And if there's one piece of advice I can give to artists of all skill levels,
Stay humble while being proud.
For those of you who think you have reached your best, stop right there.
and never EVER get offended if someone who you feel is under-skilled offers you a tip.
Perhaps they know a new method or a new way to do something that you have yet to come across.
You'll never know unless you hear them out.
("But I don't have time for that!") All well and good,
if you don't have the time state so politely while still letting them know that if you had a moment,
you would converse artistically with them.
And as far as criticism goes,
I strongly suggest that you do not become so puffed up in the head as to yell at someone for criticizing your work.
Their words aren't law, so why let it sink in and get you all worked up?
As artists, we make art for one or more of these reasons:
To express ourselves,
To convey a message,
To induce a feeling,
To make a living.
When we are criticized, we are made aware that we have provoked another to speak out, and it isn't always what we would hope to hear, but that's just their opinion. And if you can learn from that criticism, than that's all the more reason to except it simply as suggestive material that pushes us forwards.
Humility is important, practice it always.
If you are making art to make a living then criticism becomes a bit more bothersome, as people tend to like to *bandwagon*. And once 2 or 3 people start disliking your work, depending on their maturity, many other people will also state the same opinion just to go with the flow. What does all their comments mean? Well aside from any comment that that you can learn something from, all the other comments have their place as normal discardable rhetoric that always is presence in the opinion of art.
For those of you who are so frequently undervaluing yourselves, the same goes opposite for you, that there is always someone worse. You may not be "the best" but that's ok as long as you are doing "your best" Don't be discouraged by bad criticism, or bad breaks. That's all apart of the road that an artist must trod upon. All success stories have their low points, and yours will to. It's surviving those low points that makes the story all the more powerful and inspiring to those who will follow in your footsteps and one day regard you as a professional.
And don't get intimidated by the current pros, they were JUST like you. It doesn't matter what school you go to, for how long, or even if you've had no formal training at all, you still CAN make it just the same if you try.
If it's less than once a day I bet your improvement must be looking pretty slow, or perhaps even ..non existent.
Persistence pays off, concentration pays of, and above all PRACTICE pays off.
Stay humble, knowing that what you have done others may also do just the same and perhaps even better.
Stay proud of what you can do now, and take heart knowing that there is no way that improvement will never come to you so long as you keep on trying.