Be Friends with Failure

October 10, 2012

Sources cited! I discovered the baby concept on– a blog devoted to language acquisition. Check it out!


Would you like to have this comic as a 18 by 24 inch poster? CLICK HERE! Put it on your wall to remind yourself that it’s a healthy and natural thing to make mistakes.

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506 Responses to Be Friends with Failure

  1. ewon on October 10, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Sir, I just wanted to let you know that your comics are profound. Keep doing what you do. :)

    • stephen on October 11, 2012 at 2:53 pm

      Will do– thanks!

      • Allan Levine on November 27, 2013 at 4:34 pm

        Excellent stuff.

      • Sean Emerson on November 27, 2013 at 7:50 pm

        To the creator of this comic : You rock.

        • stephen on December 2, 2013 at 8:04 pm


      • abysss on December 5, 2013 at 3:14 am

        True story… this is exactly how it goes, I guess for most of us :)

        • abysss on December 5, 2013 at 3:15 am

          Oh and also wanted to say this is genious! I liked it very much.

          • Gwynn on January 2, 2014 at 10:46 pm

            To the artist: Bravo! This is human nature unmasked in the simplest yet most thought-provoking way. I’d definitely love to see what else you come up with, your great art is definitely great and it has encouraged me to push my not-so-great art even further.

    • Denise on November 28, 2013 at 8:04 pm

      Love this, thank you

    • Anson on November 29, 2013 at 12:23 am

      very inspiring. I like it?

      • Keith on December 13, 2013 at 4:03 pm

        Yes, you do.

    • Deb on December 1, 2013 at 6:06 pm

      Koo-dos to you and all the people you have helped persevere with this post

    • Deb on December 1, 2013 at 6:09 pm

      Koo-dos to you for all the people you have helped persevere with this post

    • jebs on December 1, 2013 at 7:52 pm

      Thank you, kind writer.

    • Melissa on December 3, 2013 at 4:01 pm

      Every school kid needs to see this…

      • Beth on December 6, 2013 at 11:52 pm

        And home-schooler and music student and TEACHER and MOTHER and FATHER.

        A child has the right to be wrong. A lot.

    • taiki on December 4, 2013 at 1:36 pm

      very inspirational. thank you for this wonderful comics.

    • Judy on December 4, 2013 at 5:01 pm

      I really like this-it certainly makes you think!

    • Marshall Vandruff on December 9, 2013 at 5:33 pm

      Dear Stephen McCranie,
      Everyone in the world should read this.
      Thanks for illustrating a nurturing truth!

    • Ron Volstad on December 9, 2013 at 11:16 pm

      I have been a full time, self taught illustrator for more than 30 years and your message rings as true as anything I’ve heard before. Thanks for your enlightening work.

    • Dan on December 10, 2013 at 5:20 pm

      Hey..great comic.. I was doodling — which was expanding into something better than a doodle — at work the other day, when someone said ‘Wow, that’s really good!’ I thanked them, and they said ‘I wish I could draw like that!’ I said…’Start now. Draw anything. It’s not going to be good the first time unless you’re a genius…Then do that for as long as you love it. And then you’ll be ‘good”

      But I still don’t think I’m good enough yet. (I’ve even been published! I’ve even had books with my art in them sold in stores!) And I’m still thinking — I could be SO much better.

      Hopefully that’s true. But of all the things said about failure here, I’d only add that my embracing of failing came when I started loving my eraser more than my nib. :)

      • stephen on December 11, 2013 at 5:14 pm

        Yep! I’ve been published too and still feel overwhelmed by what I have left to learn– but that’s a good thing I suppose– it’d be boring if I mastered it too easily.

    • Casey on December 12, 2013 at 7:04 am

      Thank you so much. I am a writer not an artist but I often forget that it takes failures to succeed otherwise everyone would be doing it and it wouldn’t be special or personal.

    • gaile on December 15, 2013 at 1:58 pm

      This is awesome. Lifted my spirit. Keep it up!

    • Linda A. Burns on December 18, 2013 at 10:42 pm

      I’m going to start painting in water color January 2014. I know that it wiki take time to learn things I must learn to be a better painter! I just want to paint like I see and feel within me,to people I know and love! The beauty of the world that God , has made for us!!!

      • stephen on December 19, 2013 at 6:13 pm

        @Linda That’s exciting! I’d recommend starting now! Do something small! There’s nothing special about a new year. If you’re looking for a clean slate, the clean slate will get dirty pretty fast– it’s impossible to have a perfect record for an entire year. Better to have a messy record, but keep going anyway.

    • Kate O'Connor on July 31, 2014 at 8:15 pm

      This is awesome!! Thanks for the reminder!!

  2. Mikale on October 10, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    Excellent comic. Love the part about the fridge!

    • stephen on October 11, 2012 at 2:53 pm

      Thanks mikale!

  3. Skyli on October 10, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    I agree with Ewon. Your comics are an inspiration. <3

    • stephen on October 11, 2012 at 2:53 pm

      Thanks Skyli!

  4. Jayshr on October 10, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    I swear, every time I’m feeling down about my artwork your comics help me to feel better! Thank you so much!

    • stephen on October 11, 2012 at 2:53 pm

      I’m glad you’re here! No prob!

  5. Draconis on October 10, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    Encouragment is the arch nemesis of failure.

    Thanks for making that

    • stephen on October 11, 2012 at 2:53 pm

      no probs! :)

  6. Vince on October 10, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    This should be a required hand-out in every grade-school, middle-school and high-school in the world. Nice job! -v

    • stephen on October 11, 2012 at 2:52 pm

      Ha ha– I’ll look into that. thanks vince!

      • Jack on November 21, 2013 at 5:03 am

        And every corporate employee. And everyone who has a dream to do something creative, but allows the inner voice to convince them it will never be good enough.

        Thank you for your work.

  7. Kye on October 10, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Ach! So great & something every artist needs to remember, more often than they’d like, no doubt!

    • stephen on October 11, 2012 at 2:51 pm

      Yeah– something I need to remember. That’s for stopping by, Kye!

  8. alicia padron on October 10, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    This is truly wonderful…

    • stephen on October 11, 2012 at 2:50 pm

      Thanks Alicia!

  9. Lidija (celandinestern) on October 10, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    absolutely awesome. Like Beckett said – “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

    • stephen on October 11, 2012 at 2:50 pm

      Yep! You got it!

  10. Lee on October 10, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    Beautiful as usual S! Love the baby slap!

    • stephen on October 11, 2012 at 2:50 pm

      Tee hee, thanks Lee!

  11. daniela on October 10, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    it feels like poetry…

    • stephen on October 11, 2012 at 2:49 pm

      :D thanks!

  12. Akryl on October 10, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    True… very true. Actually, when I think about that “oppressive critic within”, only thing that comes to my mind is “Censor” as called in “the Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. And the more similarities like this I find in places that don’t have too much in common with each other, the more I think it’s actually right…
    Thank you!

    • stephen on October 11, 2012 at 2:49 pm

      wow, I should read that book– thanks!

      • Abby on November 23, 2013 at 11:07 am

        yes, The Artist’s Way is an amazing book. Definitely worth a read…and a re-read… :)

  13. Najela on October 11, 2012 at 1:44 am

    I’m not an artist by any means, but I’m a writer and I love how true to life these are for any creative profession. I just started making the transition from working most of the time to writing most of the time, and these posts are so inspirational and they are really helping me to keep pressing forward.

    • stephen on October 11, 2012 at 2:49 pm

      Wow! Good luck with that! Let me know how that goes!

    • Renate on November 22, 2013 at 10:26 pm

      I thought a writer was an artist that works with words; painters work with paints, quilters work with fabric, musicians work with music…seems to me you fit the “artist” type.

      • stephen on November 25, 2013 at 5:11 pm

        Yeah, I guess we’re all artists in a some way…

  14. Taka on October 11, 2012 at 8:36 am

    Actually…. I’m a quite pessimist girl…. Just looking at someone’s art than way much better makes me hate myself….
    You gives me a really important lesson for me….
    Thank you. :3

    • stephen on October 11, 2012 at 2:40 pm

      I know how you feel– I slip into that all the time when I’m trying to study someone’s work.

  15. dachan on October 11, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    thank you , really really thank you …

    • stephen on October 11, 2012 at 2:39 pm

      : )

  16. Eric Goetz on October 11, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    I just saw this show up in the FB feed of a fellow composer friend. Wow, what a terrific blog! Thanks so much for this and keep it up! My motto has been “fail as big as possible”.

    • stephen on October 11, 2012 at 2:52 pm

      Great motto!

  17. Cathy on October 11, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Humans tend to be really down on themselves. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • stephen on October 12, 2012 at 4:36 pm

      No prob!

  18. Katie K. on October 11, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    This is so relevant to me right now! My favorite page is the fifth one. I think some people don’t realize that even if an artist posts work with the disclaimer “these sketches are crap lol sorry,” they don’t really mean that. They choose which work to share, and it’s unlikely that they show failed attempts. So when we’re comparing ourselves to others (not that we should, but hey, we do), we have a somewhat idealized impression of the artists we admire–which means it’s an even BIGGER disappointment. (Sorry; I tend to ramble!)

    Also, I really appreciate the baby metaphor. I hadn’t thought of it that way and it makes so much sense. I need to be nicer to myself!

    Thanks again, Stephen! I will continue to harass you until you put these in a book or make prints available… :)

    • stephen on October 12, 2012 at 4:38 pm

      Thanks Katie! Good comments–

      I think that especially on the internet where social media always pushes great artwork to the top of the pile, it can create the illusion that every one else is great– but the truth is most artists are still on the same path as we are, honing their skills.

      I’ll get working on those prints!

      • Heather Whiteley on November 13, 2013 at 6:07 pm

        Do you mind if I print up some of this for my classroom? It’s beautiful, and I want to honor your work by not printing it without permission. Also, once the prints are available for purchase, do let us know!

        • stephen on November 15, 2013 at 3:57 pm

          Feel free! I’ll let you know when I start offering the comics as prints!

          • k on November 21, 2013 at 3:41 pm

            Yes, prints please. We need this posted at our house. :) Inspirational AND useful work. Thanks. k.

          • stephen on November 25, 2013 at 5:31 pm

            Working on it!

          • k on November 21, 2013 at 3:44 pm

            a paypal and a downloadable file would be an easy way. (I have acquired other “great art” this way.) k.

  19. Kuroeno on October 12, 2012 at 8:52 am

    This was exactly what i needed a few moments ago. Thank you!

    • stephen on October 12, 2012 at 4:38 pm


  20. Zeruss on October 12, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Thank you so much for everything.
    I mean it, you’ve saved my artistic-self (if it exists) from metaphorical suicide. Again, thank you so much.

    • stephen on October 12, 2012 at 4:39 pm

      You’re welcome! It’s neat to know there are other artists out there who struggle with the same things I do.

  21. Skye on October 12, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Thank you so much..

    • stephen on October 12, 2012 at 4:39 pm

      You’re welcome!

  22. Andrew McPherson on October 13, 2012 at 1:55 am

    That was so good. So true. Thank you!

  23. Matt on October 13, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    shared this with my pre-animation class on facebook, this is great stuff, keep it up!!!

  24. ayaluna on October 14, 2012 at 10:14 am

    This is amazing, thank you for helping me XD

  25. Kaye on October 14, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    Just wanted to say thank you for this. It really helped me and I really feel encouraged by this. Thank you so much. :D

  26. Sean on October 14, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    That was really inspiring. Thanks a lot. Sometimes we need to hear stuff like this from other people to really internalize it and help us keep going. Great job man.

  27. Rynnie on October 15, 2012 at 12:20 am

    I once told my friend that his artworks are so amazing I can never achieve that level.

    He then told me that he thinks someone else’s work is amazing too and he can never achieve that…so the cycle goes on.

    In the end, he said no matter how good you are, there is always someone better than you. Thus we must always humble ourselves and be willing to learn, at the same time acknowledging that it is more important to improve on our own skills through failure rather than envying the work of others.

    Thank you for reminding me once again not to give up. Your posts are truly an inspiration! Keep up the good work :)

  28. Shelley R on October 16, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    Thank you so much for this. You have an astounding ability to perfectly explain concepts that I’ve been trying to wrap my brain around for years.

  29. [...] Alley, ‘A Picture Blog About Sustainable Creativity’, featured a colourful post titled ‘Be Friends with Failure’ (thanks Isley). The few excepted panels above provide a flavour for its fun style and apropos [...]

  30. Cheryl O on October 18, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    Wonderful thoughts well presented – thank you!

  31. Morgan on October 19, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    I’ve read all the entries. I’m amazed with such burst of positive energies and words flowing out from these comics.

    I wish you all the best in life, and of course, I’m looking forward for the next one!

    Cheers from Spain :)

    • stephen on October 25, 2012 at 3:16 pm

      Thank you, Morgan!

  32. Tractor on October 20, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    i just love it, this is everything!!!
    keep being awesome!

    • stephen on October 25, 2012 at 3:16 pm

      Thanks! :P

  33. Gary Jones on October 21, 2012 at 2:45 am

    Ian: I find your comments and comics taking you away from improv and into philosophy. Amazing. I love it and i get so much out of what you post. Can always apply it to my life. Keep it up. Thanks.

    • stephen on October 25, 2012 at 3:18 pm

      Thanks! Wait– who’s Ian? 0_o

  34. Arc on October 23, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    Just wanted to add my voice to the general chorus of “yay, this is awesome!”

    I was linked to this comic through a friend’s Tumblr, and found it so truthful and inspired that I read the rest of it. Going to RSS your site and send it to all the creative people I know.

    Thank you, sir, for making this blog. Your dedication to sharing your experiences, your clarity of expression, these are valuable things. I am so grateful you’ve put this together. : )

    • stephen on October 25, 2012 at 3:19 pm

      You’re welcome! Thanks for stopping by!

  35. Caroline on October 24, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    Hey, this comic is amazing !
    It makes me think about how I see my fails and how I see myself. Thanks a lot :)

  36. Bronwen on October 27, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    thanks this is lovely!

  37. Traci on October 28, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    Thank you for this! I love this cartoon so much. I’m sharing it with all my facebook friends right now and plan on saving it so I can look at it often. I’m a musician and an artist, and it truly applies to all arts as well as EVERYTHING in life! You portrayed the message so well with humor, words, images, and a gentleness that isn’t easy. I’m going to peruse the rest of your work now as well.

  38. Aika Ininsaki on October 31, 2012 at 2:05 am

    I told you I would on DevArt, and here’s the comment. You are right, the critique within is always the worst, but here’s what I’m facing. I look at my work that I made before, and I loved it, or I hated it. Either way I put it up on DevArt to see others’ reactions. As of recent, I’ve been seeing not just mistakes that I’ve made, but things that I /tried to do/… It looked like an abomination… I loathed it… all of it…. I removed it all… it’s locked away in my computer now, since my boyfriend still wants the images, poems, and passages I’ve made. I don’t dare look at any but one. The one that I set as my avatar almost everywhere now. I do loathe it, but it looks happiest out of all of them… So I just have to say, thank you. You did help, but only one of the smaller things. I’m also in need of apologizing, since I wasn’t specific and possibly confused you. I’m sorry.

  39. [...] it and making it part of your life, will ultimately free you to be the writer you can be. Please head on over to Stephen’s blog to read the rest of the [...]

  40. Michael LaRocca on October 31, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    Thanks for the reminder. I’ve got 12 published books behind me and I’m still failing on the new one. It happens.

    • stephen on October 31, 2012 at 2:45 pm

      I know how it is! I’ve done 3 books– it seems like with writing, you fail and fail and fail, and then when it’s good, then it’s done. You fail until you’re done. Kind of a miserable struggle, but so worth it. THanks for sharing!

  41. Bassam Ahmed on October 31, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    Superb :)

  42. Malini on November 2, 2012 at 9:15 am

    I’m truly creative at heart but failure has always made me kill the Art. One of your saying, truly depicts me..! That is- “some artists are so adverse to failure they would rather repeat the one method they know works…”
    It’s been two years since I found that ONE METHOD of cartooning and I still can’t move on. It’s truly the fear of failing while trying something new.
    I thank you from bottom of my heart for such an inspiring blog and also to christopher jackson to recommend readers to read your blog in his “FUEL YOUR WRITING” blog.
    I looking forward to try something new.
    Keep up this good work.:-)

  43. [...] I LOVE this. It has made all the difference in my self-esteem as a “writer.” [...]

  44. Mo on November 6, 2012 at 7:18 am

    Thank you

  45. CBAN3489 on November 9, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    Bullseye, man. Just bullseye. You are doing brilliant work. Never stop to encourage people with this art. Never stop to fail, never stop to grow because in you is so much we need to see and read. Thank you so much.

  46. Jessica on November 15, 2012 at 6:14 am

    Wow, this comic was really spot on, when it comes to self criticism, but with trying hard as well. I thought that it was really inspiring, awesome job =D

  47. ratherbe on November 24, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    Thank you so much. This is really helpful and encouraging.

  48. Mari on December 14, 2012 at 1:04 am

    I felt very inspired by this artwork. I decided to print this and put it up in my sculpture class. Some of the my classmates read it and also found it inspiring. Keep up the good work. I love all of your other work too. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  49. Keith on December 20, 2012 at 4:10 am

    Thanks for this, I’d love to show this to my art students lol.

  50. Julien Brightside on January 22, 2013 at 10:58 am

    This is a really goood inspirational comic.

    Well done sir, well done.

  51. 21 Artists to Watch in 2013 - Skinny Artist on February 28, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    [...] same topics that we 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 [...]

  52. Ross Marrs on March 27, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    This is just the best! It seriously just made my day.

    Thank you so much. :)

  53. Alya on April 9, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    This is so inspirational thank you! Failing is part of the process to achieve greatness :)

  54. Lia on April 16, 2013 at 2:54 am

    Thanks so much for this comic. I was in a spiral of negative thoughts for most of today. This helped me decide that I’m not defective or un-helpable, or pathetic, or a loser…I am just starting out. I can totally do this.

    • stephen on April 17, 2013 at 3:51 pm

      That’s right! Failure is not proof that you are irreparably broken, it is only evidence you are learning something new.

  55. Johanne on May 1, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    Wow.. I’m really crying right now..

    This is really helpful and cute, thank you so much for making and sharing it!

  56. 12042 on May 14, 2013 at 1:07 am

    It’s a relief that I was able to come across it has the resources I was definitely hunting for. It’s very beneficial and you’re obviously quite knowledgeable in this field. Thanks to your wealth of information, I’ve
    figured out a whole lot more about the subject and will be coming back for more.

  57. [...] Be Friends with Failure | Doodle Alley. [...]

  58. Marc on June 3, 2013 at 12:13 am

    Wow, you really hit the nail on the spot! This is exactly the sort of stuff that, in my honest opiniont, should be mandatory in every art class. It would’ve been something that could’ve helped me years ago. I just came out of a deep depression, my parents died and because of that it was very very VERY hard to get out of the gutter and not trying to beat myself down into the ground.

    This helped me stabilize myself again. I thank you for your cartoons and I hope you will continue making them for many years to come!

    • stephen on June 3, 2013 at 4:29 pm

      I’m sorry to hear about your loss– and so happy to hear my comics helped you in some way! Thanks so much for letting me know! Keep in touch!

  59. eru on June 13, 2013 at 4:11 am

    (I’m sorry if my english is bad)Seeing your post here makes me feel nostalgic. It’s about two or three years ago since I hold my pencils. I wanted to draw something, so I make an attempt to to this at holidays, especially at semeseter break. But it only last for several days. Since I graduate I have forgotten about my interest in drawing.
    Now I just want…doodling again. Thanks, your comic might inspire lots of people like me

    • stephen on June 13, 2013 at 2:46 pm

      That’s great to hear! Feel free to send me what you draw, if you’d like an audience.

  60. Parka Posy on August 10, 2013 at 9:46 am

    All of these comics are so inspiring and wise, and this one especially speaks to me.

    Currently I am taking a life skills course to help youth like my self find and hold jobs, and overall be successful in life.
    I really look forward to sharing these stories with the rest of my class. :)
    True words to live by!

    • stephen on August 12, 2013 at 3:17 pm

      Thanks! Good luck looking for jobs! That’s one I’m still trying to figure out.

  61. [...] A motivational comic about Failure and how to make friends with it. [...]

  62. Strayer on September 10, 2013 at 6:35 am

    This tells me a lot what I need to know, I’m a beginning artist and I definitely making bad calls when it comes to drawing art, after seeing this, it motivates me to keep on trying. Thanks for the motivation!

  63. Caleb Smirh on September 12, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    WOW! It is very rare to see a blog with all positives in the comments. I scrolled through because I wanted to see if any trolls have come through. I am amazed to see that I did not see any. Kudos to you good SIR! excellent artwork and even more excellent is the message! I was truly touched by it and will definitely be sharing this.

  64. J on October 7, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    Great work! Just an FYI, I think you mean “averse” & not “adverse.” :)

    • stephen on October 8, 2013 at 10:01 pm

      Ooh, good one! Thanks!

  65. Heydon on October 16, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    Hey S,

    This reminded me of John Maxwell’s book, _Failing Forward_. It’s sort of like falling in a race – we want to fall forward so that we’re at least closer to the finish line each time. As usual, great post!

    • stephen on October 16, 2013 at 8:59 pm

      Thanks Heydon! I’ll have to check out that book.

  66. Daniela on October 17, 2013 at 3:10 am

    I am crying so hard. I’m an artist finishing art college, diving into work and suffuring a LOT from failure, hating my paintings over the last few weeks. I started feeling genuinely sad. and my will to paint or draw decreased a lot. But this, sir, helps. It’s midnight here in São Paulo, so I don’t think I’m going to my studio or picking up my pencil now, but tomorrow I sure will get back to work. Thanks to you. That’s great.

    • stephen on October 17, 2013 at 5:10 pm

      Get some sleep– thanks for sharing! I’m really glad my comic was able to help in spite of how tough things have been for you!

      Keep in touch,


  67. Silver on October 23, 2013 at 7:48 am

    I swear you almost made my cry with that one. Thank you for these lessons, I’ll always keep them in mind and heart.

  68. gee on October 29, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    I’m guessing if I were to read them, the other comments would pretty much say along the lines of the same thing but here goes:

    Thank you, good sir :) This is JUST what I needed after a really soul-crushing few weeks and yet another day of feeling like I haven’t been able to do anything ‘right’!

    It must be lovely to have touched, inspired, and reignited even (?!!) so many people out there.
    Thanks again and best wishes to you! I will keep up with your posts for sure :)

    • stephen on October 30, 2013 at 2:38 pm

      Aw, that’s great to hear Gee! I’m glad these essays were helpful to you. Good luck!

    • Kelly on July 8, 2014 at 6:33 am

      I was about to write the same. So discouraged as I begin to find a new way in altered art and feel terrified and angry. This piece “found” me this morning and now I am going to go one more round! Thank you. Thank you.

      • stephen on July 8, 2014 at 9:57 pm

        Good luck!

  69. Dave the potter on November 2, 2013 at 12:31 am

    Great post. I love your example of the potter. I remember when I was learning to throw – I couldn’t pull a cylinder more than a couple of inches tall. Now more than ten years later I make a pretty good mug if I do say so myself. At the moment I’m working on my drawing skills as I’d like to create a web comic as I have something to say. Heading over to Kickstarter to pledge!

    • stephen on November 2, 2013 at 5:42 pm

      That’s neat! Yeah, I took a bit of ceramics in college– the wheel was always a challenge. Thanks for checking out the kickstarter!

  70. doodlesbyadzie on November 9, 2013 at 10:59 pm

    :) thanks so much for making this. not only does it show that anyone who creates art is not alone but it teaches you that failure, ironically, leads to success. As a asipiring artist/doodler/animator myself, this is very encouraging :3 thank you Stephen!

    • stephen on November 11, 2013 at 3:52 pm

      My pleasure! Keep moving forward!

  71. Savyra on November 10, 2013 at 8:33 am

    Thank you so much for doing this. If you don’t mind, I’d like to add a link to this page from the page I advertise my drawing courses. You just say it so much better than I have. And in more ways!!

    • stephen on November 11, 2013 at 3:52 pm

      Please do! Thank you!

  72. Dominic de Mattos on November 10, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Awesome. So true. And such talent.

  73. Amie Tran on November 11, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    I absolutely cannot wait til the posters are released on your site. I am definitely ordering both, and maybe a few extra as gifts. :) I couldn’t justify spending anymore on Kickstarter as I already blew fifty bucks on 3 books, but maybe if I split up the spending, my brain will be happy. :D Either way, I’m buying some posters.

    P.S. Hope we hit 35,000! I’d love to see the new essay in your book.

    • stephen on November 12, 2013 at 4:24 pm

      Thank you so much! I’ll be trying to build a store on the site as soon as I can– I appreciate your generosity and enthusiasm, it’s encouraging!

      • Alison on November 29, 2013 at 5:57 pm

        I was just about to ask if there were any posters available! I’d love to put this up in my classroom. :)

        • stephen on December 2, 2013 at 8:07 pm

          Coming soon!

  74. Katharine on November 11, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    Wow. Where have you been all my life? Thanks so much!

    • stephen on November 12, 2013 at 4:25 pm

      My pleasure!

  75. Bob McLeod on November 12, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    Excellent! I’m going to share this with my students. BTW, is that (panel 16) really how you hold your pencil??

    • stephen on November 12, 2013 at 4:32 pm

      Um… not really– I think I drew it a bit funky, ha ha.

  76. Elizabeth Barrette on November 12, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    This is a valuable technique described well and illustrated charmingly. Thank you for sharing. I have boosted the signal.

  77. The Indie Bubble on November 12, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    [...] have to be friends with failure to succeed! [...]

  78. Ian Osmond on November 12, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    A good number of years ago, I was at a science-fiction convention where one of the guests was an biologist named Dr Jack Cohen. (His hobby was creating weird alien species that could plausibly have evolved under differing conditions, which is why the convention invited him to be a guest.)

    Anyway, he said something that stuck with me ever since: “If you are succeeding at more than 80% of what you do, you’re not trying difficult enough things.”

    And that’s a MAXIMUM. You can feel free to fail a lot, lot more than 20% of the time — but if you’re failing LESS than that, there’s something wrong.

    • stephen on November 15, 2013 at 3:46 pm

      That’s a good ratio to hold by. Often I’m making All or Nothing propositions with myself, which is not sustainable– doomed to fall apart. What I should be doing is making %80 success, %20 failure propositions– planning and accounting for failure!

  79. Sami on November 13, 2013 at 12:03 am

    I played soccer for 15 years in the defensive position. If you know anyone who plays that position, theyll let you know you have to be perfect. HAVE TO. As in, if youre not, you could lose the game for your team. I played at a very high competitive level as well, so you can see where my want to become perfect becomes a problem. That want has bled into everything else ive done, from video games to relationships to even drawing. Every year I gain a little ground on realizing im human, and that mistakes are okay. But a part of me cringes when i mess up or im not up to par or along the lines of that.

    this comic really hit home for me. Thanks

    • stephen on November 15, 2013 at 3:48 pm

      Thank you, for sharing your story! I understand, perfectionism can be a hard thing to walk away from.

  80. Natasha on November 13, 2013 at 4:34 am

    Wow…great post and many (many) wonderful comments to learn from. I am a new miniature artist and I have been trying to learn everything I can. Therefore I spend a lot of time studying others’ work, (mainly by photograph) and as much as I learn though, I compare.. my work to theirs. Often I find myself in awe..bemoaning how I will EVER be as good as those I see. I have felt very overwhelmed and discouraged;like they have huge amounts of innate talent that I can never possess, as if they were born for this and of course I wasn’t. I’m glad to see that I am most definitely not alone and I am comparing their best ,out of probably many attempts, to mine. Keep up your wonderfully spiritual work..we obviously all need to hear what you have to say! Thank you and mini hugs!

    • stephen on November 15, 2013 at 3:50 pm

      Thanks for sharing! Yeah, what’s tough is that, in the age of the internet, you always have access to view the work of incredibly talented people. It can be an advantage I suppose, because you can learn from them, but it can also be overwhelming.

  81. Kat on November 13, 2013 at 5:28 am

    Please make this into a poster. I would love to hang this in the studio for my music students.

    • stephen on November 15, 2013 at 3:50 pm

      Will do! I’ll be making a store soon and have the posters up in it.

  82. jenika on November 13, 2013 at 9:54 am

    i love this comic strip!!! I really like what it says! Very inspirational!
    “do you want to know the difference between a master and beginner? The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried…”

  83. Neil Patrick on November 13, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    I can totally relate to the fridge part.

    You, my good sir, deserve a solid gold medal.

    Keep up the good work!

    • stephen on November 15, 2013 at 3:51 pm

      Will do, thanks!

  84. Rijacki on November 13, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    Wonderfully profound. Thank you.

    I would only add: And it doesn’t matter what age you are when you try something new. You can’t ever succeed if you never try. If you never try, you can only regret not trying.

    • stephen on November 15, 2013 at 3:51 pm

      Great points– there is no cut-off point for trying new things!

  85. Kawika Heftel on November 13, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    Loved this so much I immediately backed your Kickstarter. Thanks!

    • stephen on November 15, 2013 at 3:57 pm

      Thank you!

  86. Hannah on November 14, 2013 at 4:33 am

    this is awesome!! definitely applied it to getting through math courses. thank you for doing what you do :D

  87. [...] article: Be friends with failure in animation Share this:Email Pin ItLike this:Like [...]

  88. Andrew Lim on November 14, 2013 at 9:15 am

    Thank you for doing this my friend.
    Alot of people really need this.

    Permission to share this.

    Andrew Lim

    • stephen on November 15, 2013 at 4:01 pm

      Feel free! Thanks for asking permission– just be sure to link back to my site!

  89. Passerby on November 14, 2013 at 11:21 am

    I’m not an artist but an aspiring CS researcher. Thanks for the comic, I keep forgetting that I have suck in order to be good; even geniuses have to fail except they fail early and are reaping the fruits of their effort in later years.

    • stephen on November 15, 2013 at 4:01 pm


      Say, what’s a CS researcher?

  90. Chipmaker on November 15, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    I remember an anecdote told by Dave Sim, creator of the comic Cerebus. While a young and developing artist, he was trying to draw a hand, and he just could not do it to his satisfaction. While he was sitting there, cursing in frustration, one of his artist friends wandered over, and asked what was going on? Sim pointed out the hand he had drawn, and how it was all wrong. His friend, I think it was Gene Day, looked and remarked, “it’s a Dave Sim hand” — and Sim’s point of view evolved.

    • stephen on November 15, 2013 at 4:03 pm

      That’s neat. I’ve been trying to draw hands recently, it’s hard! I can definitely draw a “stephen mccranie” hand, but I still want to draw a “good” hand someday.

  91. Michael on November 15, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    This is exactly what I needed today on both a personal and a professional level. This statement was golden: “Success is a sign that you’re ready to learn something new, and failure is a sign you’re learning something new.”

    • stephen on November 18, 2013 at 5:55 pm


  92. Mo on November 16, 2013 at 4:34 am

    Your words remind me of a book I treasure (and need to read again SOON!): Art and Fear,: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking, by David Bayles and Ted Orland. I highly recommend it!

    • stephen on November 18, 2013 at 5:53 pm

      Ooh, I’ll have to check it out!

  93. JD Gore on November 16, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    This didn’t happen in one day, did it?

    • stephen on November 18, 2013 at 5:58 pm

      NOPE. Ha ha.

  94. Nat Russo on November 16, 2013 at 5:16 pm


    Thank you so much for posting this. A friend just passed it along a few minutes ago. I’m a writer who mentors other up-and-coming writers, and one of the things we struggle with (as do all creative types) is self-doubt. I’ll be sharing this page with my friends and followers. I think they’ll gain a lot of insight from what you’ve created here.

    • stephen on November 18, 2013 at 5:58 pm

      Wow, awesome! Nice to meet you Nat, keep in touch!

  95. Saqib on November 16, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    Like many this comic felt like it was me in there. Me and my inner voice. A great lesson on how a simple shift in personal thinking can make all the difference in respect for yourself. Great Work!!

  96. Ron on November 16, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    I’ve been so frustrated lately with IV starts in paramedic class, I keep failing at them. This was inspiring, thanks!

    • stephen on November 18, 2013 at 5:59 pm

      Wow, yeah, that sounds tough!

  97. Affirmations of Failure | Perplexed Music on November 17, 2013 at 5:16 am

    [...] Affirmations of Failure [...]

  98. Xabeix on November 17, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    Thank you for this comic. I’m an artist too and I’m going through something incredibly harsh right now. It’s a bliss to read this profound self encouragement comic. Thank you so much for all the love you put into this comic. You’re great, don’t ever stop drawing. I’ll do the same.



  99. Jenny on November 17, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    Reading this comic relieves me from my inner pessimistic perfectionist as well as my depression. Thank you so much and your work really means a lot to me :’)

    • keep going on November 18, 2013 at 2:59 am

      this speak my thought too. Thanks

  100. Kareen on November 18, 2013 at 1:17 am

    Thank you so much. This is just what I needed.

  101. Breda on November 18, 2013 at 1:53 am

    Love all your work ! I am not an artist but love your art .
    I am a full caregiver for my husband and you inspire me in different situations
    of my ever so challenging days.

    • stephen on November 18, 2013 at 6:04 pm

      Wow, keep moving forward with that good work! I admire your service and self sacrifice!

  102. [...] “Be friends with failure” Share this:TwitterFacebookGoogleRedditTumblrLinkedInEmailPrintMoreDiggPinterestPocketStumbleUponLike this:Like Loading… [...]

  103. Hamza Khurshid on November 18, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    This was just what I needed, THANK YOU.

  104. Hélène on November 18, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    Je suis plutôt la mère de tes bd et j’ai beaucoup aimé Je me suis reconnu avec le frigo mais aussi ailleurs…j’aime que tu compares notre façon de se juger soi-même et la façon de faire avec bb. Sorry I can’t write easily in your language…but I like your website.

  105. Corinne on November 18, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    I’d love to see so many of your comics available as posters. I teach and would love to have this in my classroom–and I don’t even teach art.

    • stephen on November 18, 2013 at 6:05 pm

      They will be available as posters soon!

  106. Guy C. Brownlee on November 18, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    Sooo… Fred Hembeck fan, eh? Cool. :)

    • stephen on November 19, 2013 at 9:02 pm

      Ha ha, I just googled his work. That’s really funny– ha ha.

  107. Siri on November 19, 2013 at 5:32 am

    Right – click – save.

    This also applies to Science homework, especially when trying to change careers, after many years’ absence from university!

    • stephen on November 19, 2013 at 9:04 pm

      I’ll bet! Good luck with that!

  108. Erling Steen on November 19, 2013 at 8:58 am

    “Some artists are so averse to failure they would rather repeat the one method they know works over and over then try something new.”
    I must say that I, like the ancient Chinese masters, prefer the failure of practicing the same brushstroke for a lifetime to the failure of believing this late 20th century worn out mantra.

    • stephen on November 19, 2013 at 9:13 pm

      Hey Erling! I’d love to hear more about the Chinese Masters. What is different about what I am saying and what they taught? I assumed they practiced the same stroke because they were attempting to do it perfectly…

  109. amanda on November 20, 2013 at 12:18 am

    How lovely… gentle and forgiving!
    Thank you.
    Some of my piano students are real “beat themselves up” kids.
    And the tension that it brings to their playing pushes success further and further away.
    Oh yes and I’ve been guilty of it too!
    What a funny lot we humans are!

    • stephen on November 25, 2013 at 5:29 pm

      Isn’t that ironic how putting more pressure on yourself to succeed can get in the way of success?

  110. Stefania on November 20, 2013 at 3:06 am

    Amazing! your comics are lifechanging, you should be really proud of yourself, the baby part..(” whoa, you suck at talkin…” ) Damn i just laughed so hard! and it really made me think I mean, it looks really silly but its what we actually do to ourselves frequently.

  111. Phineas on November 20, 2013 at 3:06 am

    Wow. I mean, just wow. I believe you have written and drawn more lousy comics than most people have ever written or drawn anything… to get to this one. And it was worth it. Thanks!

  112. Isaac on November 20, 2013 at 7:26 am

    You should put all of those into a single, long image and sell it as a poster. Or give license to print it. It’s really fantastic and I won’t lie, it made me pause and think. I’m a victim to my own self-doubt in the worst way, it’s held me back most of my life. I *know* all of the above, I *know* that failure is the best way to learn. I trust someone who’s been in a handful of car accidents WAY more than someone who touts driving for 20 years without a single accident (I assume they’re due and overconfidence will get them into a bad one). It’s the definition of the term, “That which does not kill me, only makes me stronger.” I think you put it in a wonderfully profound manner and would love a poster of it.

  113. Donna Abear on November 20, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    Simply profound. As a writer, I can always use this bit of encouragement. Loved your comic and the wonderful wisdom. Thank you :-)

  114. Bernadette on November 21, 2013 at 12:30 am

    I really love this and want to share it with my students. I plan to relate it to the writing experience. How can I share this with them?

    • stephen on November 25, 2013 at 5:35 pm

      Feel free to show them the comics or print them out from the website. The resolution won’t be good, but that should work!

  115. William Lawson on November 21, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    Love it.

    my dad helped turn me into an engineer by never criticizing what I built or tried. He realized that when you are 8 and you make a train by cutting up a stick and hooking the blocks together with screw eyes you are doing well. as a result I grew up building things. I built my firts robotic 4 wheel drive bulldozer when I was in 8th grade.

    the other important rule was I had a bench and I never had to clean it up. my tools I could leave around, the bench many times was a piled high mess etc. if I used his tools I needed to be careful and put them back, etc. Thus the short attention spans of a kid were never smashed by needing to clean up the bench and not be able to go on to the next thing.

    The last thing was he was very willing to buy pieces and parts but virtually never bought me a finished thing. I got lots of kits and parts from cars old military surplus,and such

    We did that with our kids and one is a composites engineer designing composite bikes for a major bicycle company and the other one is an instrument innovator building exotic weather instruments for far out weather research.

    • stephen on November 25, 2013 at 5:33 pm

      Wow! That’s really neat! I think that this principle can help parenting a bit– I know my dad let me draw and read as much comics as I wanted– and would even publish my comics in the newsletter as his work. That’s really neat!

  116. kim on November 21, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    Yay! I say this to my students all the time, but I know they never believe me (failure is such a bad word in school). This comic will absolutely help. It helps me, too. ;)

  117. Failure is your Best Friend | Kicking the Pants on November 21, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    [...] to share something I found this morning, thanks to my friends Jesse and Genny. It’s called Be Friends with Failure, and it’s a short comic strip (although that doesn’t feel like the right term) about [...]

  118. Be Friends with Failure | Big Blue Dot Y'all on November 21, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    [...] Be Friends with Failure. Won't you please share:TwitterFacebookPinterestLike this:Like Loading… Failure, foolish, [...]

  119. Rick on November 21, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    Great piece! Thank you! A little copy editing suggestion. In the panel that starts “Failure is a freaky kid…” the last line should be “…we would want TO be his friend.”

    • stephen on November 25, 2013 at 5:24 pm

      Thank you! Good catch!

  120. Caroline on November 21, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    Thank you so much!
    I’m the one not trying because i’m scared to fail.
    I just want to be perfect at first, but that’s not how it works is it?
    You made me cry, but it’s good. Thank you, i will try again.

  121. jeff on November 21, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    do you know lev vygotsky & the zone of proximal development?

    • stephen on November 25, 2013 at 5:26 pm

      Interesting! I would say that there is another zone where you learn to do things unaided through experimentation and not from example or guidance. Thanks for sharing!

  122. Asif on November 21, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    It was not good, it was awesome . “The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried ” , this line changed my mind a lot. For almost two years I trying to learn a thing. Actually not learning a little I want to master it. And your comics told me that I have to work harder for my dream and ‘In Shaa Allah’ I will do so.

  123. Friends with Failure | literalstarvingartist on November 21, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    [...] a little comic I ran across while browsing Facebook this [...]

  124. Hanna on November 21, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    Amazing drawings and messages!

  125. Ilya on November 22, 2013 at 12:53 am

    This does not just apply to artwork–but to lots of things.

  126. Sue on November 22, 2013 at 4:00 am

    Like many people, I found this shared to my facebook feed. I just wanted to thank you for creating this comic “essay.” It’s truly something that I struggle with in my own creative life(along with my perfectionist tendencies).

    I bet you get this a lot.
    Thanks for the encouragement.

  127. M. Holcombe on November 22, 2013 at 8:37 am

    Thanks, man. I hate being “inspired” or “motivated” as it seems dispassionate to wait for such things, but this has given me both inspiration and motivation. I thank you.

  128. Wendy on November 22, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    Oh, this is fortuitous. I really, really needed to see this. Thank you!

  129. Albert Ross on November 22, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    Thanks, man. I needed this today. Very inspirational.

  130. Be Friends with Failure | AnnMasibo on November 22, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    [...] post has been reblogged from Doodle Alley. Artwork by Stephen MacCranie. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… Posted on [...]

  131. M.J.O. on November 22, 2013 at 9:40 pm


  132. Be Friends with Failure | AnnMasibo on November 22, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    [...] post has been reblogged from Doodle Alley. Artwork by Stephen MacCranie. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… Posted on [...]

  133. Brick by Brick | AnnMasibo on November 22, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    [...] post has been reblogged from Doodle Alley. Artwork by Stephen MacCranie. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… Posted on [...]

  134. MCR on November 22, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    What a great job you’ve done with this. I wish I’d read it decades ago–but as a parent of young children now, this advice is as valuable as it ever could have been. Thank you.

  135. Saxdragon on November 22, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    How come the panel about repeating the things you know to avoid trying something new has drawings in it that look like Fred Hembeck’s work?

    • stephen on November 25, 2013 at 5:13 pm

      I actually didn’t know about Fred Hembeck when I drew that– there was no insult intended towards him– though honestly after looking at his work I feel his style could benefit from some experimentation.

  136. Cheers to the Weekend! | MN Sound Design on November 23, 2013 at 12:05 am

    [...] Be friends with failure. [...]

  137. Embracing Failure | Sew Smitten on November 23, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    [...] post was partly inspired by this excellent comic by Stephen McCraine and partly inspired by an excellent, honest human being and friend Sandra who [...]

  138. Tricia on November 23, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    The images that got me were the pile of discarded pottery failures and the idea of yelling at a baby for failing to speak. Thank you for those! I’m sharing this with my perfectionist daughter and will try to use it to help me with the critics in my own head.

    • stephen on November 25, 2013 at 5:21 pm

      Funny– you’re the second person who’s said they want to share this comic with their perfectionist daughter…

  139. Joseph on November 23, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    wow! these light-hearted thoughts and readers’ comments arrive at the right time: we’re barely out of an art class, and can benefit from the encouragement underneath the humour.

  140. Henry J on November 23, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    Just got referred to your work by Howard Bloom. My compliments to you. In a world with so many things reaching out for one’s attention, your work stands out.

    • stephen on November 25, 2013 at 5:22 pm

      Wow, thanks!

  141. nbgrant on November 23, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    Even TIME magazine appreciates failure!

    “A widely held myth suggests that creative geniuses rarely fail. Yet according to University of California, Davis Professor Dean Keith Simonton, actually the opposite is true: creative geniuses, from artists like Mozart to scientists like Darwin, are quite prolific when it comes to failure—they just don’t let that stop them. His research has found that creative people simply do more experiments.”

    Read more: Designers Must Learn to Embrace Failure |

    • stephen on November 25, 2013 at 5:22 pm

      Ooh– nice article. Thanks for sharing that!

  142. Suzana Wylie on November 23, 2013 at 11:54 pm

    A quote from one of the posters at National Novel Writing Month:

    The first step to writing a good novel is giving yourself permission to write a bad novel.

    (Because if you think you must be perfect from the start, you’ll never have the chance to practice.)

    • stephen on November 25, 2013 at 5:22 pm


  143. Be Friends With Failure | Story Coaching on November 24, 2013 at 4:32 am

    [...] Be Friends With Failure [...]

  144. sherri on November 24, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Love this! Thanks for drawing this!

  145. Sezer on November 24, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    Love the baby: *SMACK* :D

  146. Asa on November 24, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    I don’t know how many failed drawings are in your dustbin by now, but I sure know I like this one! Thanks for putting good thoughts on paper with a touch of love an humor.

    • stephen on November 25, 2013 at 5:00 pm

      You’re quite welcome! I make bad drawings as often as I can! :D

  147. GracesDad on November 24, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    Wonderful! It’s as if you were speaking directly to my daughter, a perfectionist, basketball player and artist. She needs to give herself permission to make mistakes and this is a great way to “let her off the hook”.

    May I post this to my daughter’s blog?

    • stephen on November 25, 2013 at 5:00 pm

      Please do!

  148. Taryn on November 24, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    I cannot tell you how much I needed to hear this today. Thank you.

    • stephen on November 25, 2013 at 5:01 pm

      My pleasure– I’m glad you’re here!

  149. Tanuj Govil on November 25, 2013 at 2:46 am

    Stephen, this is sublime. Profound wisdom in a minimalistic and simple manner. Thanks for putting things in perspective.

  150. [...] Be Friends with Failure | Doodle Alley. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInEmailPrintDiggRedditStumbleUponGoogleTumblrPinterestPocketLike this:Like Loading… This entry was posted in Art in Everyday Life, Artistic Exploration and tagged Art, creativity, every little bit helps, failure, master by Lori Straus. Bookmark the permalink. [...]

  151. MKMN on November 25, 2013 at 2:57 am

    this comic is good.. :)

  152. PWN on November 25, 2013 at 3:26 am

    As an early-career scientist, I deal with constant, daily failure just as I imagine a young artist would. On good days, these little failures provide the motivation to learn from my mentors and improve my work. On bad days, well… it can be frustrating. This comic gave me hope, and I think it will help me have more good days.

    • stephen on November 25, 2013 at 5:04 pm

      That’s awesome to hear! I know how it is– even though you are learning from your mistakes, that doesn’t always mean it’s fun.

  153. Mark on November 25, 2013 at 4:07 am

    This is SO amazing. I’m sharing this with my students and I’m keeping this forever.

    • stephen on November 25, 2013 at 5:04 pm

      Please do! I love it when helpful ideas spread!

  154. Engineer on November 25, 2013 at 8:27 am

    I like your baby metaphor. We should treat ourselves as a baby the first time you do something.

    • stephen on November 25, 2013 at 5:07 pm

      I got the concept from Khatzumoto, a blogger who teaches people to learn languages– my only addition to the idea was that art too is a language. Check out his blog here!

      • Gingerale on November 25, 2013 at 7:06 pm

        I can see how this came up in a context of language learning. I’ll check out the blogger you mention. The language learning approach that came to mind when I read your post is the approach of Language Hunters ( ) — completely consistent in spirit!

  155. Zel Pozharruchyei on November 25, 2013 at 8:42 am

    An amateur practices until he can get it right.
    A professional practices until he can’t get it wrong.

    • stephen on November 25, 2013 at 5:08 pm

      I love that– great way to sum that up!

  156. Eldshow on November 25, 2013 at 11:35 am

    The difference between a master and a beginner? The master has failed more times that the beginner has even tried. – Love it!

    • stephen on November 25, 2013 at 5:08 pm


  157. Jane Heitman Healy on November 25, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    What a great post! Thanks!

  158. Taking the risk of trying something new on November 25, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    [...] I just discovered this wonderful website by artist and writer Stephen McCranie. You could spend hours clicking on every one of his comics/lessons. Here’s a good place to start, with his lesson on why we should be happy to make friends with failure. [...]

  159. Nancy on November 25, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    I think I am going to go dig my colored pencils out from under the bed where I hid them. It’s good to be reminded that failure can be a virtue. Thanks,

    • stephen on November 25, 2013 at 5:09 pm

      Do it! Let me know what you make!

  160. On failure… | Not a Big Spender on November 25, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    [...] Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailRedditStumbleUponTumblrLike this:Like Loading… [...]

  161. Jason on November 26, 2013 at 3:26 am

    I teach middle school band and tell my kids everyday to be unafraid to fail. You put this so much more eloquently than I ever could have. I will show them this for sure.

    Thank you so much for this – it’s inspiring! :)

  162. [...] As mentioned earlier, the cost of a mistake in a startup is much lower. The better course of action then is to try, fail, repeat, until you hit the right stride. It’s a numbers game after all. The more potential solutions you try, the higher the likelihood you are of finding a suitable one. “The master has failed more times than the beginner has tried.” – Stephen McCranie [...]

  163. A place at the table for failure. | Dandelion on November 26, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    [...] The above comic helped me to start making some connections that I would like to share from what I have learned in studying Educational Psychology.  In particular, Goal Orientation Theory and Self-Compassion came to mind.  Goal Orientation Theory (also known as Achievement Goal Theory) (Pintrich, 2000) posits that our reasons for working toward goals can vary greatly and that orientation has implications for how well we learn new things and how we deal with failure in the process of learning.  When we learn things because we enjoy the process of learning, we are more likely to remember what we learned and also more likely to see failure as a natural part of the learning process. According to this theoretical perspective, this is a mastery orientation .  The other orientation posited in earlier work on goals was called Performance Orientation, wherein the learner’s motivation behind work toward a goal was primarily that of success at that goal, whether it be making a good grade or obtaining recognition (or avoiding FAILURE).  A great deal of research has been done on these goal orientations, and over time with further research they have been modified (you can find updated information and research findings here).   [...]

  164. Rosemary Hadland on November 26, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Thank you for these wonderful, wise observations! May I add: Don’t listen to yourself (negative), rather, TALK to yourself (positive). You made my day!

  165. Corbin on November 26, 2013 at 11:44 pm

    Thank you for this, it’s made me feel much better about various projects. I’m setting it as my homepage to remind me whenever I open the browser to procrastinate from something I’m feeling crud about to keep trying
    Thank you :D

  166. Both Fish and Fowl | Into the blue... on November 27, 2013 at 12:00 am

    [...] believe. Learn from your failures and shortcomings — it’s the best school going! [check this out!] I would do (e.g.) an Advent Lessons and Carols service one year, and then ask myself [...]

  167. Elaine on November 27, 2013 at 12:16 am

    Hey, man. Thank you for doing this. It helped me a lot to read it!

  168. Fototropik | Direct the Rider on November 27, 2013 at 2:39 am

    [...] new about the universe. Embracing this sort of outlook changes the nature of failure. Failure becomes a friend, an ally. When we see failure on the horizon we immediately being to pay closer attention to [...]

  169. Fototropik | How to Accomplish Anything on November 27, 2013 at 2:40 am

    [...] Be Friends With Failure Share this:FacebookTwitterTumblrPocketEmail 6 Comments/0 Likes/1 Tweets/posted in Learn ← Life hacks The Myth of Willpower → 6 replies [...]

  170. leanne Anderson on November 27, 2013 at 6:57 am

    I enjoyed the remarks
    about trying and failyer and such
    i wondered if it was a first time
    thing why did they worry so much.
    each time it get a bit better.
    you learn about things as you go.
    after while things just fall into place.
    and you master the things as you grow.

    • stephen on December 2, 2013 at 8:04 pm

      Woah, awesome poem. Thanks Leanne!

  171. [...] Be Friends with Failure | Doodle Alley: [...]

  172. peter kashur on November 27, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    i would suggest that instead of ‘failures’, ‘challenges’ and while at a given point in the developement of the artist, they may not have the tools, either craft or knowledge to resolve the challenge, further along in their growth as an artist, they may… don’t throw out your failures/challenges, overcome them……

    • peter kashur on November 27, 2013 at 12:21 pm

      but great lesson non the less doodle alley!

  173. Brian K on November 27, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    This is the best piece of sequential art I have read in a long time. Kudos!

  174. Kevin on November 27, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    Thanks for the inspiration, good sir :)

  175. Be Friends with Failure on November 27, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    [...] between a master and a beginner? The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried. Full Post from Doodle Alley Share this:Share Pin ItEmail Jim Karwisch November 22, 2013 Respond [...]

  176. chakashi on November 27, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    Hi Stephen, just wanted to say thank you for this great reminder! I really enjoyed reading this. Its just what i needed on a Wednesday.

    Keep doing what you’re doing!


  177. vipul on November 27, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Sir, i m no artist myself but i think ur work is relevant not only to an artist but to everyone out there who lives in fear… Fear of being rejected, fear of falling behind, fear of failure. Whether he / she is a labourer or the owner of a multi-national, whether that creepy student or the principal of the school… everyone who is frightened will get help out of this… Plz keep up ur Great work….

  178. Pete Wagner on November 27, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    Yeah-I agree with this. It’s the hardest thing to teach. When I was teaching intro drawing at the University of Minnesota when working on my PhD in Design six years ago, I found the students were either too extreme one way or the other, with the critical voice hounding them too much or too overconfident and un-selfcritical. Now I have been a cartoonist and caricature artist for 40+ years and I have always been delighted with my constant failures, especially the ones that bring howls of criticism from the legions of “great” wannabees who glom onto false idols who tell them how awful my work is, and who have never been a staff cartoonist for a magazine at the peak of its success, with 6,000,000 readers, like I have. There is a kind of anarchist idea of art that has been lost in today’s commercial, corporatized world. You can take a lot more risk and have a lot more fun when you think of failure as the same thing as “success.” Better yet, forget about worrying about failure or success altogether, and how to draw hands better. Just express what you feel and trust that what comes out on the paper or other surface is going to be the way it should be, and let viewers experience it that way.

  179. Melle Pigut on November 27, 2013 at 11:17 pm

    Beautiful. I don’t know how many failures you experienced before this, and I don’t know at what point you realise how important it was, but… this is a very nice piece to me, congrats to you and your friend failure and thank you for sharing !

  180. ciana on November 28, 2013 at 6:21 am

    this made me cry. great piece.

  181. Be Friends with Failure – Inside Out on November 28, 2013 at 10:14 am

    [...] In this excellent comic from Stephen McCranie he explores the importance of failure in art, but the message applies to almost every area of life. [...]

  182. Everest on November 28, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    hi stephen,
    with your permission i would like to translate this and send it to some german friends i know.
    please email me about that. thanks in advance,

    • stephen on December 2, 2013 at 8:07 pm

      Please feel free~! Can you post it online and email me a link when you’re done?

      • Everest on December 3, 2013 at 9:33 pm

        yeah. sure! :D

  183. Susana on November 28, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    WOW! This is amazing!!! THank you!

  184. Janet Gray on November 28, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    Thank you so much for saying what I needed to hear. I forget things like this when I’m trying new kinds of art. Thanks for reminding me to be kinder to my creative self!

  185. LMD on November 28, 2013 at 11:32 pm


  186. Sarah on November 29, 2013 at 4:38 am

    Today of all days… I really needed to see this. No one is around to validate the idea that I’m not a failure, and I just failed BIG time by saying too much with two people who are very important to me. That part about the baby talking gibberish – I felt like that baby today and then you said “Woah! Fail! You suck at talking! You should quit before someone hears you.” and that hit home EXACTLY with what I was telling myself moments ago. I really needed that wake up call.

    Thank you.

  187. Tori on November 29, 2013 at 4:43 am

    Your comics are why I am the artist I am today. I’m in my third year at a prestigious arts high school where the only thing more prevalent than competition is failure. Thank you for teaching me which is more important. Your work is what gets me through the chaos, and I cannot thank you enough.

  188. Nazre Imam on November 29, 2013 at 8:07 am

    I am really surprised by getting it. Its very motivational and effective.

  189. Sam Spruce on November 29, 2013 at 8:38 am

    I am such an awesome failure! :)

  190. Rita on November 29, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    Have to thank you for this comics. It gives me back my courage, just touched by it and make me feel that I’m not alone.Great work & thanks a lot!!

  191. Almost Failures on November 29, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    Thank you, artist, for this. Great work. Great ideas. I hope the whole world sees this.

  192. Dea Lenihan on November 30, 2013 at 3:48 am

    LOVE. Thanks for the inspiration. :)

  193. [...] Below is a comic about becoming friends with failure, and the personal/professional development one can get from this relationship. [...]

  194. Be Friends with Failure | Hedition on November 30, 2013 at 7:06 am

    [...] Be Friends with Failure Share this:TwitterFacebookGoogleLike this:Like Loading… Link [...]

  195. [...] It is that message, and a friend brave enough to share it, that helped me; it even came with a lovely cartoon. [...]

  196. Some quick inspiration :) | kcorymwritingandart on November 30, 2013 at 10:36 am

    [...] Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… [...]

  197. Phil G-E on November 30, 2013 at 11:43 am

    Would be good reading for every parent as a reminder of what could be instead of what should be (note to self!).

  198. Yasush on December 1, 2013 at 6:57 am

    This applies not only to practicing art but every challenge you face in life. I like when while working I get 4000 errors from an application and I literally don’t give a damn and I win at the end. Failure is a sign that you are learning something. Good one. Thanks

  199. Neha on December 1, 2013 at 7:14 am

    You are so so so awesome… I absolutely loved this one. I had my first dance performance yesterday and it was not as good as I’d hoped it would be. Though I knew all of the stuff here, Seeing it again and the way you put together everything, really glued it in for me. The baby example is so apt and helpful! Keep up the good work. Thanks!

    • stephen on December 2, 2013 at 8:10 pm

      Congrats on your first performance! That is so cool! Thanks for being here, Neha!

  200. Caleb Fairchild on December 1, 2013 at 8:02 am

    Thank You!!!! I really needed this after confronting failure again and again lately it can get depressing.. You deserve a big hug!

  201. Kimberly on December 1, 2013 at 9:49 am

    This is great, well written and powerful, the message is something that many people would need to reminded.
    I more or less gave up art after taking an art class since I felt that compared to the other students my work was so rubbish so why bother. On the whole I’m very harsch on myself if I can’t get it perfect at first try I often give up.
    Trying to write a book right now and this will help me not to give up when I don’t get it right at once.

    Actually I think this is something that many people would need to read, I would very much if it’s ok with you translate it into Swedish for those who find English hard to read. Keeping the drawings and your name and just change the text.

    • stephen on December 2, 2013 at 8:11 pm

      Feel free! Can you upload it online and send me a link when you’re done?

  202. Susan Wood on December 1, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Wow – I do not believe in hap and chance – this was the first outside influence to enter my brain this morning, and I am stuck how this pep talk of yours is EXACTLY what I need – every day. As I was writing last night, and sleeping on what I wrote as it made its way across the neural passageways into closed boxes of memories, my wakening thought this morning was that I never try to do anything creative as it will never be as good as I have seen it done before. Thank you for this affirmation.

    • Susan Wood on December 1, 2013 at 1:28 pm

      oh dear – I meant struck…lol – stuck and struck…hmmm I am struck how I am stuck!

      • stephen on December 2, 2013 at 8:13 pm

        Ha ha, no biggie. Good luck with your creative pursuits!

  203. Fun, Interesting, Sad News Stories. - Page 3 on December 1, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    [...] Re: Fun, Interesting, Sad News Stories. Be Friends with Failure | Doodle Alley [...]

  204. Tosa on December 1, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    i think this is the best motivation that i have ever read!! Thank so much for making this!!

  205. [...] Be friends with failure → [...]

  206. Veronica on December 1, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    This is a great comic with an important message, but… how can you be comfortable with failure? I love to draw, but sometimes…sometimes I can get so mad and upset. I know I shouldn’t, and I know I should try to be okay with it, but it’s hard. There’s so many things that I want to draw, but…
    I don’t know. It just feels like I can never get past the feeling of failure. It probably doesn’t help that I’m a bit of a perfectionist.
    So, how do you get past it? How do you deal with failure?

    • Tommy on December 2, 2013 at 7:33 pm

      Here’s how you deal with failure. Take a screenshot, a camera shot, and go onto the next piece, preserving what you learned. Each failure is a lesson to learn. Failure is pain, and anger. Redirect them into the next effort in a way that suits your aims– but don’t fuel your life on pain and anger. Celebrate the successes and what you did right. Learn for the next time how to act deliberately so as to get thru the next problem. The next piece is almost always better, even if it takes many iterations. No one but you has to know that your one lauded piece had fifteen efforts before it, now recycled or in a closet somewhere. You never get to own or make perfection, because it’s in the eye of the beholder– not you. Instead, you get to free yourself to be who you are, not an unattainable symbol of the ideal you. Accept yourself and your failures, and you’ll have learned much wisdom.

  207. Mike Scott on December 1, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    This is awesome. The frame about ‘repeating the same method over and over’ kind of looks like some of my work. D’oh!

  208. Cyndi on December 1, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    There is great beauty in our imperfections.

  209. David Sigmon on December 1, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    Where was this lesson hiding 6 decades ago? I’ll just have to put it to good use during the second half of my journey. Thank you for unlocking the door.

  210. Gordon Bonnet on December 1, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    This is absolute brilliance, and I wish someone had told me all of this 30 years ago! I’m sharing the absolute hell out of it.

  211. Wirda on December 1, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    This is a great blog, and so true… I found this on my sisters fb link and well, I had to share it on mine too. I know so many people are hard on themselves including me, very inspirational. Thank you.

  212. Scott on December 2, 2013 at 2:40 am

    This is excellent. Thanks for sharing.

  213. Greta Olivas on December 2, 2013 at 3:03 am

    This is awesome! I love it! We artists need to read this and know we are not alone and realize that we do learn from our failures! Thank you!

  214. zachary on December 2, 2013 at 3:38 am

    There’s a very good lesson in this. While I doubt very much that, “Art like a baby!” is a slogan likely to take off anytime soon, the message is on-point. Very good and necessary message.

  215. Reflecting in the Face of Failure | Dear Suzanne on December 2, 2013 at 6:07 am

    [...] when I starting to feel low, someone posted this comic, Be Friends with Failure, on Facebook. And then I remembered, without failures, we’ll never grow and learn more about [...]

  216. agueda on December 2, 2013 at 6:58 am

    thank you for sharing this. I really need this, with law school and all. You rock! :)

  217. Tim De los Reyes on December 2, 2013 at 10:13 am

    Thanks for this one. I’ve kept from practicing my art just because of this very issue. It’s really been a sticking point for me, like I want to be great just coming out of the gate. Intellectually I know it’s unreasonable, but there’s that deep-seated fear that’s hard to shake. Your comic reminds me that it’s something everyone faces, and your unique perspective really brought it under a different light for me.

    Thank you!

  218. Something Good | A Thousand Shades of Gray on December 2, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    [...] Be Friends with Failure on Doodle [...]

  219. Joshua Courtright on December 2, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    This does not suck. Thank you, from every artist everywhere…

  220. sharleen on December 2, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    I think we just need to make friends with “being” … I made friends with failure a long time ago… and with grief and sorrow too… but I will never make friends with cruelty… I liked your riff on the kid nobody wants to eat lunch with … maybe we should all try imagining what that FEELS like…

    thanks for the nourishment!

  221. Johanan Rakkav on December 2, 2013 at 11:08 pm

    The irony is that the “great art” on top is only “great art” in the eyes of self-deluded schools of artists who forget that the purpose of art is to communicate.

    But you are so spot-on with the arc overall and the really telling thing for me was the panel about beginners verses masters. A famous Celtic harpist put it this way and I told her it was really liberating advice: “If you never let yourself be a true beginner, you’ll never become a true master.”

    People have asked me why I have such confidence as a public speaker. I tell them the simple truth: I’ve already made every mistake possible so on a certain level, I just don’t care anymore.

    I was brought here by a friend on Facebook. Thanks for these panels!

    • Johanan Rakkav on December 2, 2013 at 11:25 pm

      “If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster / And treat these two imposters just the same…” – “IF”, R. Kipling

    • Johanan Rakkav on December 2, 2013 at 11:29 pm

      Picasso (for example) did some really unorthodox stuff, but so far as I can see he never forgot the purpose of art and that’s why even his “weirdest stuff” is so powerful.

  222. MAKING FRIENDS WITH FAILURE | Island, Sea and Sky on December 2, 2013 at 11:20 pm

    [...] friend on Facebook pointed me to this: an excellent meditation in words and drawings. There are a lot of comments there but I decided to leave one [...]

  223. Monday Roundup! | My Blog on December 2, 2013 at 11:51 pm

    [...] LOVE Stephen McCranie’s Doodle Alley site!  These little comics make me so [...]

  224. [...] Be Friends with Failure - This is a comic that shares a learning experience. [...]

  225. Neno on December 3, 2013 at 5:17 am

    Thank you for this beautifully depicted struggle of every artist and human out there.

  226. Amaris Ng on December 3, 2013 at 5:25 am

    I hope you take the time to read this / see this :

    Hello! I’m 13, asian, and I have big dreams, so many things I want to become. I want to become a fashion / graphic designer, still do. But in the years of failing, I became less enthusiastic about drawing because the thought of failing and by looking at the not-so pleasant work I’d done made me doubt it, tho I still get so excited when I see those artsy stuff, not paintings and those boring stuff, haha. But after I had seen this wonderful comic, not only with a wonderful encouragement, I suddenly gained back more excitement than before for art. Thank you! You might’ve saved my future. Hahahaha, sort of. But you get what I mean :)

    • stephen on December 6, 2013 at 6:29 pm

      That’s cool! Let me know how things go!

  227. Pathiban on December 3, 2013 at 6:55 am


  228. Mohd Faisal on December 3, 2013 at 8:38 am

    This is Amazing…!!! thnx for the inspiration…!!!

  229. Kory ambrosich on December 3, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    This whole site is fabulous! You do nurture my soul, and I’m a mathematician. It’s good for Life. I especially showed it to my 8-year-old daughter, who has recently been sitting down to draw or paint, and ending in tears after a few strokes. She is having exactly this problem, and I have not been able to help her through it yet. Thanks for sharing your perspective with her!

    • stephen on December 6, 2013 at 6:27 pm


  230. LuciCJ on December 3, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    The considerations above are not only applicable to painting, but to photography, as well. May I admit that I’ve kind of passed through all the described stages, and still have pretty much room to evolve.

    At first, I thought I made quite good photos.. until taking a course and realizing I knew nothing about composition. After the course, I thought I was doing great until confronting with the competition and trying to go commercial. After more rebuttals, I started to improve my technique, identified a niche in which I fare best – nighttime urban photography – and whilst it is in that field that I try uploading commercial photos, I constantly try to evolve… though until becoming a genuine artist, I believe there is a long way to go.

  231. Be Friends With Failure on December 3, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    [...] The inspirational comic in the series Doodle Alley by Stephen McCranie, “Be Friends With Failu… deserves to be shared widely. It focuses on a very basic truth, but which many never learn, and as a result, they give up because they aren’t immediately good at something, rather than realizing that failing frequently is the only path to success. An excerpt is provided below. Click through to see the rest. [...]

  232. GabZero on December 3, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    Thank you very much for this…. I needed something like this comic. Thanks

  233. Joe Boyd on December 3, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    This is really great. I don’t normally post my own stuff on people’s blogs, but I just did a regional TED talk on failure as the key to success. Since I was encouraged by yours, I thought you might like mine too –

    • stephen on December 6, 2013 at 6:24 pm

      Awesome, thanks!

  234. Kalumis on December 3, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    How good it is to read something like this…. Put this in pictures is really something precious and good to share with everyone in doubt or on its way to improve itself…

    I’ve got an experience pretty personnal with my friend Failure… Long ago, I’ve been to a “stone craft” teaching practice. I discovered this art there, and that was pretty amazing. One day, I miss a stroke and a corner of my stone fell apart. I was shocked. The hard part in stone craft is that everything is a one shot straight action. You can never repair or get back.

    As I was trying to repair it desesperatly, my teacher walk to me, watch me struggle for few minutes. I was truly on the edge, ready to cry, I knew that the stone couldn’t ever be used as its first purpose. He took my hand and said to me : ” Get yourself together. Don’t bother. If it’s broke, it was meant to be broke. See this as a new beauty and see with the others students what you can make with it, ok ? Don’t cry, everything will be ok, there’s plenty things to do with your new shape of stone.”

    Stone craft is definitely not my art but theses words have an echo in my heart since that day. Your comic here is a real new shape to theses words. Thank you :)

    • stephen on December 6, 2013 at 6:24 pm

      That’s a really great story! Thanks for sharing!

  235. s0z0 on December 3, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    Wowwee I could hug you right now.

  236. [...] Be Friends with Failure | Doodle Alley. Share this:TwitterFacebookGoogleLike this:Like Loading… [...]

  237. Cindsters on December 4, 2013 at 12:33 am

    A friend shared with me this link and thank you so much for the inspiration! I needed to see this today. =*)))

  238. Be Friends with Failure | Little Elm Theatre on December 4, 2013 at 1:37 am

    [...] Be Friends with Failure Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… [...]

  239. Fred Koehler on December 4, 2013 at 2:50 am

    Being a successful artist isn’t necessarily measured in financial terms but it sure helps!

  240. Frankie on December 4, 2013 at 4:04 am

    Thanks for your effort putting this on website, it does help a lot of people to see thing clearly ! THX!

  241. Being Friends With Failure. | Creative F5 on December 4, 2013 at 6:46 am

    [...] Share this:TwitterFacebookGoogleGoogle+ Kara LinkonisLike this:Like Loading… Posted by Kara Linkonis. Categories: Uncategorized. Leave a comment [...]

  242. Aprilian Wahyu on December 4, 2013 at 8:16 am

    One more motivation to live the day and see the better picture
    Keep posting something like this
    Thx so much

  243. BayuBaron on December 4, 2013 at 11:48 am

    I would like to say that not only for artists, it’s a great encouragement for everyone on everything they do. Thank you so much for reminding me that I wanted to start working on new things like 3D designing that has been so hard I almost gave up few days ago.

    ps: bookmarked, I want to see more :)

  244. creative dessert on December 4, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    [...] {plus a couple of interesting/hilarious examples by famous people} * A great little cartoon about making friends with failure  {not my favourite f word but the message is [...]

  245. brandon on December 4, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    moral of the story be a failure

  246. dyan on December 4, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    been motivated by this cartoon.thank you!

  247. The Art of Standing Back Up | GOOD NEWS on December 4, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    [...] Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… Bookmark the permalink. [...]

  248. Failure is Awesome | Crazy Bread on December 4, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    [...] Share this:TwitterFacebookGoogleLike this:Like Loading… [...]

  249. Kerri Stites on December 4, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    :) Thank you for writing this. It’s been on my mind also. God bless!!!

  250. Rain on December 5, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    This is awesome! :D And so motivating. Thank you for this! ^-^
    It’s exactly what I needed. :)

  251. syazwani on December 5, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    thank u very much, this is really motivating!:)

  252. Amelia on December 5, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    Thank u so much for this motivating comic!

  253. [...] Be Friends With Failure [...]

  254. jayel on December 5, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    Thank you.

  255. Eric on December 6, 2013 at 1:45 am

    A quick scroll through the comments reveals any number of “thank yous” and compliments and such. However, I am shaken so deeply that I had to add mine – I struggle every day with the voices in my head telling me that my writing isn’t good enough, why do I even bother, etc… and then I write something, and it sucks, and the voices sit back and say “see? we told you.” So I haven’t written anything in months now. This – this was what I needed to light the fires again. There are tears running down my face. Do you mind if I print this out? Or do you have a print I could order?

    …Thank you.

    • stephen on December 6, 2013 at 6:13 pm

      Eric! Thanks for sharing– I hate those voices and I’m really happy for you. I’ll be making a poster of this comic soon. keep in touch!

  256. sofia on December 6, 2013 at 5:28 am

    thank you :)

  257. [...] it here before, it bears repeating that failure is a huge component to any creative process. (This cartoon does a great job illustrating (haha) this point.) I failed epically recently. My brother and [...]

  258. Sinatrya on December 6, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    damn rock.. thank you Mister

  259. Fun Things To Read On A Friday on December 6, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    [...] *More good advice on how to Be Friends With Failure. [...]

  260. Stefanie on December 6, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    LOVE this! Wise Witty, Soulful and Resonate…A friend just recommended this Blog to me and I am so grateful to her….and you! I am tippy toeing out of the Artist Broom Closet and just a great piece to my puzzle!

  261. Candice on December 7, 2013 at 2:38 am

    Amazing comic strip Sir…you’ve inspired me. God bless you! :)

  262. Arun on December 7, 2013 at 9:10 am

    Great work…

  263. donna on December 7, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    Ah yes, if only I’d read this when I started *GRIN*! I drove myself insane with thinking I was not good enough, it still would have been hard and still is, always learning, but it would have been nice to know it wasn’t just me :-). Ta for this x

  264. Deb Vozniak on December 7, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    Thank you so much for this. I really needed to see this today and I’m going to post this in my house to keep it in my mind every day!

  265. Sweet Marie's Thread - on December 7, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    [...] Sweet Marie's Thread A little creative inspiration for the day. See the full version here: Be Friends with Failure | Doodle Alley I used to be a very creative person, always trying out new things and eager to learn how to do [...]

  266. Deepak Gupta on December 7, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    It motivated me

  267. sajith on December 7, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    Its really nice … useful tip…

  268. Ike Marshall on December 8, 2013 at 8:42 am


  269. Be Friends With Failure | i.Magine Media on December 8, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    [...] Here are a few encouraging illustrations that spoke to me. If you’d like to read more, check out [...]

  270. Gary on December 9, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    Is there a poster version available? I’m a teacher and I would love to have this in my classroom

  271. Cure for Mondays | Eat, Pray, Lift on December 9, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    [...] sucking at life is part of becoming great at life. True story. That’s why we all need to Be Friends With Failure before we can be friends with [...]

  272. Writers, make a friend of failure - BookBaby Blog on December 9, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    [...] you’re struggling with writer’s block, or just being too hard on yourself — check out this comic strip by Stephen [...]

  273. Janaki Raghavan on December 10, 2013 at 3:20 am

    Seems to be created just for me – I’ve never got anything right the first time or rather the first 20 times so this is really comforting and the graphics are lovely

  274. Lil Miss Epic on December 11, 2013 at 5:29 am

    Hello, I just wanted to let you know that this was so inspiring that I’m going to share it with my fellow viewers and get them interested too. I hope to spread the inspiration further than it has already traveled to get to me. I love it. Keep doing what you do, and as your comic says, never give up.

  275. seeker on December 11, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    Your post came at the right time. May I use part of your comics credit to you to introduce you. I love your wisdom especially the child.

  276. MxnWhoWalks on December 11, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    This is great! I just restarted prepping for a big exam, and have found that if I laugh at my error(s) when I make mistakes in the problems I’m working, I can maintain my concentration and continue forward, and like you have implied, learn and grow. Plus I feel light inside. When I scowl or get mad at myself, I start making more mistakes and the circle is a vicious one.

    • stephen on December 19, 2013 at 6:30 pm

      Nice! Lately, I’ve been trying to see the positive side of my mistakes. They exist! Often I realize mistakes can be blessings in disguise.

  277. Mayur on December 12, 2013 at 5:13 am

    This is highly motivating and inspirational

  278. Be Friends with Failure | Chidambaram Sethu on December 12, 2013 at 10:32 am

    [...] Share this:FacebookTwitterPinterestTumblrLinkedInRedditStumbleUponGoogleEmailPrintLike this:Like Loading… This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. [...]

  279. Cameron on December 12, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    Does this apply to writers too?

    • stephen on December 19, 2013 at 6:29 pm


  280. shreyas on December 13, 2013 at 4:59 am

    very good well said

  281. Amy in Oz on December 13, 2013 at 6:10 am

    This is great! My daughter tells me lots that she isn’t good at this or that. But, as with walking and using a pencil and singing and most other skills, it takes a long time for the hand-eye coordination to become refined, and the muscle memory to form so you can do it with more and more ease. Love this!

    Any chance you might make this into a booklet for our bookshelf? (Or can I print it into a booklet with your credit and permission?) It would be great for her to be able to revisit this every now and again. And i think this would be so perfect for a school library.

    • stephen on December 19, 2013 at 6:27 pm

      Hey! I’ll be making it into a poster soon! Stay tuned.

  282. Best of the Webesphere: 10.12.13 | Style Create Heal on December 13, 2013 at 10:37 am

    [...] Awww…I think you should totally make friends with failure. [...]

  283. Garlond on December 13, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    Thank you!

  284. Ana on December 13, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    Thank you for sharing this! Is there any chance this could be made into a poster? I’d love to hang it on my wall *and* have a way to support you.

  285. [...] for my other youth group (Y'know, the one where almost everyone talks to me??). It's so pretty. Be Friends with Failure | Doodle Alley Also…I think maybe I should stop being so hard on myself with what I do. The main thing I can [...]

  286. Sol on December 13, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    Ohhh, thank you so much! I always felt so much like the freaky boy (well, I’d be a freaky girl) sitting alone… I always felt I’ll never be good enaugh at illustration, there are so many amazing artists out there OMG! And some time ago I took up violin. I guess I enjoy suffering, LOL! It’s one of the hardest things to learn on Earth, but its beauty is worth it. This kind of “comic” you made helps me keep on doing it :)

    Thank you so much! It’s very beautiful, creative, and filled with very important contents.


  287. alli on December 15, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    I thought that it was funny especially the part with the baby. But this made me realize… Why do we take pride in not only our triumphs but the downfall of others? That’s why I am deciding to be friends with everyone and yes that includes failure.

  288. MagiHat on December 18, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    Thank you so much for this, it addresses a lot of fears and insecurities that I have carried for…pretty much all my life. I’d always feared failure (and thus, feared even trying) because I believed it meant that I was never going to be good enough no matter how good I got. It doesn’t help that my inner voice can be quite quite abusive and critical.

    This comic proves those fears SO wrong! I look at it every time I feel down about my work. I feel like I can begin to enjoy and appreciate my creative endeavors again because of this and also, for once, actually appreciate failure instead of running from it.

    Thanks again!

    • stephen on December 19, 2013 at 6:15 pm

      You’re welcome! I’m really glad that you’ve had some freedom from that critical voice! That’s awesome.

  289. Befriend Failure | virtualDavis on December 19, 2013 at 1:55 am

    [...] McCranie is a cartoonist. Befriend Failure (Credit: My goal is to make good ideas easy to access, understand, and share. To this end, I create comics [...]

  290. Victor Costa on December 19, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    Thank You.

  291. elbara on December 20, 2013 at 12:06 am

    Thank you for this pictures … It’ll help many people to overcome failure and it make me better…

  292. Elizabeth on December 20, 2013 at 9:40 am

    Welcoming failure is a freakishly hard accomplishment. These drawings are magnificent and have a strong message. I’ve linked back to them on my website as a kudos.

    • stephen on January 8, 2014 at 10:27 pm


  293. Darmowe szablony www on December 22, 2013 at 12:15 am

    Excellent Blog!|
    These are truly enormous ideas in on the topic of blogging. You have touched some nice points here.
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  294. Lee on December 22, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    I really needed this right now. Thank you.

  295. [...] is a bit longer installment than I usually have on Sunday but I think this strip by Stephen McCranie explains so well how silly it is for us to be so hard on ourselves, to expect perfection in every [...]

  296. DebK on December 22, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    Thank you so much for this post. Perfectionism is the monster that harasses me. Posts like yours keep me willing to start over.

  297. Be gentle with yourself | 3 B Street Blog on December 24, 2013 at 4:07 am

    [...] found this amazing comic about that very same [...]

  298. Leah Coutts on December 24, 2013 at 4:31 am

    Absolutely fabulous series of cartoons! This message is so so important for all those attempting to learn a new skill, or to become better at a skill already part-learned. I’m so pleased I found this post, I will be sharing with all my students!

  299. Mary Kaye on December 28, 2013 at 1:11 am

    You’re really good at this encouragement stuff! Please keep at it, and keep blessing people. Thanks! Mary Kaye

  300. Una ensaladita de enlaces… | Andrés Avaray on December 28, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    [...] que querrías llegar a ser por mucho que tu ego y tus fantasías te lo demanden. Tan sólo se puede trabajar, mejorar, echarle ganas y disfrutar del proceso. Como decían algunos sabios chinos, lo mejor es hacer, y olvidarse de los resultados. Puede leerse aquí. [...]

  301. LeeMrk on December 28, 2013 at 11:54 pm

    I am wondering if you have this (Making Friends with Failure) available as a poster? I am a teacher, and the biggest barrier to my students’ success is NOT their intelligence; it is their unwillingness to take risks (aka “Fear of Failure” in edu-speak). THIS is brilliant, and I would REALLY like to have this up in my classroom. :)


  302. Failure | Learn Through Failure on December 29, 2013 at 3:31 am

    [...] Be Friends with Failure - This is a comic that shares a learning experience. [...]

  303. December Link Roundup | The Story of Rei on December 30, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    [...] Do you write? Do you make art? You need to read this: “Be Friends With Failure“ [...]

  304. lori on December 30, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    I have “known” this before… but this is the first time that my inside critics have actually gotten the message. Thank you.

  305. kredyt bez zaswiadczen on January 1, 2014 at 11:39 am

    It’s appropriate time to make some plans
    for the future and it’s time to be happy. I’ve read this post
    and if I could I desire to suggest
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    Maybe you could write next articles referring to this article.
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  306. Leon De Vose, II on January 1, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    Excellent article.

    The baby analogy is powerful.

    Thank you for trying enough times until you produced this.

    Your success tells me I have no right to consider giving up.

    Thank you!

  307. Daniel Whitener Music » Fail Many, Many Times on January 4, 2014 at 4:22 am

    [...] master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.” This is an important message for all students. If you don’t fail many, many times, you won’t [...]

  308. Erica Edwards on January 4, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    Love this comic! I never thought about failure that way. It will help a lot of people get past that fear.

  309. [...] for the artists and creators especially, Doodle Alley suggests we Be Friends With Failure. Share this:TwitterFacebookGoogleLike this:Like [...]

  310. Miia on January 9, 2014 at 12:56 am

    very inspiring! brought your book right after reading this :) please keep up the good work! Andrew Price brought me here btw~

    • Miia on January 9, 2014 at 12:56 am


  311. Pratik on January 12, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    Hi! This is the first time I’ve come to this website so I have no idea who you are and what you do. But this comic is brilliant! Thank you for your time and thoughts…

  312. St John on January 18, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    Thank you. I will share this with every one.

  313. Shan on January 20, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    Can’t leave without a say: it’s inspiring, it’s motivating and it’s simply awesome! :D

    • stephen on January 31, 2014 at 12:53 am

      Thanks Shan!

  314. Rob on February 4, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    Thank you for curing my depression!

    • stephen on February 21, 2014 at 10:57 pm

      Wow! I’m glad it helped.

  315. coming up with ideas | The Alien Everyday on February 13, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    […] Be Friends with Failure by Stephen McCraine: failure is not a bad thing, seriously. While it might not feel like it, trying something and not executing it well does teach you something other than frustration. […]

  316. […] Be Friends With Failure – Comic on understanding learning skills, failing and succeeding. […]

  317. […] Here’s one I like, called, “Be Friends with Failure”. […]

  318. […] isn’t a post about coping with failure. For starters this comic already did it better, and secondly I realised I’ve actually been confusing failure with […]

  319. Matt Sowerssrsbry on February 28, 2014 at 12:55 am

    Really really good – I liked it. It’s great to read something with a message that transcends the usual ‘how can I make myself happier’ crap. This is beautiful, I would buy it for someone as a gift its so nice.

    • stephen on March 9, 2014 at 3:07 am

      Thanks! I’m going to be selling posters soon!

  320. S on March 3, 2014 at 2:44 am

    The part about the baby is so profound. It has literally changed my life. Thank you.

  321. […] El fracaso es un subproducto de los procesos de aprendizaje y crecimiento. Nadie nace sabiendo. Dicen que lo que diferencia a un maestro y a un aprendiz es que el maestro ha fallado más veces de las que el aprendiz siquiera lo ha intentado. Detrás de cada éxito suele haber una ristra enorme de intentos fallidos, de probaturas, de idas y venidas, de alternativas que no salieron bien. El éxito nunca es una línea recta, aunque desde fuera tendamos a creer que sí. […]

  322. Hannah on March 12, 2014 at 4:51 am

    So glad to see so much positive feedback. It is well deserved. I’ve heard this idea before but you executed it masterfully. Thank you.

  323. Jay Wilson Jr. on March 30, 2014 at 2:13 am

    Amazing! I have never heard/read about success and failure in the way that you described here. Great job!! This has just become my all time favorite comic! AMAZING!!! I feel like something just clicked in my mind, my life is forever altered because of what I just read.

    Thank You.

    • stephen on April 19, 2014 at 4:45 am

      You’re welcome!

  324. […] I recently discovered this wonderful website by artist and writer Stephen McCranie. You could spend hours clicking on every one of his comics/lessons. Here’s a good place to start, with his lesson on why we should be happy to make friends with failure. […]

  325. Be Friends with Failure | The Mexi Movie on April 9, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    […] via Be Friends with Failure. Click on the link to view the entire […]

  326. RenRen on April 16, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    Hi. I just want to say that this comic, has inspir— no.. motivated me, to strive harder and practice more with my art. Just like you, I draw stuff. But, sometimes, when i see great artists with their works of art, i compare them with the ones i made, then i frown at myself and give up. But with this comic, it made me realized that I just lack practice – not talent. Failures and criticisms are parts of enhancing one’s skill and I shouldn’t let those bite me. So thanks. :)

    • stephen on April 19, 2014 at 12:04 am

      You’re welcome! I’m glad. Good luck to you!

  327. […] Making Friends With Failure […]

  328. Alison on April 30, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Thank you.

    • stephen on April 30, 2014 at 10:59 pm


  329. Falah on May 5, 2014 at 3:45 am

    This comic, along with Stanley Lau’s “Draw it Again” (, inspired me to return to graphic art after a drought of three years. I’m currently working on learning how to draw hands by sketching them every day, and then I’ll move onto poses.

    I’m posting this comic in response to everyone who feels discouraged, in not just drawing, but writing, music, leading, anything. Thank you for making this.

    • stephen on May 7, 2014 at 11:22 pm

      You’re welcome!

  330. ray hann on May 6, 2014 at 7:38 am

    inspiring and moving!!!! thumbs up!! >__<

  331. […] a look at his blog, I know you’ll enjoy it as much as I have. One piece in particular, “Be Friends With Failure,” fits very well with my mantra, “Embrace The […]

  332. […] ‘‘You want to know the difference between a master and a beginner? The master has failed more t…  […]

  333. Kavita on July 10, 2014 at 10:03 am

    Its truly inspiring. Taking your permission – can I use your comic strips in my presentations.


    • stephen on August 5, 2014 at 6:46 pm

      Go ahead! Just give me credit and mention the website.

  334. in0chi on July 29, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    wow your comics are really deep, i like it. the first one reminds me how i felt learning japanese.

    • stephen on August 5, 2014 at 6:47 pm

      A lot of these comics came out of my Japanese learning experience actually!

  335. […] Doodle Alley […]

  336. Hena on September 1, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    Comics and novels taught me more about life than anyone else has. Thanks for the encouragement, amd i hope you are still friends with failure.

    • stephen on September 2, 2014 at 4:10 pm

      Thanks Hena! I definitely am. It’s a love-hate relationship.

  337. […] Be Friends with Failure | Doodle Alley […]

  338. You Can’t Write Well Until You Write Poorly | on October 5, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    […] his post, Be Friends with Failure, cartoonist Stephan McCranie keys in on a very important principle, that the master has failed more […]

  339. […] a great cartoon on failure, visit “Be Friends with Failure” from the blog Doodle Alley by Stephen McCranie. Here’s a frame from that […]

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  343. Failing…All Over the Internet. @ Propelle on October 28, 2014 at 11:54 am

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  344. Be Friends with Failure | Michael Flisak on November 3, 2014 at 4:27 pm

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