Saturday, January 8, 2011
The Artist In Me
I don't know if you can see it but that little boy has an artist trying to find it's way out. My parents should have known when I took apart my brand new transistor radio. My sisters should have known when I removed their barbie doll heads - it wasn't that I took pleasure in the removal of the heads. It was seeing how many different reactions I could create in their emotions. By the time my motor skills really developed I painted my masterpiece - Three barbie dolls owned by three different sisters all coming off at the same time. Magnifique!
Without boring you with all the details I had a pretty typical American exposure to art in junior high and high school. I was always pretty good but there were always those who were much better.
Making it into college was a challenge - I really didn't fit in the one size is supposed to fit all public school system. I had quite a bit of trouble with reading comprehension, science and history always netted below average grades and forget about math...that left art and music...the only two bright spots on my report card.
On the other hand the little girl in the picture was destined for academic honors...if you look close you can see that she knows it too. :) (Love you Beth- look what she does!)
So on to college and more bad grades in english, history, science, and math - what's new right? Art on the other hand was still keeping me in the game with my grades. Kind of like adding base to acid. (I did remember that from science class)
Then...upon applying for the BFA at BYU I distinctly remember hearing the earth crack as I was barely allowed in on probation. PROBATION???!!! in art??? but I'm supposed to be good at art - at least that's what everyone had been telling me. How could this be? If not art then what?
I finally had to come to terms with the fact that my past effort had taken me as far as I could coast. It was time to admit that I wasn't the savant I thought I was. That I had to get to work - that I had to humble myself and start listening and learning from my teachers - mainly Richard Hull and Bob Barrett - also Rob Colvin. If not for them I wouldn't be able to enjoy a successful illustration career. (Ironically I was later hired to teach part time at BYU by Richard Hull)
One of the reasons I wanted to release my "How To Illustrate Children's Books" video series is to help others learn those very important principles that can be the difference between success and failure. I know how frustrating it is to wallow in depression when a piece doesn't work out....when you spend a lot of time on an image and you wish you had never started it. I know what it's like to try to talk yourself into liking your own work. And I know what it feels like when you show a new piece to someone and their facial expressions just can't lie as good as their lips....and how when you work and re-work a piece and re-work it some more you want to smash it and scream. Been there. I'll admit it I've shed real tears over my art and I don't cry very often...although "Driving Miss Daisey" gets me every time.
I wanted to post this as encouragement to my fellow artists - and leave you with this: I've realized that all those frustrations, emotions, disappointments and tears have led to one happy camper. I love my job. :)