I was out shopping a few weeks ago when a mother of two approached me to tell me how she admired my courage for talking about dating.
CONNECTING WITH PEOPLE
Even then, imposter syndrome struck me again because I remember being terrified of the reviews.
My art style was simple, unlike the elaborate drawings with intricate details that I’ve seen in manga and western comics. Will people like my book? Will they think my art is too childish?
Will they think I’m too picky, too confident, or too geeky to find a partner? What if one of the dates in the book recognised me?
What if I was cancelled?
Whenever a new review came up, I got my friends to read them first before I even dared to take a glance. So, when readers started telling me how much the book resonated with them, I was taken by surprise.
The book turned out to be a bestseller at Kinokuniya in the comics category for two whole weeks. The Straits Times called it “a charmingly relatable dive into the woes of modern dating” and gave me a five-star review.
What struck me most from this experience was the small interactions with readers. For example, I once received a heartwarming note from a reader that said “You are deserving of love too”.
I realised that this is why I make art, and it is to connect with people.
EVERY ARTIST IS HIS OR HER WORST CRITIC
That is why I still continue to participate in art events where I get to meet people, because it constantly reminds me that I’m part of something which can inspire others to keep chasing their dreams.
As such, I’m an exhibitor at the Singapore Comic Con this year once more.
But when I heard that the phrase “Make It Here” was the theme for this year’s Singapore Media Festival, which the Comic Con is a part of, I couldn’t help feeling that same niggling feelings of self-doubt.
I wondered: Could I even say if I’d “made it” yet?
Over the years, I still have yet to completely put aside my imposter syndrome, which I have accepted will always loom over me.
When I look back at my old art, for example, I still cringe at my feeble attempts at drawing human anatomy. But I have since learnt to take such feelings in my stride by being proud of what I’ve achieved.
I still wonder if being an artist is truly my calling, but I always think back to a moment in 2022 when I met one of my favourite comic artists Mitch Gerads at the Singapore Comic Con a few years ago while donning the costume of the iconic Wonder Woman.
He is an acclaimed illustrator for DC Comics, and I had purchased a piece of art from him that showed a girl looking at a framed picture of Wonder Woman while emulating her power pose.
Serendipitously, a little girl came up to me for a photo, eyes sparkling and also pulling off the power pose.
This wasn’t just life imitating art, but it was his artwork actually coming to life in this chance encounter.
I knew from then on that I wanted to create special moments like this too through my art.
Because as long as I continue creating meaningful art for people and sharing them, I think I’m going to be okay.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Samara Gan, 27, is a self-employed comic artist and the author of the graphic novel How to Date a Dozen Men. Her social media handle is @samarasketch.