So, post-IMC, I was trying to think about what to talk about...and I realized I was feeling some insecurities and some imposter syndrome - which reminded me of two stories I've had with an IMC teacher. When I think about important things I've learned from professionals, these two moments are at the top of my list...and I'm sure they were completely throw-away moments for the teacher (Not going to name names, but you can probably figure out who it was.)
The first moment was actually a couple of years before IMC, back when I was still in art school. My illustration class took a field trip to LA, and we were meeting this guy for a talk in our hotel room. My friend Mike MacRae wanted the pro to sign his sketch book, and he opened it up to a random page. MacRae does beautiful figure work, mostly with ballpoint pens, and the page the pro opened to was a fantastic drawing of an angel in flowing robes. The Pro literally exclaimed "Holy Shit! I could never do that!"...he signed his name, and added, "I didn't draw this", with an arrow pointed to the angel.
That was when I let go of trying to be good at everything. Up until that point, I had been horribly insecure of my future because I didn't think I could ever draw like MacRae - but if the Pro also felt that way, and he'd been working for 20+ years and had 2 movies made of his characters, clearly, I didn't NEED to be able to do that in order to succeed. It was the moment I decided to try to be me, and see what happens.
The second moment happened in 2015 at IMC. It was time for a late night coffee run, and it was me, Greg Manchess, Iain McCaig and the Pro getting ready to head out. The Pro needed to go to the bathroom first, and as he went he, he called back out, "Now don't ditch me while I'm in here!" He said it jokingly, but it was pretty clear, that was an insecurity of his. Even at his level of success in the industry, he still feared being left behind, being unwanted, and being forgotten.
Man, that is SO me....and you think it's because you are a noob, and that once you make it big, you will somehow outrun those insecurities....and here was living proof that those are MY problems, and have nothing to do with my abilities or my success, or my recognition in my industry. Making it "big" won't fix those things, and conversely, just because you have those feelings doesn't mean you aren't adding worth to the industry. Don't link your fears to your success.
Be yourself. Do the best you can. Recognize that your weaknesses won't be solved by some external validation or level of success. If I learned nothing else from the Pro, I would still count him as one of the best teachers I've ever had.
Thanks for reading, please share if you liked it :) Also, drop me a line if there's anything you'd like to hear me talk about in these posts.