A man of wisdom once told me, “If you seek praise from the world, you will only find pain.” If an artist gets caught up in the pulpit of public opinion, upon which one person says they’re a genius, that their art, writing or music is otherworldly, while the next person calls them amateur, a hack and claims they have no right working in the creative arts, they become consumed by doubt, wondering which one is right.
The most amazing prose will never be read if it’s presented in an unattractive, ill suited format. Lines of type crammed together into rectangular blocks that swallow up the gutters of the page and smother the writer’s intention are a bane of printed books.
For a long time, if you told someone that you self-published your own book they looked at you like you had the plague. One or two friends may accept the copy you gifted them, but neither of them would ever read it. If you were unable to find an agent who could sell your manuscript to a publisher, you were not a real author. In fact, you were often looked upon as a failed writer.
An artist’s best catalyst to progress is their willingness to embrace ideas that are outside their comfort zone. Many creative people I have known throughout my life get too comfortable working in their genre. The information and material they digest is solely from the environment in which they work. This type of thinking is to an artist’s detriment. Never get comfortable in your creative environment.
While I am well aware that not every childhood is full of happy thoughts, there is a lens that all children look through where even the smallest things, like going for ice cream or playing outside on the sidewalk during the summer, bring them a type of magnified joy we so often lose in adulthood. Childhood is where I first decided to craft stories and make illustrations to share with like-minded adventurers.
Rudyard Kipling is a beloved author and poet and at once, to some, a controversial figure. The author of the Jungle Book, and short stories like The Man Who Would Be King, Kipling’s work conjures up tales of exotic lands, mythic beasts and Britain’s colonial empire, specifically, perhaps, the footprint it pressed upon India. Today, a growing number of people suggest that Kipling and his work should be dismissed from bookshelves and ultimately from a place in literary and cultural history because of the picture of the British Empire in which his life and work emerged.