The thing that I found to be a common theme is that many of you seem surprised my sketchbook is so...basic. And that's a good word for it, basic. I refer to it as my little workhorse, I don't really care how it looks, I just have at. There has been a common lament in the messages I've received saying that they didn't think their sketchbooks are impressive enough. I just want to set something straight here:
There is no "right" way to be an artist.
If you are inclined to paint grand sweeping jewels of perfection or if you just want to scribble with your ballpoint pen - its your space. Make it what you want it to be.
Let me share something private with you: its taken a long time for me to accept the title of professional artist. My mind knows I am but when I'm standing in my studio in my pajamas (that consist of a John Lennon "Imagine" t-shirt and penguin print bottoms) at three o'clock in the afternoon with paint in my hair and soy wax burning off my iron, well. It doesn't really fit the ideal picturesque definition I hold in my mind of what a professional artist is.
I guess what I'm trying to say is I get how pressure or perception can make you want to change the way you work. Don't. You do yourself a disservice. Its something I struggle with too. I'll hold the paint brush in my hand, stare at the fabric and debate my choices for the billionth time.
Maybe I should work in lighter colors, more cheerful. Maybe I should put flowers on things, people might like that better. Maybe I should...maybe...maybe...
In the end I have to argue myself out of wanting to change the most fundamental things that make my artwork mine to please some obscure ideal I've built up in my mind. You know what? No one has ever asked me to work brighter or lighter or with flowers. Not a single person. Its that stupid negative voice that wants to get in the way that tells me I should do what other people are doing rather then what my instincts tell me to.
The thing that is interesting is that these debates happen far less often now. They are still there but as soon as I feel it coming on, I squash it dead. Because I've proven time and again that staying true to myself was the right course. Holding that path helps keep the angst in check, builds confidence so that in the end you find yourself left with a sense of peace that follows you through the studio and your daily life.
Being Artist is not a simple life. But you know the saying "If it was easy, everyone would do it"? Just keep that in the back of your head the next time things feel difficult. Because we are a special breed, we know how to struggle through our insecurities and come out the other side stronger and more confident. We're stubborn enough to know that the challenges make the end result that much sweeter, that its worth every single second of doubt and debate.
We are Artist, hear us roar. ;-)