Every single artist on Earth has heard it at least once: you should stop drawing, it’s for children and dreamers, get real and find a real job that supports you.
The suggestion hurts even more if it comes from friends, family members, people close to us who should encourage us to realize our dreams. Instead the exact opposite happens, to the point that the family environment becomes toxic, puts us in a bad mood and creates a real permanent artistic block that increases our frustration.
Fortunately, even these situations can be changed and resolved. But first we must understand what created them.
The reasons for the refusal
In our society we are not used to saying what we think and we live on the basis of stereotypes. We often think of one thing and say another, completely unconscious. To understand why friends and relatives criticize our passion for drawing we need to use a bit of psychology.
It happens that the people closest to us are those who discourage us the most, because for them it is the most immediate way to put an end to our torment about being a artist. Whenever they see us frustrated on a drawing or engaged in goals that, according to them, don’t lead us to a job that can support us, their first instinct is to protect us by telling us “enough”.
It creates a paradox so that the more we are stressed by our artistic journey, the more our loved ones will insist on making us stop and make us look for a false serenity elsewhere, increasing our frustration even more.
Each person judges based on his own scale of values. If they’ve grown up in an austere environment or have spent their life doing a technical or manual job, they’ll consider their sector to be safer than the others they know nothing about. If they’re very tied to certain dogmas or “what people will think”, they could even despise jobs that dn’t fall within those parameters.
Drawing is an activity that children naturally play. Growing up, most people abandon the idea of doing the job they dreamed of, like the dancer or the astronaut, in favor of “serious” jobs like the manager, the doctor or the shop keeper, who have social weight and allow an earning.
Our iron will to pursue the work of our dreams is a slap on the self-esteem of those who have renounced and has adapted to the system.
Most people don’t realize how graphic, art and design are part of their daily lives. So they have no idea of the thousands jobs and career opportunities we can access.
They have a vague and dated vision of the artist or the creative. They think that drawing does not require a professional more commitment than the design of a child (the only creative process they have personally experienced) or that just press a computer button.
No matter how close we are to one another: if we do not explain it to them clearly and clearly, it is very difficult for them to understand the creative world. And even so, it will take time and patience.
How to deal with people who hinder us
Now that we know the main reasons why friends and family diminish us, let’s go to the counterattack.
Clearly explain to them that being unhappy or frustrated is part of the normal artistic path. It happens to everyone, just to everyone, because every artist wants to improve continuously. Demonstrate that you’ve done your homework and have a precise plan for our artistic career, including alternatives. For example, it’s great to aim at becoming a mangaka or drawing comics for Marvel, but also explain your plan B and C to be implemented in the meantime or if you don’t succeed.
Your life is yours alone, not theirs
Everyone has only one life and full freedom to decide what to do with it. Not even our parents or our partner can assume the right to decide for us. Often we will have to remind our loved ones that we are not their extension or their property: we have free will, our will, a functioning brain and the full right to build our own lives without their interference.
Overturn their preconceptions
We rely on our psychophysical wellbeing, explaining that drawing is liberating and makes us feel good, like singing in the shower or jogging or another healthy habit that our interlocutor likes. Let’s make crystal clear that we can only be happy by drawing and that if our dear cares about us, he should encourage us instead of belittling us.
Put them at fault. Make them notice that their behavior damages us and that if they really care about us they should firstly worry about our happiness and let go of the details. We’d like them as allies, not enemies.
Show your loved ones how complicated it is to draw, how many topics you have to study and the successes of your more or less famous colleagues. Explain the craftsmanship of the creative process, in which the computer is just a tool like a brush or a protractor. Demonstrate that artists and creatives are required and indispensable jobs in many fields: from the animated movies to the illustrations on the packs of snacks.
Conclusion: from enemies to alliesInvolve your loved ones in what you do, make them understand that you want them by your side on your quest, let them feel your unwavering passion for drawing until they accept it as part of yours.
If despite your efforts and patience you don’t get results, don’t get down and continue on your way. Move away from the toxic people or environment as soon as possible, even if it is family: remember that you have one single life and freedom of choice on how to live it.
By absurd, the more independent and detached you’ll become, the more likely it is that over time family members will be interested in what you do in a healthy way.
Do you have any other tips or stories to tell? Let me know in a comment!