A few years ago, I came across his commencement speech to the University of Arts in 2012. I still like to go back and listen to it now and them. I think that everyone, particularly anyone involved in art and being creative, should listen to it.
Here, I'll help:
(For a comic version of part of it, that the title of this post comes from, check out Zen Pencils)
I am, particularly as I get older I think, plagued by something.. well, I'm not even sure what to call it. It's a strong feeling that everything has to be "just right" for me to do anything. I have to have all the knowledge, all the supplies, before starting a project (and often it seems like I don't have everything, so I don't start - main problem: I'll never know enough). I do love that, in the modern age - thanks to the Internet, we have an endless supply of information and resources at our fingertips. An unquenchable thirst for knowledge is something I learned from my Granddad and I strongly feel that we never stop learning.
However... information overload is paralyzing too.
Before the Internet, if I wanted to make something, I just did it. I might use a picture or two out of a book for reference - or I might not.
Back then I made a lot of cool stuff! Without the world of reference material at my fingertips.
References can be paralyzing.
Let's take horses for an example. I really want to start sculpting horses and doing (and finishing!) more drastic customs (one of my favorite things). I've been trying to learn more about anatomy and how to do things right ("right" is subjective, making things even more murky). I keep telling myself that I don't want to start until I know more.... and more... just a bit more... then I'll start...
Of course, rationally, I know that it's ridiculous to think I can learn to do something, without DOING it, but... a lot of days, here I sit.
A few times I've started on a big project, only to find out partway through that I messed something up - due to lack of knowledge when I started. The Epic, but stagnant, Stagecoach project is #1 on that list. So what do I do? Finish the project with the flaws? Start over? Abandon ship and work on something else? (last one being my answer to date)
Those experiences have led to this "I need to know more before I start" downward spiral.
Another "concern" (as if I need any more) is that I'd really like my "art" to be marketable. Sure, I have had dreams of supporting myself by doing the things I love to do - who doesn't? - but I also don't want to be living in a house that's eyeball deep in things I've made, or feel like I'm doing it all for "nothing".
In order for certain things to be marketable (ie: model horses and related paraphernalia), certain standards "should" be met. For live showing: accuracy on all fronts, and so on.
Arabian costumes are a HUGE interest of mine right now. Well, they have been for many years, but I've really kicked it into high gear over the last several months, researching and collecting supplies to make them. As another example of my problem: I've read that certain colors shouldn't be used (pink, for example). So, I try to keep that in the back of my mind (with 5 million other facts) when making plans. Of course, anyone paying attention might remember that my very first full costume IS pink, but there's a reason for that - more on it later someday.
Of course, there are pink costumes and presentation sets out there - I've seen 'em! Not everyone is interested in showing - or accuracy. Maybe someone really likes pink and doesn't care if it's "accurate" or not. Maybe if I create a custom horse who's anatomy is wonky - but someone likes it anyway - that won't matter as much as I think it does.
Recently, I think I came up with the "solution". I told a friend that I think the answer is to just make whatever I want to make. When it comes to sales - marketing, and so on - if people like it and want to buy it: great! If not, at least I made something that *I* like and, hopefully, learned something in the process - in order to make the next thing even better.
Sounds great to me. Unfortunately, as is often the case, knowing a doing are two different things. After years (!!) of making excuses, it will be hard to change.
I really want to make good art. I know I'll have to make some crappy art first.
Above all, I just need to make some kind of art.