When Twilight Princess was first released, it instantly became my favorite game ever and I was completely obsessed with this title — so much so that I even started mimicking Link in my everyday life. I loved everything about this game and, being a growing artist, I would constantly draw fan art of the game.
My school binders were full of Link and Zelda doodles! I mean, I tried to draw Midna too, but I had a difficult time drawing the lovable imp. Actually, all of the characters always took a tedious amount of time for me to draw, as Twilight Princess has some of the most elaborate character designs in the series, even to this day. However, I loved these designs so much that I would take the time to sit and sketch every refined detail I could squeeze into the portrait. Of course, I did take some shortcuts and just draw head shots from time to time. I drew one in particular that I was incredibly proud of, and I just couldn’t wait to show all my friends.
I had just gotten an old copy of Photoshop during my middle school years and I had been using it like crazy. Whenever my friends would come over, I’d show them my latest drawing and discuss my process behind it. Most of it was, of course, Zelda related.
I had just finished a drawing of Link that I titled (pardon me as I sigh before typing this) “Confuzzledated Link”. Yeah. That’s really what I called it. It was just a head shot of a befuddled Link staring at the viewer. Being as I was only in 6th grade or so, I thought I had really nailed all the proportions and given it a more realistic look, which you’ll soon find is totally inaccurate once you see the drawing for yourself. While I was patting myself on the back for a job well done, my friends, on the other hand, were not shy to point out its flaws — or at least one in particular.
I brought my friend upstairs to hang out in my room where the computer was. Of course, I wanted to show her my creation. I pulled the image up on the screen and she did not hesitate to quickly state that his nose was too big.
Being the defensive person I am, I quickly argued that his nose was bigger in Twilight Princess so the size was accurate. We discussed for quite the time before we eventually quit, realizing that neither one of us would give in to the others opinion. Considering how many times I hard drawn Link, studied his face and every single detail on it, I had to be right — or so I thought. Granted, Twilight Princess Link’s nose is a little bigger than some of his counterparts, and my friend was right that I did not draw it to scale.
I later showed my mom, hoping for a more positive response. I worked so hard to get the proportions just right and I really thought I did, until she also confirmed that his nose was too big. After complimenting me on my work, she quickly followed up with the fact that Link’s nose was abnormally large. It couldn’t be true! It was perfect! At least I thought it was, but being as frustrated as I was with this drawing, hearing those comments in the back of my head every time I looked at it, I put it away for a long time.
Years went by and I was now in high school, still drawing and improving in my work. I was taking many different art classes and learning so much more about proportions, shading, color, and more. I had met my very best friend in one of these art classes bonding over our love of Naruto and illustration and we continually drew together, helping each other improve even more so. We made a tradition to go over all of our old drawings together and laugh at the mistakes we’ve made in the past.
She came over to my house one day and I opened up the file with all of my artwork and we started from the very beginning. One by one we would take a look, laugh, and comment about how far we’ve come since then. Then this picture came up again. I hadn’t seen it in years. I took it off DeviantArt, I hid it away in a file, and I was done with it — but here it was again, and you know what? His nose was too big.
As I continue to draw to this day, I know I’m still leagues away from being perfect, and honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever get there. However, I have learned to go back and look at my previous work to learn from it, and even get a good laugh. I was debating on whether or not to actually write this article, as it would mean that I’d have to share this old drawing of mine with the internet once more, but you know what? I’m not embarrassed. Sure, it’s not a good drawing. Sure, I still hear those comments in my head — but I realized that they had a point, I took that advice, and I improved because of it.
Sure, it’s not a good drawing […] but I realized that they had a point, I took that advice, and I improved because of it.
It’s a struggle as an artist to hear your work is flawed. No one wants to hear that what they do is bad, or at least imperfect. First of all, I say to you that art doesn’t need to be perfect for it to be enjoyed. Do what you do because you love it, not for anyone’s approval. Second, learn from your mistakes. Take those things that you have trouble with and practice! But you don’t need to take every criticism to heart because sometimes, believe it or not, they can be wrong. In my case, they were right, but I know that my friends and family wanted to help me grow as an artist. With that being said, I leave you with the ugly drawing that helped me to improve and leave you to decide: Do you think his nose is too big?