With this online art community, we have a unique opportunity to connect with our kindred. We must avail ourselves of this experience, for, once it's gone, it may never come again.
OBSERVATION #201 - Some thoughts I posted elsewhere which I wanted to also share with any interested parties here...
• ART PHILOSOPHY - TRUTH, and INTEGRITY - *as inspired by the insightful words of Rob Liefeld.
The Truth is that the artist, amateur and potential professional alike, may be taught according to the ideal. But no matter how hard you study, or how long you train... No matter all the knowledge you amass, the talent you possess, and the skills you hone, the subjective taste of the public presides over all commercial endeavor. The public, the layman, the viewer, the fan may know nothing at all about art. But they know what they like. It has always come down to that. And, as with so many things in life, there are frustrations, and gracious benefits to this Truth. On the one hand, an artist can study and practice his craft for more years than it takes a med student to become a top surgeon. And yet the world will more readily take the surgeon's word as law concerning a medical matter than the illustrator's informed opinion on a work of art (even his own!). On the other hand, this truth of subjective taste allows for a wide variety of creative expression, at various levels of accomplishment and acceptance.
The vast history of comic books has enjoyed such variety of expression. And here indeed, the Truth of subjectivism abounds as talent of every stripe has sought a niche. Comics never began with great art or great artists. Here the less-skilled artist may find success while masking what may be deemed shortcomings, sheltering beneath the canopy called "Style." This artist's lines have more energy and flow, that one's figures possess a striking exaggeration, and this other artist's pages contain more power and mood.
It is only occasionally that comics have been graced by illustrators who were finely trained. But this, of course, never brought any assurance of success. The very well-drawn book may go unnoticed as the fans favor a specific character, or the way their favorite rookie artist renders extreme musculature on men, and huge balloon-breasts on women. Instead of simplicity or clarity of design, an overwhelming number of fans may be more fascinated by the artist who renders ludicrous details. Or fans may just respond better to an artist's rudimentary skills, finding these more relatable than that of the more accomplished illustrator. Certainly, those who hold quality draftsmanship, and an impeccable clarity of design and storytelling in the highest esteem may shake their heads in astonishment at the runaway popularity of an artist whom they consider of woefully inferior ability across the board. However, this adheres to the good and bad of the immutable Truth of subjective taste.
What, then, is the value of all the study, the ideals, and all the laborious training? More important than subjectivism, or popularity is personal Integrity. Each must first and always remain true to oneself, insofar as this brings no harm to others. If you aspire to be the best artist you can be, then study and train, and remain true to that. Your reward is in the journey as much as it is in the results. If your agenda is to craft a style that earns you popularity, then fulfill that agenda. Maintain your Integrity. It is your own, and it defines you. Don't waste energy on envying the success of others, nor in celebrating their failure. This is petty, surely unbecoming of a professional, and it is to your own disgrace as a human being. Stay on your own path, and be less mindful of what others are doing beyond a healthy spirit of competition. Embrace the positivity that this art form allows for such wide diversity, and that success and recognition are an unquantifiable entity which can be visited upon the great as well as the meek. Worry less about being "the best." If you remain true to yourself, developing at your own pace, and having FUN with it, then you already ARE the best.