Make good art

Neil Gaiman Make Good Art

You can buy this poster in my Society6-shop

Making art can make you incredibly insecure. That’s a fact.
Putting your art out in the world is like showing the whole human race your vulnerable side. And people do judge.

But this shouldn’t hold you back. Never.

A while back, I first saw Neil Gaiman’s commencement speech which he gave at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts in 2012. Right away, I was triggered by his words. They gave me so much hope and determination.

Since then, I watch video about once every two weeks. To remind myself what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. I have the audio file on my phone, so I can listen to it when I’m on the train or tube.

The things he says in the video were so inspiring the me, that I wrote parts down to remember them clearly. When picking illustrations, I hear Neil Gaiman asking: “Does it bring you closer to the mountain?”.
If not, I don’t take on the job.


When I saw that there’s a book with the speech in it, I bought it. Carrying the words with me in book form is devine to me: the book is on my desk at all time and I take a peek in it every now and then.

“The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you’re walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.”

A lot of people ask me if I don’t feel vulnerable as I share so much of my personal experiences in my work.
I don’t.
My mother asked me this same question while we were driving in her car. It must have been in the fall of 2013, when I just started publishing an online visual diary. I answered: “Showing my vulnerability is scary sometimes and it makes that people can hurt me, if they want. But at the same time I’m gaining so much of it, that it’s worth the risk.”


“Somebody on the internet thinking what you do is stupid or evil or
it’s all been done before? Make good art.”

The most important thing is that you do what you love. Putting your art out in the world, through social media or the web, can be scary. People might have an opinion, they might not like what you do. But I hope you remember one thing: as long as you make something that is truly you, what you want to say, it’s good art.

Opinions are never objective, so they’re never a fact.
If someone doesn’t like what you do, it doesn’t mean it isn’t good. There will be others that will like it.
But most importantly: you should like what you make.


Poster Make Good Art - Neil Gaiman (art by Marloes De Vries) Buy the poster

As I need this reminder by Neil Gaiman every day, I created a poster with a part of his speech on it. I would love to share this with you if you need to imprint this in your head as well.
You can buy the poster in my shop!

Mine hangs right above my workspace, so that I’m reminded when I’m creating. If you order the poster, I’m immensely curious where you will hang yours! Do let me know, you can find me as always on Instagram.





“And now go, and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes,
make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules.
Leave the world more interesting for your being here.
Make good art.”

Do you have some friends that need inspiration? Don’t hesitate to send them this blog post, which you can easily share through the buttons here, right below.
I hope you enjoyed this post, and I’m curious about your thoughts! Let me know in the comment section below.
See you soon,

Marloes De Vries

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  • Reply Wening Sekar at

    It truly give me motivation, more spirit to do what I love to do.
    Ya, it’s so scary to expose our vulnerable in this world wide web , to so many people. But amazingly, after we share it and got a few positive response from people who are different from us, it felt so great. Although there are negative responses, but still we will find some positive one, and that feel so amazing. Feel like “I am really not alone, I am really not too weird. There is still some like-minded people out there.” . . . That feel amazing . . .

  • Reply dingen die fijn zijn at

    Dank dank dank lieve wijze Marloes!

  • Reply Lu at

    Dear Marloes,
    thank you so much for this blogpost, for the encouraging words and for sharing this awesome speech that I didn’t know before.
    Sometimes it is good to have a reminder in case of insecurities. Art is powerful and as long as one is passionate about it, it truly matters! <3
    Have a great day and keep on with your own inspiring art which I always enjoy to see (especially on Instagram :)).
    Happy day

  • Reply Annemieke at

    Prachtig Marloes. Wat een fijne, bemoedigende woorden van jou en Neil! Thanks for sharing 🙂 x

  • Reply Corine at

    Dit had ik even nodig vandaag, dank!

  • Reply Martina at

    Very good post! Thanks for sharing! I “know” you mainly from Instagram and some illustrations in Flow magazine but I really think your blog is great too!

  • Reply Alyssa A at

    Hi Marloes, I’ve just stumbled upon your blog whilst looking through art related posts on Bloglovin, and your illustration pieces caught my eyes as. Coming from an illustration background myself and going to a Fine Art school, I think I know how you feel when people look down on your art. These experiences taught me to be open to constructive logical criticism, as well as accepting the existence of opinion-based thoughts. Not only did it educate me in art, it also helped me to see the world in a different and better way.

    I believe in making ‘good art’, although it’s quite sad when people do not really know what ‘good art’ is, and here you explained it well — it’s making art for yourself AND the selected audience — it’s safe to know that we’re not alone in anything at all!

    Cheers from Brunei Darussalam xx

  • Reply Monica Terpstra at

    Leuk, goed blog. Dankjewel voor het delen van je kennis en ervaringen.
    Succes met alles wat je nog wilt doen en beleven!
    Groetjes, Monica

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