This is a guest post from Megan Eckman.
The hardest part of being an artist is not feeling like one. Deep down, I wonder every day if I’m a ‘real’ artist. I don’t live and breathe my work. Heck, sometimes I go a week without drawing (though I’m miserable during that week). I don’t smoke or do drugs or wear vintage, paint-splattered clothes like artists should. And yet, here I am, selling my artwork like a ‘real’ artist.
This fear (and that’s honestly what it is) started in art school. I worked in a medium no one else did with a subject matter that didn’t convey a political or social message or a historical nod to long-dead artists. Heck, it didn’t even express some sort of dark, underside of me. In other words, my art told a childish story; my art was a joke. A joke the teachers didn’t know what to do with.
I was passed around from teacher to teacher, pushed toward other media, and told to get ‘serious’. But I couldn’t.
For some reason, I loved the way I worked. I graduated and then, unlike most art students, I started a business selling my work (I have a promise to my business-major mother to thank for that). Yet, even that accomplishment didn’t make the feeling that I was a fake go away.
For months I feared I’d wake up and everyone would have realized I was a fake and have boycotted my shop. Orders would stop and I’d have to go back to retail or something equally awful.
I still get that fear inside of me when I have a week without a sale. But I realized, in one of those epiphany moments after I’d been crying (yes, honestly crying) because nothing seemed to be going right, that I was made to do this.
The universe designed me to create artwork.
My stubby fingers are shaped for a pen and my near-sightedness is perfect for small details. My addiction to reading gives me endless inspiration. And my overactive imagination gives me the power to create new stories (along with horrible nightmares but that’s another story).
So, you see, whether I’m a ‘real’ artist or not doesn’t matter because I’m doing what I was made to do. I was made to make people laugh with my silly, old-fashioned, pen and ink drawings.
Do you ever feel like you’re not a ‘real’ artist or knitter or writer or PR person? If so, ask yourself if you were made for it.
I believe that if you truly love doing something, you were definitely designed to do it, and thus you’re as ‘real’ as can be!
Megan Eckman is the quirky pen and ink illustrator behind Studio MME. She also works as the community manager for Create Hype, a site invested in helping women learn to market their creative small businesses. And if that wasn’t enough, she’s also an associate editor for *bespoke* zine, the adorable blog and magazine created by Aussie jeweler Jess Van Den. In her free time, Megan enjoys reading children’s books and exploring the photographic possibilities of antique cameras.