If I have any words of advice, it’s that no matter your age, no matter who you are or what you do, if you have any kind of craft, in a year or two years or eight years, you’re going to look back with a sort of bittersweet reminiscence and realize you were not as bad or as unskilled as you thought you were. You’re going to realize you were great and never even knew it because you were too busy holding your product up to someone else’s and saying, “But mine doesn’t look like that, so mine’s not as good.”
So stop comparing yourself to others. Right now. Stop it.
You are you, and you are wonderful. What you make is wonderful. Maybe it isn’t the best, but whose is? What is “the best”? It’s a turn-of-phrase that’s largely meaningless, when you really think about it.
What you create is beautiful and great, simply for the fact you enjoyed making it. You got creative and poured yourself into it and made something that didn’t really exist before, not in the same way. And that’s so incredibly cool! Others’ll try to put you down and say your stuff is trash, but look who’s talking, right?
Also, stop being afraid to be inspired. Even if what you’re inspired by is an existing thing, is a popular thing, that’s ok! In fact, I totally recommend it because no one ever ever starts totally from scratch — unless you’re really lucky or, you know, a transcendent being from another dimension. Get inspired by books, by films, by TV shows, be inspired by games and by other people. Make fan characters, make spin-offs, write fan fiction and just have an all-around blast showing your appreciation for something. It doesn’t matter if it’s popular or niche. It doesn’t matter if you’re drawing from something that already exists because you are putting yourself into it. You’re transforming it, and maybe one day, it’ll become its own thing! How awesome would that be?
So, whether you’re fifteen or fifty, make stuff. Make cool stuff. Stop being so difficult with yourself. You are far better than you think you are. Have fun. Make mistakes and learn from them, but don’t beat yourself up for having stumbled, ok? Because I guarantee, in a few years, you won’t see the mistakes. You’ll only realize how awesome you really were, and it’ll sting because you can’t go back in time and tell yourself that. I desperately wish I could go back in time and tell my younger self to post my artwork, no matter how silly or unskilled I thought it was, and to share myself with the world.
So get up, be inspired, create, enjoy. Don’t let anyone’s attitude stand in your way — least of all your own.
— A. E.