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That’s great, Stephen! Very encouraging and a good reminder to focus on the small steps. I think we all make the mistake sometimes of looking at other people’s super cool accomplishments and assuming it all happened overnight.
Ha ha, I think I’ve looked at your work like that before Sarah– it’s cool to know you struggle with the same thing.
greta article Stephen! And reminded me of the things we’ve been talking about.
Awesomeness. This principle is crucial.
Thanks shaun! Good hearing from you.
awesome stuff. these are so cool and so inspiring. Appreciate it!!!
Hi, thank you for clarify this whit a comic stripe… now im in this strange path to descover what I really want to do…and is taking me a year of time to start to know that…
This was so encouraging to me. I frequently come back to trying to draw and get disheartened quickly from comparing my efforts to work I admire. Then I give up for a while and tell myself maybe I just don’t have the right skills for drawing or designing. This is a great reminder to just keep at it and even if the “bricks” are a bit crumbly and rubbish to start with, they’re still bricks and can only get better. Thanks for giving me a bit of motivation, I really enjoyed reading these comics so far, keep it up! Thank you, Anne
I’m really glad! Thanks for the nice comment.
It’s like when a baby learns how to walk– the truth is, it really sucks at walking. But we don’t make fun of the baby for falling so much. We don’t compare the baby to kids who can walk. It’s just a baby! And so are we, when we first try something. It is a very natural thing to “fall” and to fail when we first try to do something.
Keep it up!
Thanks so much for this comic Steve! This is so relevant for so many things. I’m working on my Master’s Thesis right now, and I’m working in an area that has relatively little scholarship so that my idea is new and interesting, but there is just enough scholarship that I frequently end up comparing myself to these Herculean academics who are “so much more brilliant than me and I’ll never be that smart and know that much and make such clever arguments!” when really they’ve just been working in their fields for 20 years longer than I have. It’s nice to be reminded of this every so often, so that I can now continue laying the bricks
I’m glad! Thanks for being here!
I’ve been on a real downer with my art lately- I’d love to be concept artist but couldn’t ever see myself being employed as one.
This comic has really given me some hope and motivation back. And if ever I feel discouraged again, you can be sure I’ll be back to read through this for inspiration.
Thanks very much for the encouragement and the motivation!
Aw– thanks for letting me know that– I with you the best in you pursuits!
Hey Stephen, thanks so much for your art! It really means a lot to me, this concept about building something brick by brick.
I have many large goals which I really want to accomplish, but I often look towards the immediate results(which discourages me), and forget this crucial principle about building things a little bit at a time.
So I guess I would say it again, thanks for the reminder!
I really do love your art and the message it conveys, so keep the good work up!
Awesome! David Ramsey’s recent book Entreleadership goes over this in his chapter on Goals. It was a paradigm shift for me.
Your cartoon illustrates it nicely.
I didn’t think I’d stumble upon such an inspiring message today. And yet, it speaks only the truth.
It reminds me that I spend more time on my project. I’m already proud of my work ’til now, but I’ll be even more once I’m done and get to share it.
Really inspiring stuff. I love your perspective. This article really increased my hope and confidence towards achieving BIG DREAMS or GOALS! Thanks for taking the time to share your wisdom, its much appreciated.
Your picture blog here is very inspiring and this one in particular has put a great big smile on my face, I’m sure whenever I’m feeling down about my artwork or any big goal for that matter I will most definitely look back on this blog and regain some of my enthusiasm! Thanks a bunch keep up the great work here and in your comic career doing Mal&Chad!
Thank you! I’m glad.
This story reminds me of the true story I heard actor Will Smith tell in an interview.
Will’s father,wanting to teach his boys a tangible lesson about goal setting, took Will and his brother to a wall that he had demolished and ordered them to rebuild it. Will’s dad gave him and his brother no interactions on how to re build the wall, nor did he supply the materials. It was left to them to rebuild it on their own.it took a year to complete the project, but the two brothers successfully completed the task alone, and as a result learned valuable lessons in resourcefulness, persistence, ingenuity, and working progressively towards a goal. Smith credits this as one of his greatest accomplishments.
Art is not question of skill. It is the human way to do things with heart.
Aww. This is very inspiring! Thank you very much for this! And, nice art
Ahh This is so true! Very encouraging, inspiring, and makes so much sense. Thank you for this!! ♥ I needed that
Yay! I’m glad!
… I really needed to read this. Thank you.
Thank you for this…
You saw this sentence many times before, but this little story is VERY inspiring… When I usually just hide in the corner – there are SO much more greater people than I am, that can create WAY better things… I simply want to die sometimes, because I feel useless.
But then I saw this. Simple little idea. Just small steps. We shouldn’t be afraid to make them… Because it’s PRECISELY it, what leads us to those greater people…
Thank you again you made me to let myself try one more time
omg again! that’s me, looking at the picture that came out into the world, vs the one that was in my head. lol!
have you seen… man, i can’t remember where i saw it, on someone’s blog… i can’t find it. it was a graph, showing how your visual acuity as an artist evolves vs how your manual skill in creating art progresses. and where the two lines overlap, that’s when you feel you are at the top of your game, and where the vision gets ahead of the skill, that’s the periods where you feel you suck. but the point of the graph is, it’s a cycle. so if you feel you suck now, it will get better.
anyway, this one reminded me of that, too.
Your comics are deeply inspiring and moving. Thank you so much for them!
I’d love a print of this. I’m imagining it exactly as it’s laid out here—as vertical panels. Any chance of you selling those?
I would love for this to end with him making a second picture better than his first.
[...] http://doodlealley.com/2011/10/19/brick-by-brick/ [...]
Thank you for this! I’m just in the start point of that road and feeling very small. Now I have hope again. PS: Sorry for the english, not native language.
[...] the roadblocks life — and your own brain — throw at you. I'm always looking for new ways to lifehack my own habits and ways of thinking to improve my art, and personal outlook on life, and this site looks like [...]
I must say these little comics are really inspirational.
I feel like your in my head >< Its so hard not to put ourselves down at times. I'm well known for this. Thanks for the inspiring words. If only I can pain the walls over my art station with stuff like this.
Thank you so much for this blog. Just an immense amount of gratitude here. Your comics have pulled me out of creative funks twice now, and always seem to be exactly what I need to hear to get going again. I want to say they’re inspiring, but I find a lot of things inspiring that don’t result in action. These are motivating, effective. And lovely to boot. So, thanks.
My pleasure! You’re quite welcome– thanks for the encouraging note!
I loved this. Very inspiring.
[...] don’t consider themselves a creative person, but anyway. I immediately connected with this essay, Brick by Brick, and felt as if he was bringing to the page all sorts of things I’d thought and felt before [...]
… I think there might be a typo on the fourth panel. Page? I keep coming back to this chapter because I think I’m still not ready to start setting goals. Hopefully one day soon!
I’d recommend making your goals as small as possible. Like, make a goal that you could accomplish in 25 minutes. Btw, what’s the typo?
Oh, wait, got it. Thanks!
[...] Brick by Brick. Like this:Like Loading… Published: December 2, 2013 Filed Under: [...]
¡So true! Every big thing needs time to buid, fail, learn, grow in the meantime…
What I love about what you post is that it can be applied to so many things in our lives. We seem to have this sad thing where our nature is to forget, we forget details, hows, whys, even the beauty around us. I’m glad there are people like you around who still notice and can remind others. So thanks, you made my day. <3
This reminded me of a poem I wrote a number of years ago – I hope you don’t mind me sharing it here.
The Great Wall of China.
From space you can see it
it’s really that huge,
a structure of cosmic dimensions,
and yet it was built long before JCB
or other earth moving pretensions.
These days we may feel
we cannot make change
with mankind pitted brother’gainst brother.
But the Great Wall of China
shows what we can do
by just putting one brick on another.
Neat, thanks for sharing!
I loved your idea of expression with lucid pictures. The principle of ‘brick by brick’ needs a clear idea of their placement too. Doing small bits every day add up only if they are placed in an order. I believe master artists know where to place their bricks
Thanks for sharing, I am subscribing to your website right away.
That’s a really key distinction! I’ve been thinking about that too lately as I try to figure out the best way to practice drawing.
This is incredibly encouraging. Thank you!
[...] Yep, I'm going to second Ne's comments- sharing our rough times and being raw and personal and honest, that's what these forums are for. If you can't do it here, where can you? This is an online support community– that's what it's for, Accel! So, I'd say there is a difference between sharing raw, tough stuff and "whining like a pansy". Put those thoughts out of your mind. As drunks, we've all got enough shame and guilt in our lives (often, far too much of it) and there's no reason to feel it over sharing stuff here. Furthermoe, talking about moments, days, thoughts of weakness is actually a sign of strength and confidence, yes for us men too. I firmly believe that shit. Also, Accel, I'd say you're right, that it is difficult for you, (or anyone in similar new-sobriety, new-bac) to see things clearly as they are, because things can be so tinted grey. Yes, have trust and faith that if this process is working for others a little farther along, it will work for you too. Just hold on for a while, friend, and rock those AF days as much as you can. I ran across this very cool expression of artistic endeavors, and it can be very applied to what we're trying to do here- the "masterwork of art" could be seen as the end result we're looking for, to not be slaves to alcohol. And the "brick by brick" is each day we live AF and healthier than the day before. Read it with that perspective- Brick by Brick | Doodle Alley [...]
Thank you: this was what I was needing today!
Have a good day,
[…] could be seen as our end goal of not being slave to alcohol- read it with that perspective… Brick by Brick | Doodle Alley Thanks to everyone for the kind supportive words over the last couple days! Hitting triple digits […]
[…] I wanted to share what Skull wrote in the sober February thread on the occasion of his 100th day sober. The comic is great: This would seem overwhelming to me but it really is a matter of baby steps. One foot in front of the other. I found this cool comic strip that reminds me of the journey well- I like to re-read it when I need reminding of this. The "artistic mastery" could be seen as our end goal of not being slave to alcohol- read it with that perspective… Brick by Brick | Doodle Alley […]
[…] often talk about here on Skinny Artist. Things like dealing with creative failure, not getting overly discouraged, and the importance of separating your personal identity from your creative work. Perhaps […]
How do you know your tower of accomplishment is made out of the kinda bricks you can make? Iffy way to follow the analogy I know but what do you do when you don’t know the path you need to reach your goals? Or any milestone on the way? All you do is the end goal but nothing in between and nobody you ask from knows any better either?
I’m not sure if I can answer that unfortunately. There are some dreams and desires we have that we don’t have the power to make happen– it’s entirely at the whim of random forces or other people. It’s hard to have those kind of desires– but, I don’t know– it’s not wrong to have them. Hopes are good, as long as they don’t become a burden.
I keep referring back to this and quoting and forwarding it to anyone and everyone!! Really one of the best messages for artists ever. We all struggle to really live it, but by golly I do try every day.
It also reminds me of my favorite quote by Samuel Beckett ‘No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.’ I think ‘failing better’ or ‘failing up’, as some people call it, is the key to any long-term success. Also reminiscent of Ira Glass and his wonderful talk on the subject – “Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
Great quote! I also love the phrase “failing up.” That’s really helpful!
can i translate this into my leanguage, because some of my friend can’t understand english, even my grammar is still terible -_- right?, but still i wanna show them your comics
You can translate it, as long as you send me a link when you post it!
[…] Jane- I relate to this in a big way. Learning to grow up and act like an adult is really challenging sometimes, and I often am struck by just how much I was in a state of arrested development all through my alcoholic life. The upside is that, as we take tasks on, get our life in order in a responsible way, it starts to feel good. Accomplishments begin to accumulate and it feels good to see the "finished" column on our To Do lists begin to get fuller. It comes with a sense of pride and self-sufficiency that feels really good. Not that every moment of every day goes in the "win" column, that's for sure, but baby steps accumulate over time, which is nice. I always like to refer back to this comic, which illustrates it nicely. It can apply to really any goal- getting sober, taking responsibility, getting our lives together. Brick by Brick | Doodle Alley […]
[…] 1. Everyone fails. Those who are currently at the top have failed more times than you have even tried. […]
I’m not an artist, I’m a writer. I’ve always wanted to be an artist, so instead I’ve always painted my pictures with words. What I love about your work is that it can be applied to so many parts of life. Not just art, or something creative. It can be applied to anything really. You have such a wide range of people you can reach. It’s really fantastic. I love your work, it’s always the pick me up I need.
Thanks! Nice to hear from you!
I stumbled across your site almost by accident today and I LOVE IT. Seriously, I could genuinely be called “adoring, slavering groupie #215″, after only one day.
Your work is so applicable across so many areas of life – and not just for artists, but whatever area anyone is in. I’m trying to figure out how best to share this site, and with whom.
Thank you. I hope you continue to make new doodles for a long time to come. Now, off to read some more of your work.
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