You’re Gonna Suck (sorry)

So, you want to learn to draw or paint, but you’re afraid you’ll suck.

Well… you will

You’ll suck and be terrible and it’ll feel uncomfortable and weird… in the beginning.

Be like Pixar and you’ll pull through.

It’s not a lack of talent that makes you sucky bad at your new art endeavour – it’s simply a lack of practice. Everything we begin at first feels awkward and foreign and sometimes overwhelming. If we want it bad enough, we persevere.

Learn to Ride a Bike Again

When I was 6 I learned to ride a 2 wheeler. Thankfully on the grass in the backyard because I fell.

A lot.

I tottered and spilled and sprawled and wiped out and even ran into the clothes post and knocked myself in the head. But I got up and back into the seat every time because the freedom of riding a two wheeler was worth any amount of awkward, painful failures.

As kids, failure while we learned was no big deal.

We failed every day at something, but we kept at it because we were a little bit better than the day before.

Plus, we hadn’t learned yet that failure was bad or embarrassing because all the kids around us failed daily too. And no one was hiding behind shiny veneers of perfection; we all failed miserably together in plain sight.


We all Fail. Stay focused
on your progress.


Every Failure is One More Step to Success

No one picks up a paint brush and creates gorgeous, fully realized art on the their first try… or their second or third (but by then you’re at least feeling more comfortable).
As a painful example – here’s my very first comic:

Um... EW.

Please compare with one of my later comics.

Not even experts in their field started out great, nor do they continue to work in their expertise without failing… and failing AGAIN and AGAIN.

  • Michael Jordan didn’t make his varsity basketball team. He wasn’t good enough. Huh.
    (So he joined the Junior Varsity and practiced and improved his skills.)
  • a href=”” target=”_blank”>Post it Notes started as spectacular glue fail. Seriously.
  • Dr. Seuss’ manuscript for his first kids book was rejected 35 times.
  • J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter was rejected 12 times.
    (and you know what happened to them.)

To be like Pixar, you need to continue working and improving and drawing and painting, and drawing and painting for 12 years …and you’ll only really fail if you stop.


You only truly fail if you


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Discussion (8) ¬

    Sophie says:

    Hey, no “ew” allowed! I think your first comic is great too… sure, it’s different than your later example, but I bet many people would consider it an accomplishment to draw something as nice as the first one – love the sorta pained, hopeful expression in the last panel! 🙂

    Lezley says:

    Thanks Sophie – that’s very generous of you. 😛

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