Skill and fear

September 21 2012

I used to work at Spümcø, the studio responsible for "Ren & Stimpy". There were a lot of great cartoonists there.

For a while, I was assisting Jim Smith. Jim's favorite thing to draw is big muscly guys, a subject I'm normally not very interested in- but Jim combines his knowledge of every single muscle in the human body with an astonishing sense of grace and flow; his musclemen are things of beauty.

Looking closely at his drawings for an extended period of time, I despaired ever being that good. Until one day he brought in some ancient drawings from when he was a teenager. It was... not good. I looked at it, and something went *click* in my head. This art was pretty much EXACTLY as bad as the stuff I was drawing at that age. Except this drawing from 15-year-old Jim was a few years older than ME. And he'd been drawing EVER SINCE. He'd BETTER be able to draw rings around me.

That day, I quit looking at other people's artwork and thinking "I could never draw that". There are still things I can't draw, techniques I'm pretty useless at. But I know that if I really want to, I can spend a few years practicing, and I'll have it. I started getting a lot better after that realization.

Of course, I've been lucky to have the time and finances to pursue this. But that's a whole other message, isn't it?

- Margaret Trauth
[email protected]
Seattle, WA

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