Why is Ben so unable to view himself as critically as he views other people?
Because he’s a human being? It’s interesting, though: From the reaction to this story, I have learned that my scale of what is acceptable might be a bit different from other people’s. It reminds me that there’s been a lot of great works by other artists that I really admire and I assume must be universally acclaimed. And then I do some research and find out, oh, it turns out a lot of people hated Stanley Kubrick’s movies.
And this in-depth one at The Believer:
Q:Do you mean fully formed as an artist?
AT: Yeah. Someone like Julie Doucet was as great with the first thing she published as with the last thing she published, and it was completely her own style with no clear antecedents. It would require one to be quite an asshole to tell her how she could improve or what she might need to focus on. With me, people saw me struggling with different ideas, different methods. So I got a lot of advice, some solicited, some not, and that continues today. But in terms of the really valuable advice, I learned a lot of concrete stuff by seeking it out. Once I felt comfortable enough around some of the people who had been heroes to me, like Jaime Hernandez, Dan Clowes, or Peter Bagge, and I had gotten over that intimidation, I would seize on these opportunities to ask, “In this issue, you did this thing, and how did you do that?” Without fail, every cartoonist that I asked advice from bent over backward to be helpful and encouraging. It took many forms: some of it was just an implicit acceptance, like being invited along to the dinner with all of the good cartoonists, or sitting down at a drafting table with an artist and him showing me how to draw backgrounds and perspectives.