Friday, May 30, 2014

I can't do color

If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.

-Vincent Van Gogh

Yesterday while reading illustration blogs, I came across a comment where someone said that she could never get an agent because she's in her 40's, and no agent would ever choose to represent a middle-aged woman.

That's entirely untrue, but as long as she tells herself that it is, it will be.

I was at an illustrator meetup a few weeks ago where a new guy nervously showed us his portfolio. He was falling all over himself to point out that he's "not really an illustrator" and he "can't do color at all" and he "can't draw people." (Actually his drawings were very strong.)

While we all have our weaknesses and difficulties, but nothing is impossible unless you tell yourself that it is. When I started out at art school, my portfolio consisted entirely of pencil black-and-white drawings, so I told people "I don't know how to do color." But I set out to learn how to do color, and now I can do it; in fact, it's one of my strengths. What if I had told myself "I can't do color"?

What do you tell yourself you can't do?

Edit: The past two weeks my husband has been trying to get me into biking. However, it's been very difficult for me, because most of my life I have told myself that I am not a strong or athletic person, that I don't do exercise. Whenever I bike the messages "I can't do this" goes through my head. I confessed this to my husband and he said, "Remember your blog post, Kelley! It's not that you can't do it, it's that you don't know how to yet!" That's right, he quoted my own blog to me. I should probably stop giving out advice on this blog.

1 comment:

  1. Told myself for my entire life that I couldn't possible paint or do art - because my mother was the artist in the family and I'd never be as good. How many wasted years that led to...I didn't even pick up a pen to write poetry for much the same kind of thinking. Now while I will never be an Elizabeth Barrett Browning or a Monet, I've discovered that I'm still a poet and an artist...I'm just my kind of poet and my kind of artist. And good enough.


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