March 30, 2013 10:36 PM



I started a new picture from scratch on livestream in an attempt to make a tutorial as requested for my fb page show of thanks and I like how it’s turning out! I’ve been struggling to find an old sketch to colour now that I finished colouring whatever I was colouring before (god I don’t even remember what it was). There are like 20 scraps I’ve done in the past years that I’ve ALWAYS been dying to finish, but idk maybe it’s cus of the time that’s passed that I’m not so into them anymore, that every time I open up one of those files, I just don’t feel right or feel the drive to start working on them. I’ve been trying to start new pieces because of that reason, but because I so purposely try to steer away from things too similar to what I’ve drawn before, it seems everything I come up with recently feels uninteresting to continue :1 So I went back to drawing the same old shit again–this is even pretty much the same as another sword and dance themed scrap a while ago but I stopped caring. I feel excited to work on it until I can share it, and I think that’s the feeling I love getting from drawing and writing stories: slaving away on something thinking aw man I can’t wait til it’s done and I can show EVERYONE or just stare at it myself like a true narcissist

I really should just stop giving a shit about variety and broadening my horizons and becoming a better artist or whatever, because right now it’s doing me more harm than good; it’s making me not want to draw and not like what I’m drawing. As long as I know I’m not avoiding things because I don’t know how to draw them, I think I’ll stick to drawing the same shit I like to draw all the time ]: there really is no point for me to have an impressive and well planned comprehensive porfolio in my pocket if I don’t feel personally involved in most of it. I’m certain I will just turn back and look at those achievements and ask myself why I wasted my time on doing that. I see motivational and professional quotes and posts all the time about the “trooper professional artist” type, how waiting for inspiration is for amateurs, how thinking outside the box and expanding yourself is good, that you should HONE YOURSELF, prepare and refine yourself, train yourself to be a master. Logically I completely agree, I encourage people to do this, and I admire those who can do this, those whose pursuit is in art itself rather than a narrow topic or theme/interest. But like everything, it can’t just be taken  and applied to every single person because, hey, I don’t want to be a great artist. I just want to have the tools to make what I enjoy possible; the ability to draw allows me to bring into existence what I want to see without paying others to draw it for me, and that’s it. same for music. I will certainly want to improve, but the mindset in that desire to improve is completely different from an artist hard at work towards enlightenment. Still, every time I see those posts I feel like a guilty criminal because it feels like I chose to be ignorant and shallow despite knowing I made a carefully thought out choice. I’ve developed such an indulgent personality because of my drawing/piano playing pursuits, but maybe I should just embrace it and actually let that help make whatever I create more compelling, than to second guess myself every couple of months about my ~artistic direction~

OK SORRY FOR THE INTERNAL BATTLE MADE EXTERNAL I have so much guilt piled up about what I choose to draw and this is probably the 10th time I talked about this idek. pls have a bach chaconne


  • There is the cliche "Jack of all Trades, Master of None, " and in many cases I believe this occurs with most of us because the sheer requirement for practice to actually "Master all" is … a very very long time.

    I share your sentiment, about wishing to pursue the world with the tools you have in your hand. I think it's a perfectly fine idea. I would compare it to the following 2 types of people (there are more, but I'm just taking the extremes)

    People who wish to live a happy and content lifestyle of running a small local coffee shop. They do not have interest in expanding because to grow bigger, would mean they would sacrifice the love of their trade.

    People who are out to change the world of coffee. Ambitious, and they need to know everything, if they want to make a breakthrough in the industry to make it better!

    Honestly, your work is great and beautiful already. I won't discourage you to look at avenues of new skills and techniques, but don't think on it as a necessity for future success, but perhaps as an aid for future growth.

  • A.Hormell

    Dun worry Shilin, I have the same internal battle with myself a lot of times.
    I can kinda understand everyone else's point about needing to hone and perfect the skill, etc etc, but I just dun feel like I should become so robotic in the craft. You know what I mean? I totally give props to anyone who can sit there every single day and be a good little soldier about improving their art and drawing without inspiration and so on and so forth, but it's not for me.
    Honestly, I feel that if I dun draw when inspired and REALLY feeling the power of my talent, all my art comes out looking like shit. So I'm not very pleased with it and usually end up throwing my hands in the air quitting and trashing whatever I drew. So it doesn't feel productive to me when trying to draw without really wanting or feeling the need to draw my best.
    Besides, even if its the same kind of stuff (i.e. a sword fight/dance against a dark background) it makes us, an an artist, happy to do whatever it is we can, and in the end we feel happier for doing what we love instead of doing the things we feel the need to do to make others happy.

  • Helios

    I like how you acknowledge popular opinions about art and give us your take on them. A lot of us think about it, too and it's nice to know that someone who has already made a path in art shares our concerns. But you already seem to know what works for you and what doesn't, so don't question yourself too much? idek…

    Veloce & Blackbird tango/dancing/fighting?? Yes. I can get on board with this. What an encouraging way to teach us, Shilin!

  • "…right now it’s doing me more harm than good; it’s making me not want to draw and not like what I’m drawing… there really is no point for me to have an impressive and well planned comprehensive porfolio in my pocket if I don’t feel personally involved in most of it."

    This is me right about now. I have a year left in art school. I love my life drawing/ observational drawing classes but my illustration classes I hate. Subject matter is always something I don't care for like "draw your own personal lepreacon' or yet another editorial piece or advertisement for a product (that is not games or shows, or any geeky things). Yet they don't help me on things like character acting, expressions and forshortening. I'm ready to just work on my own stuff and work in the style I like (old school shoujo) instead of the flat color and texture overlay look that is popular with illustrators now.

  • Oh, glad I'm not the only one struggling with this problem. I mean, part of me wants to grow as an artist so I can draw things I want more easily… but I felt such a pressure to follow a "right path" for so long I am not sure anymore what I even want to draw…

  • snailmz

    first of all, an appreciation post: thank you so much shilin for taking your time to do a tutorial regardless your packed schedule :,)
    and regarding your art frustration, im not sure if this would help (or it might end up as just random blabbers) but the thing about art is that its a very open subject. so sometimes its best not to think so much about it and maybe it might help you see a whole different perspective on it.

  • auriee

    Don't worry about it! We'll take whatever you throw at us. I guess in your mind you may be repeating a lot of aspects but to us that's just your style. And we like that. c: