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Your Art is Not Your Identity by StephenMcCranie Your Art is Not Your Identity by StephenMcCranie
It took me 6 months to write this essay— I was nervous about it and wanted to get the words exactly right. This is a comic I wrote for a book I'm working on. If you like this and want to see more, please visit the official website:

[link]
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Daily Deviation

Given 2012-09-22
:iconlonelynightrain:
lonelynightrain Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Amazing!
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:iconstephenmccranie:
StephenMcCranie Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2015  Professional
Thank you!
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:iconlonelynightrain:
lonelynightrain Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
You're very welcome! :D
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:iconbalweendr:
Balweendr Featured By Owner May 26, 2014  Hobbyist
AMAZINGGGGG!!
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:iconturningleaves:
TurningLeaves Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2014
I don't see many artists on deviantART that are like you - genuinely good people that honestly care about everyone. Your comics are full of symbolism (the panel of you walking the circle path is sooo good), and I love that so much. May God be pleased with you, man. You do this out of the goodness of your heart and that's all people need from others. :thumbsup:
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:iconstephenmccranie:
StephenMcCranie Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2014  Professional
I'm not so good as you might think-- but thanks for the compliment! God is good thought-- and by his grace I've learned these hard lessons.
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:iconricchin:
Ricchin Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It made a big impact on me...
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:iconstephenmccranie:
StephenMcCranie Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2014  Professional
C:
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:iconalagvaile:
Alagvaile Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2013
...I'm relly scared of getting blind or something...I have to admit its one of my biggest fears, not only because of drawind, but mostly because of it v.v
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:iconstephenmccranie:
StephenMcCranie Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2013  Professional
Yeah, it's scary to think about all the things that could go wrong. Fear can be paralyzing!
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:iconalagvaile:
Alagvaile Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2013
I probably just shouldn't think so much ^^
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:iconcrochetkitty29:
crochetkitty29 Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2013
Yeah, I am like this, I admit it. I think highly of myself when I see others not as good as me, then I see someone better, I kneel on my knees and treat them  like gods and goddesses. I plead for people to check out the art I tried so hard to work on. It really is how artists are huh, well not all of them, but a really big chunk of them.
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:iconstephenmccranie:
StephenMcCranie Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2013  Professional
yeah, definitely how I am-- even now. But I hope to change. :)
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:iconcrochetkitty29:
crochetkitty29 Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2013
Same here :)
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:iconyamilink:
yamilink Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Yay!
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:iconailyric:
Ailyric Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow. I just want to say that this comic personificates so many artists so well, because it's true and it's something you've been through. So you understand it really well and it shows without doubt.
It is done with such a honesty and nice colors.
Not everyone would expose their feelings or "weak" feelings this way. Well done :)

And I just want to say you got yourself another watcher.
Because I looked around a little and despite the amount of comments you get, you take all the time needed to respond to each of them. That is some gratitude ^-^ You really are doing things well.

I hope God continues blessing you.
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:iconstephenmccranie:
StephenMcCranie Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2013  Professional
Thank you! I appreciate that-- keep in touch!
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:iconwolfangel5:
WolfAngel5 Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2013
well, i just begin drawing because i was bored and finaly it became a hobby -__-. well this is beautiful, full of passion, and awesome!
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:iconstephenmccranie:
StephenMcCranie Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2013  Professional
Thank you! Keep drawing! It's fun.
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:iconrickbrowder:
RickBrowder Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
This is.... profound. Thank you.

A question though, as it is something I struggle with. How do you balance the need for ego, that thing that tells us what we do is good and convinces us it is worth doing, with humility and realism?
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:iconstephenmccranie:
StephenMcCranie Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2013  Professional
Great question-- I think it's a keen insight you've made discerning that dichotomy.

We all need to define what is good in life so we can pursue it. We need to know what'll make us happy, so we can strive for it. The problem we run into is often this puts us on a see-saw of arrogance and despair. When we perform with excellence and get what we want, we grow proud and have little mercy for other people who haven't made it as far as we have. Conversely, when we don't get what we want, we fall into despair and start believing we'll never be happy because we don't have what it takes.

Not everyone would agree with me on this, but the only object of pursuit I've found that breaks the see-saw and brings you to a place of true humility is Jesus.

When I read the bible, I see I have no reason to despair, because Jesus saved me, and but I also see I have no reason to be arrogant, because I did not save myself. That the son of God died to pay for the bad things I've done holds such profoundness for me. It means I have nothing to brag about, because I see the things I've done are so bad God had to kill his own son for me. But it also means I am totally loved and have nothing to despair about, because God made the sacrifice anyway, in spite of how bad I am.

Obviously, I struggle to believe these things all the time, or else I wouldn't have drawn the comic above-- but I am convinced these things are true whether I believe them or not.

I'd be open to any thoughts you have on that of course-- thanks for your question and your time!
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:iconluelated:
LuElated Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
A very thought provoking comic. I'm always trying to improve my art because I want to eventually be able to portray the exact same image I see in my head into reality. For me it's more of a love to create that drives me over simply being good at it, but I can see how this could happen to any artist. Very well done.
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:iconstephenmccranie:
StephenMcCranie Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013  Professional
Thank you! I have that desire too-- it's a good one if it doesn't consume you.
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:iconaerococonut:
aerococonut Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I don't often stop to comment on everything I read, but this is just so simply gorgeous that I felt I had to. I love the elegant, flowing words, and I think they really resonate with every artist who has stepped into the same situation. I find myself re-evaluating my own identity as a result of this!

The muted colours are a beautiful choice as well, and serve to unify the whole story, and your style is so graceful to view. For six month's work, I think you've created something that will speak to the rest of us for a very long time.

Thank you for sharing this.
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:iconstephenmccranie:
StephenMcCranie Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013  Professional
You're welcome! Thanks for stopping by-- I'm glad it resonated with you!
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:iconaerococonut:
aerococonut Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
No problem at all!
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:iconbtomimatsu:
btomimatsu Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
*starts reading this* *Gets halfway* "OK this Better have gotten a daily deviation" *finishes, sees DD* *very happy*
Nice work!! I love this. It was well written and the illustrations in the comic were amazing!
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:iconstephenmccranie:
StephenMcCranie Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2013  Professional
Ha ha, thanks!
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:iconxxem-033xx:
xXEm-033Xx Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2012  Student General Artist
thank you so much
this is amazing!! :D
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:iconstephenmccranie:
StephenMcCranie Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2012  Professional
You're welcome!
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:iconkerrikat:
kerrikat Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is awesome. Really thoughtful. I can dig it.
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:iconstephenmccranie:
StephenMcCranie Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2012  Professional
Thanks Kerrikat!
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:iconrandom-gal:
Random-Gal Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Can I just say this is really worthwhile? I mean, I know it's silly and may not even sound much like a compliment but it is.
I really needed to read this. And I think there are a lot of other who need(ed) it too.
So thanks for making it. :)
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:iconstephenmccranie:
StephenMcCranie Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2012  Professional
You're welcome-- I appreciate that!
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:iconartseycarmen:
artseycarmen Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2012
i love this
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:iconstephenmccranie:
StephenMcCranie Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012  Professional
Thanks Carmen!
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:iconartseycarmen:
artseycarmen Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012
np
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:iconininsaki:
Ininsaki Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2012
I feel kind of bad now.. I ended up walking down that path.. I was commonly the shadow of everything.. but then things took a turn.. I started looking at my work, and began to loathe it. I felt that no one liked it, and that, in turn, made me hate it. I couldn't stand to look at it.. and one day, I removed it all from DeviantArt. Deleted everything I worked on. Everything I've written. Everything I spent hours on for people to look at for maybe seventeen seconds at most. I hated my hands, for the hellish torture of an image they made every time I tried. The only remaining piece of work that I've made would be my avatar that you see to the left of this text. I hate even that one, but others wanted at least something that I had made, and I prefer not to have a depressed looking avatar, like most of my work is, so it turned out to be that.

Now I just sit here, in front of my laptop, feeling inspiration beyond anything else, but then remembering the monstrosities that my hands made every time I felt that lust to create, and I end up remaining in my corner on my bed.

For those of you who read this, thank you. Not much read what I write anymore, so I always appreciate knowing that someone stopped to read what I had to say.
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:iconstephenmccranie:
StephenMcCranie Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2012  Professional
Hello-- I read your whole comment-- I'm sorry for the experiences you've had!

If you feel inspired, but hate everything you make-- I drew a comic to encourage you in that place:

[link]

It's a very natural thing to not like the work you make. More often than not, I'm in the same boat. Not being satisfied with your work is something we all share, you're not alone!

Thanks for commenting!
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:iconlittlerock34:
LittleRock34 Featured By Owner May 25, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I've read the comic you linked and it make me feel better :) . I've never been proud of my art but when I read this comic I understood something ! We learn of our fail , it's a very important lesson that I'm not gonna forget! When I draw without looking at my fault I feel more free and my drawings are more true ! I hope one day I'll draw better , thank you for all your comics :).
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:iconininsaki:
Ininsaki Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2012
No no.. thank you for actually reading my comment. I doubted that really you of all would read and reply to it. You're artwork is amazing. The words that you use with it is equally as amazing. I specifically chose to reply to this one because of that it matched my situation for the most part. I'll open your link in a new tab, and most likely reply on that one as well, but for this reply, I just need to say thank you for reading my first comment, replying to it, and reading this one as well. Most nearly hate my words now because I have some emotion in it that seemingly hurts them, when I only write how I feel on the subject.. I don't like blabbering on and on about myself, pouring my emotions out. I used to do that with passages and poems, but I've learned better. Whenever I look at them now, I utterly hate them. I very rarely use the word hate, but I hate them.

Here I go again, jabbering on.. I apologize. I need to learn to keep my words under control and not letting myself go on like that.. I feel like I shouldn't delete them, though, because I have that feeling that they should be read, even though every letter that I type only shows more of what I apparently feel... which I just can't stand to see..

I bottle everything up because.. If everyone saw the real me.. then I'd be even farther cast away than I currently am...

Sorry for rambling...
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:iconstephenmccranie:
StephenMcCranie Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2012  Professional
It sounds like you are dealing with life things that go a deeper than your art. I wish I could help you but I can't--

Not everyone agrees with me on these things, but I do believe there is a God out there who sees the real you and doesn't even flinch-- more than that, he loves you deeply-- so deep that he'd die for you.

I don't know if that applies to you, but I wish you well. Stay in touch!
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:iconininsaki:
Ininsaki Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2012
I definitely will keep in touch. You're one of the only ones who listen, and also replies helpfully.

I actually think I'll suck up my hatred for my art and make you something, just for helping me so much. :)
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:iconstephenmccranie:
StephenMcCranie Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2012  Professional
Wow! That'd be an honor!

If this is your first time making art in a while, I'd recommend keeping it really simple and manageable-- don't aim for mastery, just aim for completion! If you finish it, that is your moment of success! The quality of the work shouldn't matter at this point. Don't let what the work looks like say anything about your value as a person or who you are. Just the act of finishing will be your victory!

Some tips for keeping it low pressure:

Draw something you're interested in, something your like.
Keep it simple: black and white, one media.
Set a timer for 20 minutes and try to finish in that time. If you don't make it that's fine, just set the timer for another 20 minutes-- but try to keep it short! The goal is to get in and out! The goal is not to make gorgeous art, it's just to make art!
Listen to music-- try to have fun!

But no pressure! I'm not going to judge you one way or another whatever you decide to do!
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:iconininsaki:
Ininsaki Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2012
I actually spend usually 4 hours on every picture, and I have drawn withing the past two months. I can only really draw in greyscale, so that won't be much problem anyway. Thanks for the tips! I should have it done relatively soon!
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:iconlenindcruz:
lenindcruz Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2012
Thankyou dA for sharing this awesome work on FB! Excellent thoughts.
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:iconstephenmccranie:
StephenMcCranie Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2012  Professional
Thank you!
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:iconalumx:
Alumx Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:iconclapplz: Very deep, awesome work, you managed to touch that essence that many artists struggle to express
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:iconstephenmccranie:
StephenMcCranie Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2012  Professional
Thank you! :party:
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:iconyuna-dragon:
Yuna-Dragon Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
So beautiful, made my day stop for a while just to think about it all.
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