Mental Health

The Fear of Not Being Seen

I don’t feel comfortable writing this, but I believe it is a necessary step for me to get over what’s going on in life.

Recently I have been dealing with a lot of self-doubts and started to question my own ability. Some of the questions I have included:

  • Am I doing the right things?
  • Have I done my best?
  • Are there any other things I can do to make things better?
  • Should I be chasing people for opportunities?
  • Why are things not working out the way I wanted them to be?

And the one I ask myself the most is…

WHERE IS MY TRIBE?

I know, this may sound so silly since I have a good following. However, when insecurity hits, my mind will start to wander in the dark side.

Being a community leader is fun but there are also a lot of challenges. I understand artists are not necessarily good at expressing themselves with words but sometimes I get frustrated when people don’t interact with me on IG story polls or IG Live. Without those interactions, I don’t really know which direction this community should be heading to or what I should create to benefit the community. Sometimes I just wanted to shut this community down and move on because I don’t even know if I am doing the right thing.

I can tell you that I have hit a few walls during this fashion week. There were a few exciting things I wanted to do but due to the lack of response and the war, I have to scrap them.

I still have a passion for this community but honestly, I am feeling lost.

Perhaps Draw A Dot should just be an art account that only features artworks and forget about the community aspect. Perhaps I should just focus on the Patreon group and ignore the followers on Instagram from now on.

Maybe someone can give me suggestions on where Draw A Dot should be heading next.

16 Comments

  • Bassam

    Hello, Mr. Marcus.
    First off, it’s brave to share your your personal thoughts. You are always asking your community for our opinion, so it’s valid that you ask us in this matter as well.
    In my perspective, you have supported your followers for many years, giving people opportunities to be seen, to be discovered by other artists and maybe even companies! I’m positive that, because of you, artists have been able to find job opportunities in the illustration and fashion community. If that isn’t a big part of success, I don’t know what is!
    Now, speaking for myself, I have learned A LOT from Draw A Dot. I have been following you for many years. With each open call, I ask myself if I did a good job, what went wrong, and how I can improve my illustrations. Unknowingly, you have been teaching me aspects about my job that I consider have been extremely helpful.
    I’ll let yourself to decide the future of Draw A Dot, because after all, you should reach a decision that will make you happy (you are the creator, you have the rights to change directions too).

    I hope my comment was helpful.
    Wishing you all the best, thank you for all you do.

    Bassam
    @bassartiworld

    • mistermkan

      Thanks Bassam! I am glad I can help you! I need some time to figure out what I should do next. Sometimes when I post IG stories, I am actually collecting info on what kind of content or open call I should do next. But with the lack of interaction, I honestly cannot create anything that caters to the community. I sometimes feel like I am just blindly creating things without getting real feedback from the community. That’s where I stand right now.

  • Mishal

    I must appreciate your honesty! I want to share how you have contributed as a motivation in my life as an artist. I totally gave up on this ambition of mine and focused on my day job as a Senior school teacher. However, your posts and constant push towards this community made me join back and pursue this path again. So firstly, thank you for always motivating us and secondly, its okay to feel that dark but its also necessary to look beyond. You have created an amazing community please dont lose hope in us

    • mistermkan

      Thank you! I need some time to see how to continue building this community and where we should head to. I don’t feel too inspired when the community is not really engaging.

    • Mk Carine

      First, let me tell you how greatful and happy I feel about the community you are building. For years, I was longing for my “artists tribe”. Having an IG account was one step into this direction. I discovered a whole new world of fashion illustrations I didn’t even know it existed. Discovering your account was another major milestone.When your reposted one of my illus for the 1st time ? Maaaaan, I was soooo excited!
      Over the time, I stopped tagging other “art reposts” accounts because I really loved your approach.It shows you’r not reposting just for the sake of having more followers and views. You care about the growth of the artists. You challenge us with the open calls and with the patreon members, you take time to give feedbacks and learn from eachother.
      It takes a bit of time to build a strong tribe.Hang in there, you are in the right direction.
      We might not say it, but trust me, you are positively impacting a lot of artits.
      MK Carine

      • mistermkan

        Thank you! I just need some time to think. Since there is no blueprint for creating a fashion illustration community, I have to rely on the inputs from you guys to help me create the community (aka we define our own rules). But when artists are staying silent, then I feel powerless, because I don’t have the right things to bargain with the brands to create more interesting things for the community. This is where the struggle is. And I am not too sure how I can encourage artists to engage. I don’t really care about the number of followers, I care about how to create a better community for you guys.

  • Aditi Jain

    Marcus!!!! You are fantastic at creating a culture of enthusiasm, opportunities and learning for a community of new and aspiring fashion artists and have gone beyond showing them what good art is into social media, marketing and helping them identify their signatures. Maybe it just about competing priorities? Or just the way IG is panning out Ito reach and engagement. Do what’s best for you and your time and what gives you joy!

    • mistermkan

      Thank you! The issue I have is not about the number of followers I have, is more the engagement. I get very confused when there are 500 people saw the IG stories for certain polls and only 4-5 of them engaged. This really gives me no information on what I should do for the community because the information I collect will determine what kind of contests or brands I should approach. And without the input,I basically am on my own to create things but they do necessarily cater to the community. This is what I am having problems with right now.

  • Serra_fashiondesign

    Dear, thank you for the honesty,

    I understand the situation, i believe it’s very frustrating.

    I can gladly say that when you first approached me.. I felt seen and appreciated for my work in a serious way. I’m hoping to be able to give more and to be part of the community in a stronger way.

    You should always follow what you feel that’s for you, and I just want to let you know that you made an impact on my personal perspective about illustration. And I believe you do it for many others. You give a warm and safe space for the artists.

    Thank you for being a good light in this mad world.

    Whatever happens, I thank you!

    And I know you will still be great!

    Also hoping to keep following your advices 😉

    • mistermkan

      Thank you so much Serra! I am glad that I have made an impact on you. I think I need some time to think about what to do and continue to observe the community. Without any guidance, I just don’t really know how to move forward.

  • Sneha Tulsani

    Hey Marcus, thank you for sharing this. I understand it can be frustrating when you don’t get engagement from your community. Faced that many times. Anyway I would like to take a moment to say the work you do for the artists is amazing. Being a part of the Patreon group, has really helped me so much in my art itself and also helped me gain confidence in my work. And you have been supportive always. That’s the impact Draw a Dot has for artists all over the world. I have been guilty myself for a while now for less interactions, there are certain things that have taken priorities. Your tribe is going to grow and get better. Thank you for all your advice and support.

  • shannon

    Dear Marcus,
    First of all, thank you for letting us know how you feel and where you’re at right now. I can imagine it must be disheartening at times. But what I can’t imagine is drawadot is not being a community anymore. Because for me it has been and still is one of the biggest motivators to improve and push myself. And I want to thank you for that. And altough the selfish brat in me would ask you to please continue, I know you should only do what makes YOU happy! So either way is good for me. And thank you for all you’ve done for us!

    • mistermkan

      Thanks Shannon for the message. Even though I am not too sure what’s going on with the community right now, I am still going to focus on the community aspect in the Patreon group. I still have a lot to give in that group. It will be more interesting to see if I should just move everything to Patreon now so that I can build a strong community there. Something I will take some time to think about.

  • Sandra

    Ah Marcus,

    I’m so sorry you’ve been feeling this way. The things you’ve done for our community and for me have been invaluable. When I look back at so many of the pivotal moments in my illustration career, they have happened in connection with something you’ve initiated, whether that be an open call, launching Share Your Asian Story, watching a runway show with you and the Patreon group, or getting into NFT’s. You’ve been an inspiration every time I’ve connected with you, and the most meaningful thing you’ve done for me is given me faith in myself as an artist by believing in me.
    I think everyone, everything has its ebbs and flows, and this year has brought new challenges to our community. Things are changing again monumentally as the world opens back up. So many more things occupy artists now that many of us are returning to work in person, going out to socialize, being distracted by other things. The war has been heavy on our minds and we’ve lost touch with many of our Ukrainian artist friends. The Instagram algorithm changes have made us lose touch with our followers and that is frustrating as hell too. I think the challenges you’ve mentioned have to do with all of that.
    You’re right to tell us how you’ve been feeling. It’s a wake up call to the artists that we shouldn’t take you for granted. You are a beacon of light in this community. Don’t lose faith in us. Stick around a little longer and some of us will make you proud.

    • mistermkan

      Thanks Sandra. No I am not going anywhere, but perhaps I have to switch gears and focus on Patreon. I see the community aspect is stronger in Patreon because people are willing to engage. But when it comes to the public, as you said, it looks like people are taking it for granted and they don’t really want to voice their opinions. I think my IG stories will give you more idea of what I am talking about. In a sense, it is a scary discovery.

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