Crazy? No, just art up the yin-yang!

I was checking out the blog of someone I know and he made a post talking about the pain of having your art beaten all to hell by criticism.

It got me to thinking. Something that’s helped me over the last few months is realizing there’s sort of a duality of self involved in this, two opposing natures, in creating game art.

There’s the touchy-feely artistic side, where you get in your groove and intuitively build something up with care and coax the beauty out of it. The nice side.

And then there’s the other side, the critical, gritty, unrelenting pound-it-with-a-hammer-until-it’s-right perfectionist side. The mean side.

You can’t have too much of one or the other. Too much art, not enough criticism, can produce soft, weak, mushy output, and you’ll never improve. Too much criticism, and you can simply strangle the art right out of anything you touch, and you’ll hate making art altogether.

Therein lies the interest, and the challenge. How much is too much of one or the other?

For fear of sounding like a hippie, it’s like the yin-yang concept. Opposing natures, but interwoven. Finding the balance between the two can be tricky, but understanding the two different halves is the first step to figuring out what that balance is.

Thinking about creating game art in those two distinct phases has helped me weather criticism pretty well. “Okay, I made this. Time to beat the hell out of it until it’s the best it can be.”

It helps mentally brace me, and the more I understand that that’s how it works and that I’m NOT crazy for bouncing between those two extremes, the less dread I have going into it.

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