Criticize yourself.


OMG, this is me.

This one picture sums up how I look at my own work. Usually about 5 minutes after I post it up as “done.” Hopefully I’m not the only one like this 😛

I believe as an artist, you have to be your own worst critic when it comes to your work. Otherwise there is no learning and no growth, only stagnation. The trick is to find that balance where self-criticism doesn’t lapse into self-destruction. It’s easy to tear yourself down over every piece you do. It’s even easier to think, “I am a design GOD! I create and build worlds, and none shall ever equal my greatness! Moohoohahaha!!!”

Designers and artists have to be conscious of what works and what doesn’t when it comes to their work. A good dose of self-honesty goes a long way in this business. Look at your work objectively. Look at it from the client’s perspective. Look at it from the perspective of someone who knows nothing about the project. Look at it from the perspective of another nationality or ethnicity. A good artist has to take all things into account, then work through them in order to distill the piece down to its basic essence.

The biggest question of any artist’s life: “Does it clearly communicate what the client needs it to say?”

Be honest with yourself when you answer. That’s where greatness originates.


2 thoughts on “Criticize yourself.

  1. This is so true. It’s easy to step back from a project and think “damn, that’s good!” while you work, but as soon as you’re done you focus on the things that you could’ve done better. Stephen King once gave Neil Gaiman an advice that should be followed by everyone: “this is really great, you should enjoy it”. Fantastic words, and a fantastic insight. I let it follow me through the work process, not necessarily to make me think that what I do is amazing, but to have fun with it.

    1. Thanks for reading! The bad thing is, it took me like 15 years to finally realize and accept this. That’s a darn good quote from King (my favorite writer, by the way!). I still struggle with tearing myself down more than I should. For example, I moped around for two days after I botched up that portrait of my wife, but I started working on a collaboration with an old college buddy and that broke me right out of my funk.

      Sometimes you just gotta chalk one up to experience and get moving on the next, better project.

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