Right now at this very minute, it is 6:11 in the morning. I have been sitting in my chair in front of my computer since 4:00 o’clock trying to tell you why comparing is bad.
And why haven’t I told you yet? Because I am comparing my blog to all the other writers who took the 31 day challenge, at thenester.com.
“Oh, that person actually has art lessons every day, I don’t. My challenge is not as good. Oh dear, what have I done. I told you we would make art this month. And yes we will, but I won’t have art lessons every day. Some days we will just talk about art, some days we will draw, and some days I will tell you stories. I want to quit. Please, please, please, can I just write about my dirty dishes for the rest of the month?”
I didn’t write why you shouldn’t compare because I was comparing. Silly really, the very thing I wanted to tell you not to do, I was doing myself.
Comparison is the death of joy.
― Mark Twain
Comparing is the death of joy. Mark Twain really did know what he was talking about. If I think someone does something better than me, the only joy I have is the Joy soap I wash my dishes with.
In 1979 I took a drawing class in the foundation year at The Alberta College of Art. The teacher told us to draw a glass of water. The drawing was supposed to look realistic. My drawing looked like a glass with brown mud in it. My friend, Laura Fernandez, drew a glass of water so realistic I drank from it. The teacher gave Laura an A. He gave me a C for my drawing.
Every time I tried to draw, “I thought. I can’t draw like Laura. My art is no good. Only realistic art is valuable.” I believed The Lie.
The teacher wouldn’t recommend me for the Graphic Design Program. I wanted to study Graphic Design, but applied for the Photography program instead. Four years later I graduated and moved to Japan.
The Truth is:
I am not supposed to draw like Laura. I am supposed to draw like me.
You are supposed to draw like you. Somewhere deep inside of you is a picture that only you can draw. No one else has your experience or your background. When you draw, your art will be truly yours.
Don’t draw like Billy or Mary of Fred or Harry or Tom or Gretchen or Brittany or Sally. Draw like you. [click here to tweet, tweet tweet.]
Please don’t compare. Keep joy in your art and in your kitchen sink.
Have you ever compared your art to someone else and felt bad?
Please tell me in the comments. I would love to chat.
Do you want to know something really funny? I just did a google search for articles on comparing. And I found an interesting article I forgot I had written, called, Why You shouldn’t compare yourself to other people.