My Raison d'être

Posted 17 Nov 2009

I have just amended the last section in Information: frequently asked questions (FAQ’s):
Advice to anyone who wants to draw cartoons or be an artist.

I initially just wanted to write a short section that would encourage people to practice their own drawing skills & not to give up. But now the section has grown into quite a large piece about my reason for being, & advice to would-be artists (or, indeed, anyone else!) about several important issues. Here is that section again…

Advice to anyone who wants to draw cartoons or be an artist.
1) Practice.
2) Enjoy what you do.
3) Never, ever, give up on your particular dream.

Practice a lot! Don’t give up. Find something you enjoy drawing & draw it a lot. Draw all sorts of different things. The important thing is not to give up. And try not to compare your work with that of other people’s either, especially professional cartoonists / artists. Their skill & finished works are the result of many years of hard work, & you can’t become a master cartoonist or artist overnight.

We do not get very long to live on earth, so why do something that you don’t enjoy? That goes for subject matter in art as well. What’s the point of drawing or painting something purely because you hope it will sell? Rather, draw & paint what you are passionate about; what you love. That kind of passion will show in your work. It is detectable, not just by fellow artists, but by everyone who sees your art. Life is too short not to pursue your passion. It is a waste of your precious time on earth to draw or paint anything that you do not avidly believe in. It has taken me about 40 years to arrive at this conclusion, but I am certain that it is right now! I can remember deciding to start a Graphic Design art course at university because I didn’t have the courage to stick to my convictions – that I wanted to be a Science Fiction/Fantasy artist. I was poor & so I decided to pursue Graphic Design because it was the only thing I thought I could do (art-wise) that could make me some money. But I didn’t enjoy it. I felt constrained & hollow inside, & I knew that I’d let go of my dreams. How awful that is. Never, ever, let go of your dreams. Pursue them with all the courage & determination you can muster.
Never, ever, give up on your dreams – for any reason!

I believe we each have a unique, God-given personality, which includes skills & talents particular to us. Part of our “job” whilst here on earth is to discover our talents & skills & to develop them as far as we dare to. For me, the most important thing is the imagination God has given me & the powerful desire to be creative, through art. When I pursue these things, I am truly living up to my potential.

My Raison d’être (French for “reason for being”) is unique to me. Other people will have their own “reason for being.” I am responsible for identifying my own articular raison d’être, & then living up to it.

So, what is my particular, unique raison d’être?
My “reason for being” is to be an artist; to be a Christian; to love myself & other people to the best of my ability. In fact, with this Bible Cartoons Project, I am able to combine these all together.
In terms of my vocation or profession, as an artist, I have to recognise that there are many, many things which come along to distract me from this central raison d’être. I have to remain on guard against these distractions & the potential to get involved in things that waste my valuable, irreplaceable time. Sometimes I forget this, & I find myself doing things that are not about imagination, or creativity, or art, etc. I believe it is wrong for me to “waste” my time in pursuits that are not going to help me pursue my artistic goals.

If I reject things that have come into my life, then I might offend some people. That is unfortunate, but I believe I must reject those things that are distractions to my “reason for being”: my imagination, creativity, Christianity & life as an artist. If you define/discover your raison d’être, be prepared to have to make some tough choices yourself. You will be faced with many dilemmas, just like I am… that is why I wrote “Never, ever, give up on your dreams – for any reason!”


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