Glad to see this blog flowing with wonderful and inspiring work.
Ian! Glad you stopped by, buddy! Thanks! I appreciate it!
This is so true and awesome. Love it!
You are, of course, correct.
In order to improve, first we must recognize that we are not perfect. Of course the fact of the matter is that none of us are perfect. There are ALWAYS areas in which we can improve.
I like to live under the mantra that the more I learn the more I realize I still have to learn. My only fear is that I won’t be able to learn it all in this lifetime.
We can all continue improving. This concept can be applied to any aspect of our lives. It’s not to say that we’re “bad” or “wrong”, simply that there is some way in which we could do better.
A key in this recognition that we need to improve is to not be too hard on ourselves. I’ve noticed that we all tend to be our own worst judges. Just the other day I went over to a friend’s home. His hobby is building miniature buildings and cities (like the ones in model train sets). Before me sat an unpainted, but immaculately constructed miniature model of a greenhouse. I complimented him on this, and he immediately started pointing out his flaws, stating he was unhappy with the work. At this point I told him to stop nitpicking at his creation. Although he could see areas of improvement, it was far beyond what I might be able to create.
Each and every one of us should strive to do better without tearing ourselves down in the process. It’s difficult, yes, but not impossible.
Great post as always, Stephen!
Well said, Nate! I’m going to be working on a don’t-be-hard-on-yourself essay soon.
I think this one is my favorite so far!
Love this. And I’m so glad the women are making their way into this comic.
From now on, I’ll dry myself as a lady.
Haha, dry? I’m confused…
My finger slipped.
I do love your comic strips. I was an artist until life got me down to the bottom of the rocks. I have forgotten how to wonder at the world and this comic strip has reminded me of my innocence and how much I miss it.
I’m glad! I’m sorry to hear about the hard times in your life. Keep in touch!
I know what you mean when once you achieve humility you feel proud and have to start again! The annoying thing is when I want to change how I think about things I forget what i’m doing all too soon… but this comic helps motivate me to keep trying!
Thanks for sharing, C.
I think the key is making the right thing your identity. I know not everyone would agree with me, but as a Christian I think the best place for our identities is God. Family makes a better resting place for our identity than our art does, but even family can disappoint– and what a horrible responsibility to put on your love ones– to make them the source of your self worth. But when I find the faith to believe the bible’s description of God, that he is unchangeable, eternal, and he loves me so much he died to save me– I see the perfect resting place for my identity and sense of self worth. If the creator of the universe says I am loved, who can take that away from me?
Thanks for your comment! I’d love to hear you thoughts on this.
[...] Know You Don’t Know [...]
But what if you are pursuing knowledge in something that isn’t as artsy, like in engineering and programming, where it really *is* possible to “know everything” about your craft? Do the dragons only exist in arts?
Which engineer ever said it was possible to know everything about engineering? Or programming? Both of those fields are about building things, and neither of them have been ‘finished’ yet; even if you combine the acquired knowledge of every engineer and programmer who has ever lived. The dragons exist in every walk of life, and that’s why people look for them every day. In my opinion, there are at least as many dragons in science as in art.
Great question Andrew! I suppose I would just question some of your pre-suppositions:
How do you know what you don’t know? And if you don’t know that, how can you claim to know everything?
Is there really no creativity involved in engineering and programming? They seem like vastly creative fields to me. And if creativity is involved, isn’t there naturally room for growth and learning?
I would make an analogy between a programming language and a brush– I may know every detail of the brush, but that doesn’t mean I know everything about painting. I may know everything about the grammar and syntax of a language, but that doesn’t mean I know what to say.
But then again, what do I know. Ha ha.
I’d be curious to hear your thoughts! Thanks for commenting!
The part of “For he lives in a world without dragons” made me literally shout in excitement. It was a simply brilliant metaphor.
That was very nice, ah, I want to see some dragons.
These are just wonderful, I really needed to hear a lot of the thing said in your comics. Great reminders while being uplifting!
My two favorite parts: Trees EAT sunlight! And: Humble artists are free to learn from anyone.
Thank you for creating these arts. The beauty of it is not only that is it pleasing to look at but it helps budding designers and art students like us.
To create an art like you do : an art that helps people, is a dream we all are trying to reach.
Thank you for creating..
Long live the dragons!
I should make a t-shirt out of that slogan… long live the dragons!
Do tell us if you do!
I like the way u look at things i love art used to draw lots but not as much now i wish to improve evarywher but i need some motivation and inspiration again. ^^
Your thoughts, words, and comics really help me. I think whenever I am feeling down, when I fail, when I am beating myself up unnecessarily or when I give in to insecurities and anxiety, I will visit this website and read everything you have posted. You are inspiring so many people, and you inspire me to not only be a better, more efficient, humble, confident artist, but to be more of a whole person. When bad things happen to me, or to people close to me, I cease to see the world and its wonder, and begin to see my creative self trapped by a whole encompassing fear, which stunts my growth as a human being, but somehow within the magic simplicity found in these comics I feel that can slowly heal and become free again. The most important things I have learned from your comics is the need for wonder, acceptance, and patience; they have never resonated this loudly, and deeply, for which I am eternally grateful. I will carry these lessons on my journey with every field I explore, from medicine, to art, to education reform. Thank you for your contributions, and for teaching us like we have never been taught before. Thanks for existing, and continue being awesome! Sincerely- SJM
Thanks Samantha! I really appreciate that– it’s an honor to know my comics are making a difference for people.
Loved the second to last page. My ten year old niece recently taught me how to do some basic graffiti art. It was a simple technique, but nothing i had ever learned before. It doesn’t matter who you learn from, as long as you try to learn a little something from everyone.
That’s awesome! Thanks for sharing, Matt!
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