Monday Musings: Comparisons


I was going to touch on this topic in my last post but decided it warranted a post of its own.  I have been comparing myself to others for as long as I can remember, and in every aspect of my life. I’m only an expert on myself but I’m pretty sure everyone else has the same problem. If you don’t, please let me know, I’d like to pull your brain apart and figure out how you function . . .

Notice how I called it a problem? It’s a big problem! In a world where we are all unique, how can it possibly make sense for us to be constantly comparing ourselves to the people around us. This just doesn’t compute. Not only does it not compute, it is detrimental because OF COURSE we are not going to compare (to someone we are not meant to compare to!) and therefore our little insecurities (I KNOW we all have those, right?) have a field day and leave us feeling that there might be something wrong with ourselves.

Am I the only one who is frustrated by the lack of sense in this scenario?!


Right on Theo!

Everyone takes pride in something, whether it is a job well done, a parenting win, a finished artwork or composition. I am no different. When I finish an illustration and it turned out exactly how I wanted it to, I am super proud and happy and I can’t wait to share it with everyone. I have a GREAT example of this. For those of you who have read some my previous blog posts you will know that I am entering an illustration competition. I put a lot of thought into my illustration, into the process and the final piece and it turned out exactly how I wanted it to. I absolutely loved my little illustration and was going to send it off straight away but I made a mistake, not one that I can’t come back from, but a mistake none the less. I decided to search Instagram for some of the other entrants as I was curious to see what they had come up with and how our various works compared. I instantly regretted my decision. Some of the other entries were AMAZING and I felt like a failure. I began to question whether I should bother entering mine at all, what was the point? I wasn’t going to win anyway . . .


In some situations, comparisons (similarly to your inner critic) can spur you on to do a better job, but what if you have already put your heart and soul into a drawing and  you know you have done the best you can do on this particular project?

Nothings kills your motivation to create faster than comparing yourself to others. I look on Instagram usually a couple of times a day and most of the time it is a source of great inspiration. However, if I’m having an ‘off’ day or I’ve drawn something that I’m not satisfied with I’m more prone to start comparing my work to the work on Instagram as opposed to just enjoying it and learning from it. On these bad days I have learnt to avoid all social media.

Some helpful things to think about when comparing your work to others. 

How long have they been drawing/illustrating/painting for? How long have you been at it? It is unrealistic to compare the work of a master artist to your own if you are only new to the game! If you want to compare something, compare something you have drawn recently to something you drew a year or two ago. If you have been working hard at your craft you should notice a significant improvement.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, we are all individuals. We all have different structures, different strengths, different personalities therefore I think it should be obvious that we will all have different brush/pen/pencil strokes, we all use mediums differently and we all have different imaginations. One of the most powerful things we have going for us as artists is that each of us is different. We lose that the second we try to be like someone else. Please don’t try to be like someone else, you have a unique ‘voice’ and the world was meant to hear it . . . Otherwise, what is the freakin’ point of being unique?!

If you feel yourself beginning to fall into the trap of comparing your work to others, SHUT IT DOWN! Unplug, disconnect and walk away. Listen to some music, get out of the house, do something, ANYTHING to get your mind out of that trap. Yes, I’m sure their work is great and your’s may not be up to the same standard, but you created it and if you can own it and say it is 100% yours than you should be proud of creating something completely unique. If you wanna be as good as that other artist one day then you know what you’ve gotta do. WORK FOR IT. You aren’t going to get any better by looking at Instagram and feeling impatient and sorry for yourself. Start drawing something, ANYTHING, draw everyday, practice and you might just get to where you wanna be.

Just make sure that when you get ‘there’ your work is your own. Don’t compromise and meld your work to fit in with what you think the world wants to see. Create what is in you to create and the world will love it, because just like you, it will be unique and genuine, one of a kind.



What about my illustration? 

Well, it’s taken me a few days, but I’m pretty sure that I am pretty close to being pretty satisfied with it again. But my joy for it was destroyed the moment I started comparing it. I’m going to send it off today and pray that the judges like it, but if they don’t that’ll be fine too. I know I put everything into it that I had at the time and I can be proud of that.

I’m gonna get a fresh cup of tea, I’ve had to reheat this one too many times already . . .

Stay classy nerds xoxo





What Inspires you t0 create?


Inspiration (noun)
1. The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.
2. A sudden brilliant or timely idea.

There are a few things that I wanted to share with you all today and since I am a little nutty I managed to fit them all under the general topic of ‘inspiration’. I love it when a plan comes together (Yes, I’m quoting ‘The A Team’, deal with it).

I found myself listening to the same song over and over again this morning and every time I felt inspired to create something, I had a flash of an idea for an artwork or illustration. Is there any particular song that does this for you? There are three songs in particular at the moment that seem to generate in me the need to create something and I’ll share them with you now. . .

Bleeding Heart (Regina Spektor

What you got on tap, I’ll take two of that
I’m chasing a story I heard
When I was here last, at the back of the class
You pretended you never got lost
You’re at the back of the class, in the back of the bus
Sitting out at the dance, so we’re saying “no, thanks”
When they see you around, you look down at the ground
But when they walk away you’d wish they’d stay

Never never mind bleeding heart, bleeding heart
Never never mind your bleeding heart
Never never mind bleeding heart, bleeding heart
Never never mind your bleeding heart

You can’t help but stare at everyone there
It’s you versus everyone else
Your outfit’s a crime, you feel their cold minds
Placing you under arrest
And you serve your time drinking all night long
Staring at the walls of your jail-like home
Listening to that song, cause it hurts just right
Till everything is gone tonight

Someday you’ll grow up and then you’ll forget
All of the pain you endured
Until you walk by, a sad pair of eyes
And up will come back all the hurt
And you’ll see their pain as they look away
And you want to help, but there’s just no way
Cause you won the war so it’s not your turn
But everything inside still burns

How long must I wait till you learn that it’s not too late
How long must I cry till you know that you really tried
How long must I try till you learn that dreaming’s hard
How long must I dream till you heal your bleeding heart
Never mind your bleeding heart

♥                           ♥                           ♥

Black Dog (Melody Pool)

All I can taste is cigarettes

And the kiss you left upon my lips

I’ve left a number of old regrets

From my silken white legs to my hips


People often say there’s no time in a day

But there’s way too much time for me

I’m empty and aching; my whole world is shaking

And the black dog has sat at my feet


Nobody sees what I do to me

Nobody sees when I’m crazed

The contempt that I hold for my own defeat

And the guilt I feel masked by my rage


You waltz in the room in your drunken perfume

And you touch every inch of my being

Until the bitter sun rises and shows our disguises

You stretch while I’m left there bleeding


And you step away ‘cause you’re part of the day

And I sleep ‘cause I’m part of the night

And you say my chains will soon break away

And I’ll join you one day in the light


You push me and pull me, you ride me, you thrill me

Then turn every inch of me down

And I have nothing and no one

So what could I owe to one man who is craved by the crowd?


Break my hands; I can’t, I cannot break them myself

I see my own mind and the poisoning of its health

Help is beyond me; help won’t come from someone else


You waltz in the room in your drunken perfume

And you touch every inch of my being

And you grab my hand; reassure me again

That knowledge is so often freeing


And you say my chains will soon break away

And I’ll join you one day in the light

But I’m empty and aching; my whole world is breaking

And the black dog is holding me tight

(Below: A picture I drew in response to this song – ‘And the Black dog is sat at my feet.’)


Learning to Fly (Written by Tom Petty – The Weepies version)

Well I started out down a dirty road, started out all alone
And the sun went down as I crossed the hill
And the town lit up and the world got still

I’m learning to fly but I ain’t got wings
Coming down is the hardest thing

Now the good old days may not return, and the rocks may melt and the sea may burn
I’m learning to fly but I ain’t got wings, coming down is the hardest thing

Some say life will beat you down, break your heart, steal your crown
So I started out for god knows where I guess I’ll know when I get there

I’m learning to fly around the clouds
What goes up must come down.
I’m learning to fly but I ain’t got wings
Coming down is the hardest thing

[Aren’t they just the greatest lyrics?! Well I thinks so.]

To Instagram or not to Instagram . . .

I think Instagram is GREAT for cultivating inspiration. There are so many amazing artists on there showcasing their work, but not only that, they show photos of their processes and their studios. For a nerd like me this is PURE GOLD! There are so many exciting posts about mediums and tools that make me want to try them all. There so many artists who are so bold with their colour choices and mark making that inspire me to give it a go.

One example of this inspiration bearing fruit is a picture I started on last night. I was attempting a free hand sketch of myself (The original Selfie wouldn’t you say?) while watching the cricket, so no surprise it wasn’t perfect. The eyes were out of whack and nothing I could do would fix them so I decided that instead of getting frustrated and tearing it up it would be the perfect opportunity to play around with colour pencils. The picture below shows that I am still in the early stages and its looking quite subdued but rest assured folks, I intend to go BOLD with this one and if it doesn’t work out . . .MEH! No harm done. I’ve been inspired by so many bright portraits on Instagram that are full of colours you wouldn’t normally see on a face. They look FANTASTIC and colour scares the absolute crap out of me so why not give it a go . . .


Sometimes you need to dig a little deeper for some inspiration . . . 

Sometimes inspiration doesn’t just happen. It can take a bit of ‘digging’ to get to a point where you feel motivated to create something.

If you read my last blog post (maybe it was the one before . . . in fact, Im pretty sure it was the one before last . . . ) you’ll know that I’ve decided to enter an illustration competition and the only brief that was really given was the title of the book whose cover we needed to illustrate. ‘The sugar fairy’s adventure.’ For someone who has always loathed fairies and has sworn off sugar my motivation levels were severely lacking, so I started digging. I ‘pulled apart’ the title and began researching plums, the trees they grow on and the blossoms they produce and guess what? Little by little, as I formed an idea in my head of what I was going to draw, I began to get excited and the illustration gained some momentum. Below is the finished copy . . .


Not bad eh? I’m not sure it’ll win, some of the competition is pretty steep, but I’m pretty proud of what I achieved.

Everyone struggles with motivation at some time or another and everyone has different ways of working through it. Find what works for you so next time you hit the wall you’ll be equipped to deal with it.

Day two of this Cricket test starts in a few minutes so Im gonna go get set up with my drawing in front of the telly . . . Peace out Nerds xoxo