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Accepting Praise
Posted Jan 28, 2014 - 14:01:40

Untitled     "You're my favorite webcomic artist"

     "I love your art!"

     "That entire storyline was phenomenal"

The quotes above are all real things that people have said to me about my work in the last year. And when they say these things to me, I smile, say thanks... and have no idea how to take it. Fortunately for me (especially since I spend so many cons selling my work), I do know to just smile and say thanks. When I was younger I would probably sit there telling the person my work was actually pretty mediocre.

Why? Because I have never, in the entirety of my life, been able to process a compliment.

It's not that I think what I do is terrible. Far from it - but I'm the kind of person who describes what they do as not bad. I'll be the first to admit the issues in my art (and can go on at length about what I need to improve). I don't think I'm capable of describing my work as "good."

Now I don't want you to think I'm fishing for compliments at this point (or that I'm bragging with the quotes above). Chances are, if you're reading this, you already like my work. I mean, why else would you read my blog? True, you could be hate stalking me -- but then you already dislike me, and whatever I write here doesn't really matter.

In any case, I think this is a problem common with a lot of artists and writers I know. There are artist friends of mine whose work blows me away - but the instant you tell them it's great, they give you a five minute lecture on how terrible it is. And my message to these artists is simple: stop.

You always look at your work by your own standards, and I've always believed that the moment you're satisfied with it is the moment you stagnate. But what that means is that you're focusing on the flaws in your work, and not the good parts. A 90% perfect picture is pretty great, but the artist probably only sees the 10%. Even if you can never see anything but that 10%, when someone tells you they love the 90% -- you have to let them.

Don't deconstruct the remaining bits, just be happy someone enjoys your work. Let them love the bits they see.

Because that's sort of the whole point.
- Traegorn

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I do this all the time with my costumes. Accepting praise is difficult!

Trae Dorn
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