A couple of days ago I bought a set of India ink fineliners that I've been creeping around in the shop for about a year, but never bought because of my limited student budget. I tried them last night and it's like pencil heaven on earth, especially the one with the extra small tip. I doodled a tiny Big Ben, about the size of my thumbnail, and as I was marvelling at those fine, thin lines the tip left on the paper, I remembered something my old art teacher said many years ago about my drawing of a drill bit: "The genius thing about this one is how tiny the details are." I also recall how proud I was, because everybody spoke of him as a 'true' artist, but also he was fantastically critical; when, in his opinion, there was no hope for a students' drawing, he used to just tear up the sheet and tell them to try again. I found this drill bit in one of my folders for you, as well as my first attempt ever to draw something with ink.
Drawing something and remembering compliments like these makes me feel better; it seems like, among all the doubts and insecurities, there is something I can count on, some sort of solid ground for success. I guess what makes the attraction of drawing is the fact that you can take a blank sheet and, with any pen that happens to be in your orbit, create something out of nothing- any kind of brush activity's attraction, actually, starting with primitive things such as painting your nails in a bright colour when you feel particularly bad; too bad to draw anything of whatever little value, but some kind of value at least. Colours, patterns or images where there were none.
My old teacher has retired a couple of years ago so I've got no idea what he's doing now, but I'd really like to show him some of my recent stuff and ask him his own famous question: art or kitsch, Mr. Ahrens? If I compare what I do to the works of other 'common' people (as in people with no prestige art school education who start exhibiting and selling their work at the age of 20 because they have reliable connections) I often end up judging my work as kindergarten doodles which leaves me desperate and feeling useless, but for now I still have some courage left. The actual, more important flaw lies within the following- your drawing, be it good or bad, stays on paper; you're still yourself, you're still unimportant, you've not moved in life. The piles of uni work are still challenging the solidity of your desk, you're still detached from whoever you're actually curious about, your future career (or the lack of it) still gives you the heebie-jeebies whenever you think about it. The nail polish will be gone in three days at best, and also pink totally isn't your colour, never was. How do we deal with this issue?