I let go of all my hatred for those that I envied, and rather, I spent my time doing what I loved. Not only did I have fun with it, though I was healthily improving at my own pace.

I used to be terribly jealous of those in my class who could work with traditional artistic media, such as colored pencils and paint. I was more of a digital artist, and I did most of my work on the computer, so due to my lack of practice in the traditional area, my work in class seemed like nothing compared to theirs. Along with that, these other students drew amazingly detailed, realistic pictures, whereas I was very into drawing animation and cartoons. Their detailed styles seemed to overpower whatever I drew. But nowadays, rather than drowning myself in jealousy, I appreciate other artists for their skill and their personal styles. I started to expand my horizons; instead of envying them, I asked “Why don’t I take a shot at it too?” Watching all of the other kids in class work magic with their paints and pencils, I decided that I should try to do a few pieces traditionally as well, along with adding a bit more detail. In the end, I am very glad I gave those different types of art a try too; lately, colored pencils, a traditional tool, have been some of my favorite art tools, not to mention that practicing adding detail has given my art a whole new, very interesting look. After only a short period of practice, I found myself already catching up to the artists I had looked up to before. Though I am getting close, it is very unlikely that I will ever be better than them… And you know what? That’s okay! After all, life is about being the best that I myself can be, not trying to reign over everybody else.

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