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Apr 252011

Dial “F” for the Fear of Failure Demon!

Ever notice that whenever you begin an new artistic project like a new book, painting, portfolio, short film, etc  that the frickin’  Fear of Failure Demon always seems to drop by in order to petrify you?  You spend sleepless gut wrenching nights consumed with images of doom.  Your brain subjects you to a non stop power point where both you and your art are featured as  objects of scorn, ridicule, or even worse  objects of pity.  So for the thousandth time you give up  and eighty-six  your dream.

Think you’re alone?


All artists go through this.  At  least the sane ones do.  Its normal.

To us, it  seems like the successful artists, the superstars of the art world, the ones we look up to, must own some secret magical map to success that they hide from the rest of us. We figure they must be blessed with courage and ingenuity that we can never hope to  match.

Bull crap!

Ask the top painters,  cartoonists, designers,  illustrators,  comic creators,  animators,  poets, writers, directors,  and they will all claim that they are no different! They too have had to deal with the  Fear of Failure Demon and have had their shares of crushing disappointment.

Fear of Failure is something within in all of us. Every one  of us is terrified of the unknown. We  as a species like to know what to expect, and we like our expectations to be comfy. All of us  seek approval and gratification and prefer to avoid hurtful experiences that bring rejection.

So how do we slay the Fear of Failure Demon, and make our dreams come true?

Use Extreme Prejudice when dealing with your Fear of Failure Demon.

There are a some  steps that can make the battle a little easier for us to win. Does this mean you won’t fail? Of course not. You will most definitely fail!  Because you can’t  succeed if you don’t fail. The key is to  adjust your thinking and only then can you dispel your detrimental Fear of Failure.

You can  minimize your  Fear of Failure if you stop imposing unrealistic expectations on yourself.  Failure does not make you as a loser.  Failure just means you made a mistake.  But remember! A mistake can be corrected. View failures as mistakes, learn from those mistakes  and move on.

Don’t ever just give up. Great success has often followed the most severe  failures.

Remember whenever you feel that the Fear of Failure Demon, is overtaking you:

  1. Communicate your fears to a friend, or write them down or whatever it takes to put the fear in perspective.
  2. Think to yourself, “what is the worst case scenario?”, then imagine yourself overcoming it.
  3. View failures as steps to success. With each step you gain more courage.
  4. Never give up. Success always comes when things looks the most hopeless.

Fear of failure is one of the most crippling fears you can have. Many have had to struggle with it on their way to success! But huge numbers of people remain unconsciously crippled by fear of failure … and never achieve their true potential.

Fear of failure has many forms. But more often than not, it’s a completely unconscious HABIT. Fortunately, like other habits, it CAN be changed!

Dive in and just go for it! Your real fear should be the fear of never trying!

I’d like to thank listener Lee Krukowski for writing in and getting me to think about the Fear of Failure Demon! Check out these great  samples of his work!

Check out Lee’s  Website

Follow Lee on Twitter

Krishna Sadashivam PC Weenies!


I’d like to give a shout out to Krishna Sadashivam The creator of the killer web comic PC Weenies! He called in and left a voice mail question on the Man vs. Art Minion Hotline! He asks what animation studios are looking for in terms of Storyboard Artist Portfolios. Check out the podcast if you want to know what I had to say on that.


PC Weenies! One of the best Web Comics out there!


Man vs. Art Pantheon of Awesomeness.

Art and words by Minion Henry Wiggins


Hey Raul…

Great show you aired last time.  Really enjoyed it like all the others.  So on mentioning submissions to the Pantheon of Awesomeness I would like to toss in the one and only…

Isaac Asimov

By Henry Wiggins

Born in 1920 Isaac Asimov was a writer of some of the greatest classic Science Fiction stories of the last hundred years.  Of his works The Foundation Series… The Galactic Empire series and his Robot series were major contributions to the world of sci-fi literature.  And These are just a few among the 500 books that he wrote or edited in his lifetime.

In particular Asimov’s Robot series generated 2 lasting concepts in science fiction including the invention of a robot’s ‘Positronic’ brain and the 3 laws of Robotics.  Both concepts were featured in the movies ‘The Bicentennial Man’ and ‘I Robot’ which were loosely based on his characters.

Though Asimov was a professor of biochemistry at Boston University he had also written many books on the subjects of physics and astronomy and even on the Bible and William Shakespeare’s works and of course chemistry.

For more than a half a century Science Fiction lovers around the world have enjoyed his thought provoking adventures across the vast universe and time itself.  Asimov will forever be remembered as one of the great thinkers and writers of our time.

I have been an Asimov fan for as long as I remember reading sci-fi.  His work was amazing at the time and I would say is required reading for any science fiction fan.  Hope you enjoyed the submission Sir.  Take care brother.

Henry Wiggins

Click the Image to see the rest of the Pantheon of Awesomeness!


Man vs. Art Friend of the show “La Cosa Nosferatu” Geo Brawn IV revamps his website!

Get it? Revamps?!  You know, because he does vampire comics and stuff.
Hey Minions, are you into vampires that don’t sparkle? Do you like pin-ups, horror, and all around good times? Then join your Ol’ buddy Geo at his newly revamped brawngraphix.com for the best in all the above!!! Now you can check out the  latest of Geo’s Vixens,  read his latest blog post, or unlock the world of the Untold Chronicles. At Brawngraphix.com it’s a bloody good time!


Lastly I’d like to present you with some samples of the 2D Traditional and some 3D digital Animation my students did from my History and Principles of Animation and Timing for Animation Classes at the Gnomon School of Visual effects in Hollywood California.

Here is the final exam by the four students in my History and Principles of Animation class.

Richard Daniels, Adam Nixon, Hartwell Durfor, and Margaret Byrne.

I asked them to animate a walk cycle using any technique and character they wanted. They all did a great job and gave me something  unique.

Then using Adobe After Effects Hartwell put all the walk cycles together in an homage to Dick Williams Survival Kit Animated Intro.




These are some of the Traditional 2d animation assignments I gave my students in the Gnomon School of Visual Effects Winter 2011 Timing for Animation Class.
Annie Khoo, Hejin Kim, and Wen Reimi Hseih. Walk Cycles, run Cycles, and more!




He asks what animation studios are looking for in terms of Storyboard Artist Portfolios. Check out the podcast if you want to know what I had to say on that.

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 Posted by at 12:40 am

  6 Responses to “Man vs. Art Episode 49! Advice for Artists on Overcoming the Fear of Failure.”

  1. What a great podcast!!!!!!
    I am so inspired to be a GREAT FAILURE!!!!!!
    I liked it! Thanks!

  2. Raul, awesome episode. Your perspective on the topic of failure could not have come at a better time for me. I really appreciate your advice and willingness to help the rest of us achieve our goals. Keep up the great work!!!

  3. Thanks Mr. Raul for the reaffirmation!!! I was so P.O.ed when I found out that I didn’t get the scholarship to [email protected], and when I got to a particular community college and didn’t get into the art scholarship either all this past weekend. You don’t know how embroiled I was after so many tries, but I got over it pretty fast and after listening to this episode it made me reaffirm myself. I am going to try again with a different approach…and so Thank you.

    • That’s the spirit! You need to maintain that positive outlook and concentrate on your art.

      When I was at Disney it took me over 5 years to get out of Clean-up and into the Animation Department. I must have submitted my reel and portfolio at least 10 times and got smacked down each and every time. But I never gave up. Then one morning my phone rang and the very next day I was Glen Keane’s assistant on Treasure Planet. Just like you it was never easy for me. I busted my ass for every break I ever got, while people all around me got all the breaks handed to them. Stoke that fire in your belly and give it hell! Belly fire goes a long way in Art!

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