Latest posts by Derrick Rathgeber (see all)
- Doubt is a Dangerous Thing - February 26, 2014
- Trouble Getting Started? Tips to Get your Artwork Moving - February 19, 2014
Doubt is a Dangerous Thing
by Derrick Rathgeber
One day I found myself digging out my old drawings. I kept a box of my work that survived the rain and the move. I did what I normally would do, and that was pull them out of the box, look at them all and them place them back in the box. To me this was a way of looking back at something I couldn’t get back, and believe me I tried. I would draw out some new drawings, and I was upset that they were out of proportions, and very sketchy. I couldn’t get the look I used to anymore let alone what other artists could do. I think my wife saw me, or heard me because a short time later as a gift she got me a nice sketchbook. She only had one rule that I sketch out whatever comes to my head, and do not share it with anybody, just draw for yourself she said. And I think she was on to something.
Over the next year I did just that. I just started drawing small faces or, weapons, characters and random trees. All short small non detailed drawings, but each one got better. It wasn’t until last year in 2012 that I started rebuilding my portfolio. Something in me snapped and just woke up. I grabbed the largest pice of paper and all the colored pencils I had and created A “Bird in Bloom.” Believe it or not this very large 22×28 piece took me three months to complete, but to me it felt like one of the fasted drawings I have ever done. I was enveloped into getting back to where I used to be as an artist, yet somehow by the end of this piece I was better than I ever was. To put it in perspective the last award I won for a piece of my artwork was in 1999. It was now 2013 and I took this one piece of art and entered it into a show against painters and sculptures. Somehow my RoseArt colored pencil strokes won me Best in Show. This was not a cash prize win, but it was enough to convince me that I was on the right track.
I continued making large pieces and smaller pieces, and I think it wasn’t until the great feedback on the Macaw piece that I found that I may be able to have a career in this. I pushed and shared my work online, and joined various art sites to sell my work. I had high hopes that since I couldn’t work and I wasn’t getting paid by the insurance company that this could be my way of providing. When several months go by and nothing sold DOUBT attacked me again. Every time I would open my email and see all the artists who sold their work, or got a great commission, I would definitely get very envious. Here I am thinking I was good enough to win a juried show, and write lessons for RoseArt; and I cannot even sell one piece of art for my family. It hurt. Sometimes it still does I won’t lie. So Doubt hit again, very hard.
You know what brought me back this time? What keeps me going is all of you. I don’t mean to sound cheesy, but you are at home and you chose to read this. Zillions of things on this internet to laugh at and watch and you choose to read the rantings of a beat up colored pencil artist. I appreciate that. When you message me, or write me to congratulate me, or ask me of all people for advice. It pushes me. When I see you struggle in the same ways that I do, and still succeed. I know doubt is a huge waste of time.
Each of us have a story, and in our stories we have a doubt or fear of succeeding. We cannot let this doubt to come into our artwork, because as an artist you know when you erase too much, or overwork the piece it will be ruined. Take a break and draw something you love in a sketch book that you don’t have to share with the world. Do what you love because you love it, and all that doubt will go away.
I have only one more thing to say and this is the most important piece of advice I can give you.
-When you wishing that you had the ability to draw like that great artist you see posting their masterpieces, somewhere there is an artist looking at your masterpieces wishing they could draw like you. Please support and help each other.