Creating art as a profession teaches you things. There’s a big difference between drawing for yourself, for fun, for art’s sake… and drawing to pay the rent, to feed yourself, and to keep the lights on. It’s a job. And while this distinction is clear to a precious few whom I love and respect immensely, I figured it’d be peachy to lay down a grocery list of the most common misconceptions that most people have about artists.
#1 Artists are proud of everything they create. Nope. More often that not, we are painfully aware of how a piece could have been better, even when our peers compliment us or at least gently bend us over. We know we can be better. And while most of us can take constructive criticism like normal people, also keep in mind that no one sits at a desk, whips out his art equipment, and intentionally tries to suck.
#2 Artists are insulted by reference material. No way. There may be a handful of artists who scoff at drawing from reference, but the majority appreciate it and tend to consider it a genuine effort to make our job easier, may you be a collaborating writer or even just a fan commissioning a piece. Nah. Whatever helps us make the finished piece better is usually appreciated.
#3 We like flowery scripts. This is a weird one. Some writers tend to fashion scripts thinking of their collaborators as the audience. Though there may be a bit of merit to that, nine times out of ten, an artist will prefer that you just say an alley is dark rather than “oppressed by the shadows of the adjacent concrete monoliths.” While yes, it serves to help the imagery, keep in mind that you don’t need to sell us on the story. We are already working with you.
#4 We don’t need praise. We do. Admit it, artists. The biggest reason you’re still on Deviant Art is the ego stroking. Take me for example, after a day’s work, I’d like to hear more than “ooh, that’s nice.” What’s the matter? Am I a puppy? Did you pass out because my page is so awesome and that’s why you can’t say anything more? All I’m saying is… If you’re a writer receiving pages and you like them, tell your artist you do. Don’t just ask for the next one. Show the love.
#5 We’re always in the mood to draw. This is probably the most common misconception, and understandably so. When comic fans see us at cons, it’s at artist alley. When writers hit us up, it’s within the context that you are a collaborator whose job it is to illustrate a story. But of course, just like every OB-GYN gets sick of staring at vaginas every now and then, sometimes we just want to sit at our desk and NOT be holding a pencil.
So that’s it. Five common misconceptions about artists. I’m pretty sure I’m wrong about a couple of them and very right about others, but this is all from experience, so bear with me. Now back to work…