We all look for approval, as people as well as artists. We want to be told we are great, that everything will work out for us. The truth is, no one can really give us that validation.
We might get lucky and meet some peers who can give us guidance, tell us where we need to improve or tell us not to worry so much. But we all worry. And I bet you we all ask the same question: Am I good enough? Do I have what it takes to make it as a comics artist?
No one can tell you for certain, if you have what it takes. A portfolio review only tells you if you have the basic talent for drawing. What goes on inside of you is far more important. Are you willing to put in the time and effort to get to the level you want? To confront your own shortcomings and tackle them head on? Are you prepared for the insecure lifestyle of a comic book artist? The solitude? The long hours? The lack of money and lack of respect from your friends and family?
Are you ready for critizism, fair and unfair? Can you muster up the guts to consistently put yourself out there and be judged? How do you handle taking notes and being told what to do? Do you freeze up when you have to perform under less-than-optimal circumstances? How well do you work under the pressure of a deadline? Do you get anything done if there’s NO deadline, or do you end up wasting your days playing World of Warcraft? Can you forgive yourself for producing less-than-perfect art? Do you endlessly beat yourself up if you’re not productive enough, good enough or succesful enough?
What does “making it” even mean for you?
Have you set a specific and measurable goal, and if not, how will you know if you get there? And have you set a time limit for when you want to have “made it”, knowing that it will probably take years longer than you expect?
And guess what – no one has ever “made it” in comics. Because you’re only as good as your last job. Because even the artist you admire the most judge their own success in a totally different way than you do. Because no matter how succesful you are, you still strive for more. There’s always room for improvement.
All this may sound like I’m trying to get you to give up, which is not at all true. The only thing I want you to give up, is asking the wrong questions. Whether you are good enough, time will tell. Time, effort, courage, persistance.
And you know when you are “making it”?
When you are making the most of the skills you have.