Art did not start out as a hobby for me. Around middle school, my main source of motivation was competitiveness. Accepting tasks because I wanted to be on top was the edge that was necessary for me to fulfill them. Middle school was also when I started creating art seriously. During lunch one day I saw a friend sketching her way around a sheet of notebook paper. To my curiosity, I peeked over and found a generic chibi (a character of short stature meant to be charming and cute) with long dark hair parted to the right. I, personally, didn’t think much of it. However, the rest of my peers thought otherwise. “Wow! Can you draw me?” seemed to be the popular reaction. I thought of my younger days when I would doodle for the fun of it. Right then was when I thought to myself, “I can do better than that.”
Of course, I saw this as an opportunity to impress my friends and tried to ignore the fact that narcissism was embedded somewhere as well. It was extremely difficult at first, trying to form something out of nothing. I decided to learn the tricks of the trade. A lot advice on art will say, “Practice makes perfect,” so I figured that this was the case. Before I began to study figures and forms, which seemed increasingly overwhelming at the time, I wanted to take baby steps. My first assignment from myself was a portrait of a celebrity. My tools: index card and mechanical pencil. I was satisfied with the final product. I showed my friends the next day albeit I told them that a friend drew it instead of me. The easy reason for this was to get proper and unbiased critique but another reason was to protect myself if they weren’t fond of the portrait. Two of the responses went along the lines of, “The face looks really weird and it seems really off.” They shot me down, but I was determined. Studying proportions and figures, forming an art style, scouring the internet for advice, tips and techniques, getting frustrated over and over again if my hand wouldn’t cooperate, all of this over a few months. When I realized that my drawing has improved somewhat, I wanted to try my hand at another portrait and hopefully showcase it to my tablemates. Later in the week someone said: “Woah you drew this?” This one phrase made me unbelievably happy. Their expression meant the world to me.
I started to have more courage and a better motivation to continue drawing. I wanted to improve more so that I could see that face again. It was at this time I underwent a transformation where I drew less out of egotism and more for the enjoyment of others. I came into having a humble approach and confrontation with art in general.
I got really creative on birthday presents. I guess you could say this was when I would present my creations. I maintained a list of websites where I can place my design on an item and they will ship me a physical version of it. In further attempts to reach out to more creative outlets, I bought a digital tablet and downloaded all kinds of programs to use it with. It gave me pleasure giving my friends and family unique gifts with all the thought that I could lodge into it.
Discovering the passion that I have for art has definitely made my life more enjoyable. I am more than aware that there is always room for improvement. Motivation in art is tricky. One must like one’s art enough to have motivation to continue creating but not like it too much in order to keep improving.