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The Truth about Steve Rude
Dear all,

As many of you know from past newsletters, I've always felt need to mention that the only way this world can become larger and less concerned with inessentials is to reveal ourselves for what we really are.  With that simple task should come an understanding that we all share the same human concerns and doubts, all go through the same life trials, and that no one is all that different than anyone else.

With that, I'd like to answer a few questions and possible misunderstandings about yours truly, the humble Dude.

1.  The Sketchbooks

For years, I heard people speak in virtual whispers about the dedication and drive I put into my sketchbooks.  Yes, it's true that I work hard in trying to learn new things, but most of this over-the-top dedication stuff is pure myth.  The truth is I forget more than I remember, and that I have no more discipline than any of you out there.  I have to draw and practice things over and over to actually get it.   Some people like to climb trees or sew quilts.  I like to draw. 

The Social Truth: 

Since I don't have anywhere near the kind of active social life I had in my 20's and 30's, I find myself spending most of my life alone at a drawing board.  Sometimes I get sad being alone so often, but that's OK.  I mostly like being alone.   T
he drawing board or easel is where I want to be--the only place I actually feel safe and sane from an increasingly bizarre world.  Most people after a certain age know what I'm talking about.

The other truth about this supposed dedication of mine is that if I don't draw every day, I go a little crazy.  For me, this "dedication" is nothing more than some kind of compulsion no different than someone wanting to grow 12 acres of walnut trees, or mending socks.

2.  Another undigested bit of beef:

nother truth is, that talent-wise I'm barely any different than most of you.  I've always been a moderate learner.  Not slow--but certainly not fast either.  Sure, I had a natural talent for art as a kid, otherwise I'd be doing something other than what I do.  I might be someone growing those walnut trees.  

Like most of you, I was in the middle, talent-wise.  Anyone who's ever attended art school knows of the various prodigies who came in painting like masters barely before their first semester.  I've seen my share of them over the years and what they have is apparently just as natural to them as being good in Particle Physics is to someone else.  It's pretty certain they'll have shortcomings in areas you probably excel at, and you never know how these people are going to turn out in the long run.  You are what you are, right?  The truth is, I've never been anything like those exceptionally gifted learners.  Just look at the early sketchbook drawings my 17 yr. old daughter "Super" has been posting online to see the truth in that. 

The only thing that perhaps did separate me from others, one
that nobody can really explain, is some kind of compulsion or drive I had to make something of myself. 

The truth is, I've always hated the idea of being ordinary. To me, ordinary is something to be feared and warned about.  Ordinary is someone who just floats through life oblivious to where he stands in the world, cares little of self-improvement, or trying for real accomplishments.

My dad--a very nice, ordinary guy, who woke up everyday to drink his coffee, always went to work in shirt and tie, who got along with everyone, always brought in his bi-monthly check to dutifully provide for the Rude family--has little in common with the iconoclastic, mold-breaking son he produced.  Hell, I don't even drink coffee.

The eccentric artist

In many circles I'm known as a outspoken, trouble-making eccentric who's critical of everything and who finds fault with anyone who can't find ways to improve their faults.  Which would be true.

Let's see...what other common truths can I dispel about the odd-duck known as the Dude? 

While I'm thinking of a few dozen more, I wonder if there's not a bigger truth to all this.  That most people are actually content and happy being just "ordinary"--living their lives like my perfectly normal dad, enjoying their morning coffee, going about their daily duties, and not rocking any boats.

For me, I'm happiest where I feel safe and productive.  You all know where that is...

Till next time,

  • Feb 17, 2020
  • Category: Blogs
  • Comments: 17
Terry Austin April 17, 2020

Your honesty is much appreciated, Steve! Now that I’m “retired” from inking and am filling sketchbooks with drawings most days, I feel like I’m learning things that all my penciling buddies learned decades ago but was feeling that something was wrong with me as I have to relearn the same things over and over (until, I hope, they become part of the natural process). Hearing that you go through a similar experience serves to give me a little hope! Keep plugging, old buddy, and I promise to do the same!

John April 17, 2020

Not everyone is creative, most are just consumers of entertainment. There are many people whose lives consist of experiencing other people’s work. People who do things really, really well sometimes do not realize they create things on a level most cannot.

Is it because you actually try to do something creative? That may be part of it, but you also see things, add things, create things in your head and lay it down on paper with your own flare. You can mimic Kirby (for sure!), but just your casual backgrounds, or the use of no background to draw the eye is a powerful skill. It is one thing to just draw a picture, it is a WHOLE OTHER LEVEL of understanding to create an image that tells a story; that links a complete stranger’s mind to yours.

Rodger Shomo April 17, 2020

Just a note to let you know that I understand the “bizarre” comment. Looking through the lens of 50+ years, you begin to wonder what happened to the world and feel a little like Captain America coming out of the ice. As a teacher, it was when out of 5 classes of sixth graders, only one knew who Wyatt Earp was. Take care and best to the family

Krystal Blackmouth April 17, 2020

Saturdays are days where I don’t work and enjoy reading, and I’m suppose to stay off electronics as much as possible. As I was getting dressed to go to work in my garden I was compelled to open my inbox. I find you news letter so moving that I click ‘read more’ and here I am. Your article/blog post was exactly what I needed to read. Feeling frustrated and isolated, and doing everything to not compare myself to 16-22yr. who seem to glide artistically. I think I’ll keep working at improving myself but be a little more patient with my learning pace. Thank you again and I look forward to more of your blogs/articles (I think I’ll read some older ones for now) in the foreseeable future. :)


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