Stepping Out of a Box

It's really hard to look at the work of people better than you. For example, I found an artist on DeviantArt. Her username is Zarnala, (look at her page here). After flipping through her gallery, I was starstruck...which quickly faded into a case of the blues after looking through my own sketchbook. "How on earth will I ever be that good with anatomy, color and design? I don't have creative skills like that! Why should I even try to get an internship or job somewhere noteworthy when this skill is out there?" I thought to myself. This sort of thing usually happens to me when I browse through Tumblr or DeviantArt, or when I find a new webcomic. In fact, it happens so often, that I rarely surf the net like that any longer. 

But, the other day, I did. And I found Zarnala's page on DeviantArt. In my blues-stricken state that occurred after paging through her gallery, I vowed to never draw again, which of course is silly, because I drew a few things today during classes. And you know what happened? I drew something that has gotten me closer to a particular design for a particular character than I had ever gotten before. Further more, it feels like I've tapped into a vein of some sort of freedom that I haven't felt in a long while. It may not be the free creativity that I see in the drawings of people with talent like Zarnala, but it seems to be more than I've had in a while. 

My point is, looking at things that exceed your own is good for you. It may not be fun at times, but it helps you grow mentally. It puts new ideas and thoughts into your head, and then your own brain takes those in different directions. You don't end up copying the original artist like you feared. Instead, you have given yourself permission to take risks with your drawings, and you create something or improve something. You see and learn how other artists simplify, or deal with problems that you have with color, or perspective, or drawing hands, or whatever. So, you know what? I think I'll start looking at more art. Being in a box never helps; you can't create something out of nothing, which is what I've tried to do in the past, fooling myself into thinking its more "original" that way. That thought process is faulty, and its time I've stepped out of it. 

I'd love to feature more artists here, so maybe that will be a goal of mine: to feature a new artist at least every month.