CONFIDENCE

So I said on my Twitter that there are 2 kinds of confidence I aspire to acquire someday:

I Know What I'm Doing
I LIke What I'm Doing

And these would be ideal, right? Especially for anyone working in any creative field: knowing what you're doing, and liking what you're doing - these are two levels of confidence that I'd LOVE to exude.

I'd love to free myself of the constant self doubt and imposter syndrome that plagues every artistic decision I make. I could probably increase my productivity if my brain wouldn't scream "YOU'RE NOT GOOD AT WHAT YOU DO, YOU'RE NEVER GOING TO MAKE IT AS AN ARTIST, AND EVERYBODY'S GOING TO FIND OUT WHAT A FRAUD YOU ARE" at me every time I sat down to create something.

But there is no easy fix solution to sending these kinds of thoughts to the shadow realm. And that's why there aren't just 2 types of confidence - in fact, the kind of confidence I arm myself with often looks more like this: 

I Don't Know What I'm Doing
I Don't Like What I'm Doing

'Cause here's a little secret: nobody knows what they're doing. Everyone is just pretending that they do until we all figure it out. 

And that's okay!

If you watch this video, How to be confident by Anna Akana, she talks about the power of faking it 'till you make it, explaining that literally mimicking the physical behavior of confident people can actually increase a person's confidence.

How to be confident// Anna Akana

How to be confident// Anna Akana

The main tactic that Akana shares is all about power posing: adjusting your posture and position to physically take up more space. 

Now I know that the psychology of power posing has been discredited as several social psychology studies have shown that the original study by Amy Cuddy was flawed. And it does seem a little too good to be true that mimicking the classic Wonder Woman pose for 1 minute could boost your hormone levels and thus increase self-confidence.

Unfortunately not an accurate diagram.

Unfortunately not an accurate diagram.

But even if the pseudoscience behind power posing doesn't affect the chemical psychology of your brain - don't you still look like you're taking up space? 

Isn't it enough to pretend like you know what you're doing and thereby make people around you think that you know what you're doing? 

I should also add that this doubly important for women and minorities, and shout out to all women of color out there, because we have been raised to believe that we are inferior to everyone else in our industry, even when we are more than qualified for the job. It's advice that I've been given by women in comics and illustration that I will repeat for you here: channel your inner cocky white man on the internet who gives his input on areas of expertise that he definitely does not have, and fake it, fake it, fake it. 

That being said, it can be uncomfortable to bring any attention to yourself, even if you do achieve a level of confidence where you do know what you're doing and you like what you're doing. Promoting yourself or posting anything online where you know that complete strangers might engage with you, or, even worse, where your peers can pass judgement on you, is the most daunting aspect of creating online content.

In this case, there is a third kind of confidence that I am happy to weaponize myself with when I need it: it's "who gives a fuck" confidence.

Who Gives A Fuck

Who gives a fuck! Who! Is it you? Maybe it is.

Maybe you do give a fuck. Just a little of a fuck - a fucklet, if you will.

That's okay! You can still act like you don't give a fuck, and use your fuckless attitude to share what you have to show to the world. 

And like I said - and others will always say - nobody actually knows what they're doing right now. Nobody actually has everything figured out, and everybody is scrambling around trying out different things until maybe they do. 

The important thing is that you do keep trying, and making shit, and getting other people to see the shit that you make.

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'Cause if you work hard and work worth doing, eventually, you might like your own shit too.

SOMETIMES IT'S OKAY TO FIX YOUR SHIT?

Let me just put out there: I am a big advocate of letting your art be finished when it's finished. You can't go back and redraw every single drawing you've ever done everytime your style changes or improves. I say this because I have a compulsive desire to REDO everything I've ever posted, especially when I go back and look at my old work and cringe.

However, sometimes taking long breaks in between "finishing" a composition pays off in significant ways, especially when you're like me and you archive all your .PSD files from years past. 

I can demonstrate this better with the images below.

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So I drew this piece back in April 2018. I just wanted to draw an angry red girl with dynamic movement, probably about to punch a nazi, focusing on the color palette and texture of the drawing. I posted it, and didn't think about it for another month.

 

One Month Later

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Then in May 2018, I looked back at the original piece and thought "hmm. That coloring is odd. I'm going to fix that." And in the process I tried fixing the anatomy of that pulled back fist, and added more detail to the face to convey a clearer expression. At this point, also, I was working on my personal portfolio website, and I wanted to just wrap up these edits so that I could have a nice, vibrant hero image for my homepage. 

 

However, Another Month Later

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DID YOU KNOW THAT USING PHOTO REFERENCES CAN SIGNIFICANTLY IMPROVE YOUR ANATOMY? I said I tried to fix the anatomy of the raised fist back in May - it is now June 2018, and I took a picture of my friend pulling their fist back, and used that to properly fix the anatomy. That, with changing the shading on the shirt, and fixing small mistakes around the face and hair, altogether allowed me to finally finish the composition.

And these aren't redraws - this is going back to the same .PSD file and changing individual layers without having to start a whole new canvas all over again. It would've taken a lot less time had I named each of the layers something distinguishable, and not used the Auto-Select layer tool to figure out "what the HELL is that one line I want to get rid of it oh it's on Layer 91 son of a-" BUT. My point still stands.

Sometimes.

It's okay to fix your shit! And honestly, if you're in somewhat of a creative rut right now, I highly recommend it. 

GYMsona?

 
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Artists on Twitter have been doing the #GymLeadersona art challenge where they draw their Pokemon team if they were a gym leader...I just want to open a Magikarp Sanctuary. I would take all the abandoned Magikarp and nurse them back to health with my love and affection. And eventually one of them has to become a Gyarados too. 

I need to reopen my save file in Pokemon Red and change my entire team to all Magikarp. Magikarp are VALID. 

MAGIKARP DESERVE LOVE.

Li Shang, Disaster Bi

 
shang and ping.png
shang and mulan.png
 

There are several reasons why I'm wary of the upcoming 2019 live action adaptation of Disney's Mulan. First of all, while the Huns were the final antagonist in the original animated film, the real conflict lied within Mulan's struggle with self worth, social discrimination, and war. She overcomes the challenges she faces through cleverness and strategic thinking - climbing the pole when no other soldier could, shooting a cannon into the mountains to cause an avalanche when her troop was outnumbered by the Hun army, and sneaking into the palace when Shan Yu held the emperor hostage inside. 

Mulan's smart. That's the point. She's not as physically capable as the other soldiers when she first arrives at the training camp but overcomes those obstacles through her intelligence and perseverance (and maybe the best musical number Disney has ever produced). However, in the remake, we lose some of Mulan's strength when an officially released casting call revealed that she will have "mystical powers" that increase her physical strength and speed, "climbing her to the top of the ranks." 

Now, we don't know whether or not this diminishes strategic traits that Mulan shows in the animated film, but we can guess that attributing her success to magical powers and not just, like, human improvement and fierce determination means that it wasn't enough to portray this female character as a strong, capable soldier. No, she has to have magic powers. That's the only way, obviously

Furthermore, as she raises to the ranks within her batallion, her commanding officer and apparent romantic interest doesn't exhibit typical leadership abilities like support and proper discipline - he's jealous and treats Mulan like shit because he doesn't know she's a woman. 

When it's revealed that Mulan is, in fact, Mulan, and not a male soldier in his troop, that's when this male love interest shows her respect and treats her with basic human decency. 

What kind of...hetero toxic masculinity bullshit...

But the real icing on the cake - the real reason why I'm even getting this heated in the first place because, come on, it is just a movie - is that LI SHANG ISN'T GOING TO BE A CHARACTER IN THIS MOVIE.

Bisexual Li Shang, who showed respect to Ping before he knew Ping was actually Mulan because Captain Li Shang, an actually good leader and strong character, cared more about the survival of his troops and the victory of China on the battlefield than some petty pissing contest between soldiers. Additionally, you know Li Shang got the hots for Ping before meeting Mulan. Li Shang is a bi icon (a bicon, if you will), I'm STILL GOING TO BUY A TICKET to the live action Mulan remake just because it has an all Asian cast, and I'm not going to let a film with an all Asian cast flop in the box office, but you're still on thin ice Disney. Li Shang is bi, and y'all are cowards.