The Secret to Being a Great Artist

November 25, 2014

Hello friends!

Recently, as gift to the wonderful people who subscribe to my newsletter, I drew a 45 page comic short story about a pig, entitled “The Secret to Being a Great Artist.” Here’s a preview of the first fifteen pages:

Would you like to read the rest? Sign up for my newsletter, and get a link to download the whole comic in PDF format! Thank you!

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42 Responses to The Secret to Being a Great Artist

  1. Oliver on November 26, 2014 at 2:43 am

    Can you please send me the download link once more?? I accidentally delete the email contains it, thank you very much for this wonderful comic!

    • stephen on December 3, 2014 at 1:30 am


    • Charline on December 16, 2014 at 1:47 am

      Same thing. Could you possibly resend it?

      • stephen on December 18, 2014 at 6:26 pm


        • Kacee on December 21, 2014 at 11:56 pm

          Same here, could you please resend it too? Thanks!

    • Abigail on January 21, 2015 at 3:22 pm

      Hi! I never got an email with it ;P Sorry to trouble you, but I really would like to read the rest of this comic.

      • stephen on January 23, 2015 at 6:42 pm

        Oh, sorry! Sending that now.

  2. […] McCranie over at has published a short comic entitled The Secret to Being a Great Artist. It is an incredible, beautiful, and intelligent piece of work that should required reading for any […]

  3. Andrew Rodriguez on November 26, 2014 at 4:24 am

    Hey there!
    I just want to say I have been following your blog for quite some time now. I’m also a comic artist with really (REALLY REALLY) big expectations for my webcomic. I’ve struggled with self-doubt in both myself and my art, for my entire life. I continue to. I have no audience outside my friends and family, but spend 40+ hours a week on my art. Sometimes it feels so hopeless.
    I just want to say that seeing you express these same insecurities with your lovely art…I don’t know…It just makes me feel a whole lot better. I look forward to watching your creations for many years.

    • stephen on December 3, 2014 at 1:30 am

      Thanks Andrew! Glad to hear that– keep in touch!

  4. Olivier Danchin on November 26, 2014 at 10:34 am

    Hello Mr McCranie,
    I know your website for some time and I really appreciate your work and your clever advices. I usually don’t comment on blogs but this time I have to do it. This comic is amazing. Beautiful drawing and very intelligent message. Bravo.

    • stephen on December 3, 2014 at 1:24 am

      Thanks Olivier! Much appreciated!

  5. Traci on November 26, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    Art with heart!

  6. Aya Sofya on November 26, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    Dear Stephen McCranie ,

    I really feel I owe you a BIG THANK YOU for this wonderful comic. I received it today and decided to read it and I was hooked in the first couple of seconds. My heart swelled with happiness when I finished.

    You see, I can totally related with the story—in a different way. I have this terrible dispensing workshop every Thursday (I am studying pharmacy) and I really hate every single moment of it. This comic makes me realize something important that I have forgotten: instead of focusing my energy to hate the workshop, I should try to enjoy it and see if it will make a difference.

    Plus, I do like to draw but now, somehow, I have stopped drawing because I think I am wasting my time. Career-wise, it has nothing to do with what I am studying. Also, I see lots of other people that are better in drawing/painting that I am so it kinda make me feel like it is pointless to do it. I feel like my drawings lack of life and a bit too stiff and unnatural. This comic asks me a serious question:”why do I like drawing in the first place?”

    I really like the style of the comic. It is very sweet and simple and emits a certain warmth that can’t be described with words. I am so glad I subscribed to you. Thank you again and keep up the good work.

    • stephen on December 3, 2014 at 1:23 am

      Yay! That’s awesome. Thanks for letting me know!

  7. Lisa Casaus on November 26, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    Thanks a bundle! This is just what I needed. It’s time to draw new things without worrying about how good they look. It is just time to draw.

    Heartwarming story, too, and I enjoy how readable your layout, text and pacing are. Content and a very digestible read make your comics a real pleasure. That is something to put into the “Must Reference” file! Thanks again!

  8. Elina on November 28, 2014 at 1:25 am

    I enjoyed reading this one a lot. I love how relate-able the characters are! Their quirks and misgivings make this comic even more lovable. Good work!

    • stephen on December 3, 2014 at 1:21 am


  9. Nadeem G on November 28, 2014 at 3:54 am

    Reading this feels like you had a lot of fun making it haha! Your work has been a tremendous help with mine but it is a cool change seeing your advice in story form. There’s a lot of character in it and that is one really huge lesson I’ve learned since I started.

    I was so critical and focused so much on technique and skill that I didn’t realize that it’s not JUST the content, but the character that matters too! It did help that the craft was improving too though, but really it is all good fun ;)

    This was a very refreshing story. Thanks again!

    • stephen on December 3, 2014 at 1:21 am

      You’re welcome!

  10. glosoli tofa on November 28, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    I like where this is going! I’m going to sign up for the newsletter so I can read the rest and get your updates ^o^ (….I keep coming back to your site. I really should have signed up earlier, haha.)

    • stephen on December 3, 2014 at 1:21 am

      Thank you!

  11. glosoli tofa on November 28, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    This is brilliant and so true to life. Thank you for making these comics, I am sure they will inspire and encourage many artists to come!

  12. Nick Allott on December 2, 2014 at 10:17 am

    Thank you, that was a beautiful comic. :)

    • stephen on December 3, 2014 at 1:20 am

      You’re welcome!

  13. Melanie C on January 29, 2015 at 1:59 am

    I’ve been following your work since last summer and it always inspires! Thanks for having the courage to be honest and transparent about the struggles we all face, and for communicating them through your art. This comic in particular made me really think through what it means to be a great artist and I realized I was believing some misconceptions.Keep up the great work;God has truly gifted you with the ability to impact lives. God bless, and I’ll be praying for you!

  14. Myrah on February 1, 2015 at 10:17 am

    Sorry but even I haven’t received the email with the
    newsletter. If it’s not too much trouble could you please resend it?

  15. Dan Dimond on February 5, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    Love your works and a big congrats. Sorry but even I haven’t received the email with the newsletter. If it’s not too much trouble could you please resend it?

  16. dpat on February 16, 2015 at 5:45 am

    I really enjoyed the story and how you did it. very heartwarming.

  17. amel on June 27, 2015 at 12:21 am

    Hi Stephen, I’ve already subscribed but I haven’t got my link. Could you please send me the download link? Much appreciated. Thanks!

  18. Brantz on July 14, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    Hello! I would like to get the rest of this comic. Could you send me the download link? Also, I ordered a comic on your store, but I will be moving at the beginning of next month. Do you know if it will make it to me before then?

  19. Curt Woodard on November 19, 2015 at 2:59 am

    Thank you for such a nice read ;) I’d love to finish reading your comic, what must I do to get the rest? I didn’t see it in the Store.

  20. mahen on December 12, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    please send me the comic…… i am curious..

  21. Peter C. Hayward on December 20, 2015 at 10:46 pm

    I signed up but didn’t get a link to the download! :(

  22. ejep on December 30, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    Hello! I signed up and was downloading the pdf happily.. But then my internet choked and now the file is damaged and won’t open. Would you please send me another link?? Thank you for your thoughtful, encouraging and lovely art!

  23. Charles on June 19, 2016 at 9:30 pm

    I erased the page that let me download it, whoops!!! Can you send me the pdf or download link? Thanks so much!!!

  24. Ron Bamberg on August 19, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    Hello Stephen, I just signed up for your newsletter and got the “Secret” pdf. Thanks so much; it made me cry because it truly says that what is in front of us (ie, people) is (should be) the most important thing. I see my art as an expression of me…I am its creator, and so it cannot be more important than me (as a vulnerable, but magical human being)… and it would not exist w/o the things I feel and bring out to share…my joys, my pain, my struggles, my friends, every person and experience that I find in front of me….just like Patrice finally realized! Thank you, and I look forward to more good stuff from you on the true “art” of living. Best….R

  25. buk_addict! on December 5, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    i didn’t get the email ,could you please send it ?

  26. Pily10 on March 12, 2017 at 8:21 am

    I really love this “Secret..” comic… when I was 10 (I think… not quite sure) I loved to draw… so I even used to draw on my desk at school and my schoolmates somehow admired my draws but I felt ashamed of them, one day that I was drawing I felt so angry at myself for drawing something so horrible so I wrinkled that paper and threw it away, surprisingly for me, two mates (that apparently were watching while I was drawing) ran to the trash can and rescued that wrinkle paper and started fighting for it… I was surprised and amazed ’caused I thought my drawing was shameful, I think that’s the most beautiful part of being an artist… that other people can appreciate your art even when you can’t, it may be ugly/bad/terrible to you, and perhaps it is, but if other people can enjoy your art too.. then I think is quite worth the effort.. The funny thing was that I was asked “how did you get so good at drawing?” or to teach them… and I always said: “how can I teach you when I’m not good enough myself??” and if you really like to draw then draw.. what do you need me for?… and if you wanna get better at drawing just keep practicing… don’t you guys see I’m still practicing??.. I think they thought I was a prideful “artist?” and maybe “full of myself” they even said that I said that because I was petty and didn’t want to share my knowledge.. and when I said my drawings were ugly they also took that as false modesty but I was being sincere, I’m still not good…and the truth is I’m still practicing TT_TT hehe but I draw because is fun sometimes and a few times I felt that reward of other enjoying my draws… (I’m sorry for my poor english since I’m not a native english speaker)

  27. Sophie on March 16, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    Hi Mr. McCranie, I purchased the book through another account, However, the account was deleted due to an age restriction. Could you possibly resend it? I have the confirmation email I can send if you would like further confirmation.

  28. Sophie on March 16, 2019 at 7:14 pm

    It is for the Space Boy Volume Three campaign, and I received this comic book from there, also.

  29. things work out | MIT Admissions on April 9, 2019 at 2:20 pm

    […] definitely the most entertaining readings I’ve had from a class. So far my favorite one has been The Secret to Being a Great Artist. <–The author shares the first fifteen pages of the comic here, but sign up for their […]

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