Tag: advice

Your Art is crap…but that’s okay

I’ve been putting it off for too long.

Let me fill you in: I wrote a novel four years ago. My first reaction? Hell YEAH! Take that Stephen King. Eat my dust JK Rowling. James Patterson—who’s that?! So there it was, a completed manuscript, in my hard drive, fermenting in digital soy sauce. And you know what? I was happy. I was exuberant. I was feeling like a freakin’ genius.

I read it last week.

 

It was crap. Damn…

I’ve written a few rudimentary novels in my twenty-seven years alive. I really cared about this one. That’s why it hurt. That’s why it hit me hard. That’s why I’m writing about it now.

Listen up. I believe this.

I believe that all artists—directors, writers, painters, singers, rappers, poets, and interpretative mime artists—take their art seriously. Too seriously. We’re an insecure group that craves affirmation and acceptance. We want people to say: “Hey, that was awesome!” although know-one truly cares. We want people to call us a genius, when, most of the time, our best work will remain invisible.

I envision my writing craft as a Jujitsu-trained pelican. It stabs me with its bill every time I make a mistake. It hits me hard. Every time. Pelicans don’t like me. Interesting fact.

Moving on.

I had to be honest: Kane, you’re a crap writer. Your sock choices are horrendous, too. Idiot.

But wait. Was it really that bad?

Think break. It hit me when I was on the MRT. There are levels to crap. It’s true—every profession, every artwork, every piece of work. So I began to think: what did I really do?

I transformed a dream…into a reality.

We often don’t give ourselves credit, but sometimes, the simple act of creating is enough. Transforming a dream into a reality, something you can see, read and touch, is an incredible feat. It takes time. It takes focus. It takes blood, sweat and repeated pokes to the heart. So what if we weren’t so self critical all the time? Where would that lead us?

Here’s my advice: Just complete. See your creations through.

Create your own story—an oil painting, a film, a stick figure drawing—and finish it. Make it personal. Care about it. Love it. Don’t have sex with it. That’s weird. But love the process.

Sometimes we need to think of our work as crap to push ourselves forward. And it’s okay to admit when it’s not your best work. Sometimes we put in infinite amounts of effort, and get nothing back.

Know this: you are making better crap every time. Slow steps. There are geniuses in the world. The simple fact is all of us aren’t. So practice and go through those growing pains. Pain is growth.

Right now I’m editing the second draft of my young adults novel. I’m looking back at myself four years ago, and I can see the intention, the enthusiasm, the fire to finish. But…

Art will never be perfect.

There will always be a “better idea”, a “better sentence” or a “better shot”. Make mistakes. Learn to love them. Do better next time.

So keep going. Success is just over that hill of crap.

Catch up Post…with a Little Soul Searching!

Hey everyone!

It’s been a while but I’m finally back! These last few weeks have been pretty hectic, but I’ve finally managed to catch a breather heading into the final few months of the year. Someone once told me life is good when it’s busy, so I’m trying to adopt that mantra from here on out! Wish me luck!

As you’ve probably seen, I’ve also been working on a few projects that I hope to get off the ground soon, as well as, catching up on a few others that I’ve been neglecting. Buuut..in between all that work, I did something else.

Two weeks ago, I visited my old secondary school. I don’t know how that idea came about. I think I wanted to explore my past a little bit more and soul search – to get reacquainted with my past (and much more creative) self. That’s deep right?

Anyways it represents a pretty huge chunk of my life – from ages 15 – 18 (I migrated from England to Singapore…so I had to be put back a couple of years). And during that visit, I discovered a whole bunch of cool things.

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Yep that’s my name engraved in my school’s plaque for ‘Best Overall Student 2005!’

It’s pretty cool and I didn’t know it even existed until I visited. All I remember from 2005 is that I studied like a mad man for two years. I sacrificed a  lot back then, and I’m pleased that it has, in some way, paid off. I  did well in my exams that year which has eventually led me to where I am right now. I’m grateful for that and all the teachers that got me there.

Anyways, it just goes to show how somethings come full circle. You really don’t know the impact of your current actions until you step back and look at it from a distance. I know nobody has probably wondered who I am from looking at that plaque, but to me, it represents a lot of effort, people and good times. It’s those lessons I will take with me into my professional and personal life in the future.

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They also have a little picture of me after I received my Diploma. Niiiice!

I’m currently now working on an ebook/animation bible called ‘Dinosaurs…with Problems’. The major change right now is that I’ve changed the protagonist from a wild courageous boy to a neurotic girl (kinda like Nancy Drew..if she was terrified of everything and a complete control freak).

I’ve been trying to figure out the main story and how it would flow over the series. To me, weird characters just appeal to me more. They need quirks, fears and nuances. The more the better. They can’t all be good..or righteous or fearless. The best characters are always flawed and sometimes, deeply so.

For Dinosaurs…with Problems, it’s still a children’s comedy adventure aimed at ages 8-15, so I think I can have fun with it. Can’t say much else, other than it is a hybrid of Jurassic Park meets Pokemon!

Stay tuned for details on that!

In the meantime, how about you tell me about your secondary school experience! Was it a nightmare? Or the best time of your life?

Developing the Characters: Lola the Stego

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Prepare for a new post soon regarding my new project. It’s shaping up nicely. It’s fun, it’s personal and it’s very very me. But for now…

This is Lola. She’s a Stegosaurus. She has a problem (can anyone guess it?)

Will be working more on developing the other characters too. I haven’t used my sketchbook this much in years!