Alan Moore – Advice for Young Artists

16 Jun

There was a brief video on youtube, a piece of an interview with Alan Moore, offering his advice for young artists. It was the best piece of advice, and I adored it….and then the video vanished. So by dint of transcribing a great deal of it into a google search, I’ve found 90% of what he had to say…and now I am going to re-post it everywhere, in an effort to keep it from vanishing. So if you’re not 1) me 2) a young artist 3) interested in Alan Moore then you can 4) skip this post.

(it leaves out his discussion about having children and stuff, and I wish it didn’t. Must find a more complete copy….)

LJP: What would you say to other young people trying to become successful in their trade?

AM: OK, the first thing you’ve got to really focus upon is why you want to do this. If you want to be famous or you want to be rich, it ain’t going to work. For one thing, being famous – there are some good things to it but there’s not very many. It’s mainly a pain in the arse and it sends your head a bit weird… Even people who’ve got a tiny little bit of fame, it drives them completely mental, it can destroy your life… 

… The only thing that you can do if you want to be a success is focus upon the thing that you do purely for it’s own sake. 

If you love writing comics, drawing comics, making comics, making music or whatever, and you’re not doing it to get famous and you’re not doing it to make money you’re just doing it because you love it and you want to get better, and you want to get better, and you want to get better, then you’ll probably do alright. 

Don’t focus on the fame and the wealth stuff, that’s what everyone wants, you can become famous and moderately wealthy just by going on Big Brother. You know, what does that prove, what does it mean? Especially these days, fame means nothings and increasingly money doesn’t mean that much either. 

LJP: Generally it means you’ll shave off all your hair and be addicted to some sort of drug.

AM: Absolutely. You know the only thing is: focus purely upon what it is that you like to do. If you like to draw, to write… if you’ve got a tiny bit of talent, even if it’s not that much… that’s how we all start out… 

… I couldn’t write when I started out, you know I couldn’t draw but I liked writing. I liked writing compositions and essays at school, and I liked reading, and I liked thinking ‘you know how good am I as a writer, compared to these guys that I like reading?’ And you think ‘actually, I’m rubbish’, and so you try and make yourself a little bit better. And if you are honest with yourself, not over critical (there’s no point at looking at everything you do and saying that’s rubbish and tearing it up) but if you can at least be honest and say ‘yep, this has got some bits in it that are good, I could have done better with these bits, this is not as good as So-and-So, who I admire… Next time this is going to be better’. And you just try and make every thing you do a little bit smarter, a little bit more sophisticated than the thing you did before. 

Eventually people will notice. Eventually you will start to move beyond what every body else is doing. And without ever having a master-plan… you will find [success] without having to compromise anything, without having to sell-out your vision… 

And it’s important that you don’t do that, because that’s the only thing you’ve really got that separates you from anybody else. There’s probably loads of people who can sing, or do music, or write or draw the way that you can. The only thing that makes you unique is that you’re you. You had your experience, you had you’re life, you’ve got your knowledge. So put all of that into what you do. Make it individual, make it unique, and you know make it your selling point… you’ve had this experience. Put it to use and I don’t think you’ll go far wrong.

There’s a lot more to it than than of course. There’s a lot of boredom, there’s a lot of grind, and a lot of anxiety where you think  ‘am i as good as i think i am, am i ever going to really make it?’ But don’t worry about that. You know if you’re doing what you love, even if you’re not making any money out of it you are still better off than 99% of the people in this world who are not doing what they love. They’re doing something that gets them by. Maybe they’re entertaining dreams that one day they could be this or they could be that but all too often those dreams just kind of die in the cradle. 

You know it’s sort of ’stay true to yourself’… there isn’t a ceiling. [Think:] ‘There’s nothing I couldn’t be if I try hard enough…’ and I think that’s something a bit more useful than just security or a colour telly or stuff like that…

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Posted by on June 16, 2012 in Uncategorized


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