Measure your success


The sketches I have here is just one of the many sketches I have been sketching for the MOCS Vol 2 book.

Measuring your success. I think is is one thing I constantly focus on and I actually don’t like that. How do we really measure our success? I have made it when I get that big job, I have made it when I have my own TV show, I have made it when I make a lot of money, when I have a cool car, when “I” have, when “I” have, when “I” have.  The list goes on and on. But does that really make who were are?  I still fight through all this and realize stuff will never make me happy or make me successful. As a Christian this is truly a battle that I have to fight off all the time. God has not called me to satisfy myself, He has called me to serve others. I truly do feel blessed that I draw and produce art for a living. That does make me happy. The fact I have 4 kids and an amazing wife that supports my art and design. That makes me happy. This is all great but now  it’s time to help somebody else. Time to bless somebody other than focusing on my success.  Big or small it doesn’t matter. I will start small today and I will randomly choose a person every month  to receive and original sketch by me. I love to draw so this will really be fun to give away some original art. I will choose anybody that participates on the Masters of Chicken Scratch blog. So please tell me what makes you happy and how you could give back.


  1. Sven Taapken

    G’morning Dwayne,
    I’ll give it some thought whilst I’m at work today. I’ve gotta go and catch my bus now…but I’ll get back to you.

    Have a good day mate.

  2. Mike Moore

    I get the most satisfaction or success from being able to teach someone something they have never done before no matter how small or insignificant it may. to see that look they get when they understand and can do what you have shown them, is something you can not put a price on. And maybe just maybe you can change a life in some small way for the better, that is success

  3. Dan Baker

    For this world; To me, success is a happy customer. Doesn’t matter if it’s a big dollar item they bought or a small dollar item.
    In dealing with the eternal world, pleasing my Savior with my deeds and actions is the only way to go. Someday I hope to hear ” well done, thy good and faithful servant”

  4. pinstripin'mikey

    this is a subject matter that comes up alot in my travels w/ my work. your’e right alot of people measure it by what they have or own….in my line of work i hear alot of how many magazine they’ve been in, or the possesions they own, the awards theyve worked for, the notoriety and the fame. what makes me happy? to be quite honest… im blessed w/ many talents and i get to make a living doing one of them. ive been very fortunate to work w/ some insanely talented people over the years whether they are big name builders, artists, etc. or equally talented people that work from their homes. growing up as a military kid, i hated traveling because every two- three years we were back on the road. i can honestly say that is one of my favorite parts of my life, im constantly on the road traveling. i get to see things that alot of people will probly never get to witness with their own eyes, half the time i have a ball park idea of where im heading, but i know even if i get lost ill always figure it out as i go. along, with all the traveling, ive met alot of people on the road, and i wouldnt pass any of that up for the world. so what makes me happy?….i get to travel all over, provide alot of people and shops with a talent that most people consider a lost art form, meet tons of people as i come/go and make friendships that last lifetimes. understandably i know its not a lifestyle that most people would consider but it works for me.

  5. Paul Lucas

    Firstly, let me just say what an inspiration you are bro! I was amazed by your skill with a pencil, and now you’ve blown me away with your very generous offer. I too am a Christian, with 4 kids and an amazing wife, and I love to draw cars….we should get together, except I am on the other side of the world!
    To me, the measure of my success is to see my kids succeed in what they set their minds to. After raising them, it is so awesome to see them making amazing choices in life and going ahead using their gifts to serve and help.
    Thanks again for the inspiration, and the reminder of what is a good measure of success!!

  6. Steve Hayes

    This one requires some serious thought, I have had the good fortune of seeing life through so many different perspectives, student, soldier, business owner, husband/father; I’ve always been a fairly spiritual guy and have spent a great deal of time searching for the meaning of true happiness, I’ve had prestigeous jobs, and made a lot of money, but I have come to realize that each of us find happiness in our own way; for me, happiness comes from my family and my art, I am fortunate to be married to a woman who loves me unconditionally for the person that I am, not for the person that she wants me to be (as in some past relationships) this brings me great happiness, I know from past experiences, it is a tremendous burden to live your life trying to meet the unrealistic expectations of someone else; I also find great joy in seeing my children growing to be good people, and discovering for themselves, what brings them happiness; I also find a tremendous amount of joy in my chosen vocation; I own and operate “Advanced Design Group” which is a Tucson AZ based automotive art studio (basically a Hot Rod shop) I have had the privelidge of holding some very fun jobs in the past, I flew Apache Helicopters for a number of years, and owned a number of sucessful businesses, but of all the fun stuff I have done in my life, none have been as fulfilling or brought me greater joy than designing, building,and painting custom cars and motorcycles (my lifelong hobby); I know that there are many in my chosen career who view it as a means of collecting wealth, and that is fine, we all must find our own motivation; but I try to give back by creating my (art?) as inexpensively as I possibly can, I do what I do, because I truely love doing it, and if I were a wealthy man, I think that I would do it for free, unfortunately, like everyone else, I have to make a living, but I try very hard to make my work accessible to everyone; so far I have been successful in doing so; I always try to help friends and strangers who are down on their luck, seems we always have a houseguest who needs a little help, and my truck always seems to be on loan to someone who’s car has broken down (fortunately I also own a few motorcycles) I try to live my life as a good example, not only for my children, but for the people I come into contact with from day to day, because I treat folks with respect, and greet everyone with a smile, my little world is a very pleasant place to live.

  7. Henri Matikainen

    First of all I’m thankful of you posting videos, drawings and texts like this.
    But to answer/comment on the topic.
    Actually I got into pretty deep argument(nice kind of) with my friend about living in “harmony” vs. with lot of money. I feel I live in “harmony” when I can afford everything I want, because I don’t want much to begin with.
    I’m happy, when I’m able to have enough of an income to keep myself doing what I love to do and that way also affect someone else. I’m always trying to give everything I can just to keep myself balanced between my selfish needs and spreading my knowledge or artwork to people who wants it.
    I feel like I’m repeating this but to summarize:
    I’m happy when people like my artwork, or appreciate my opinion, experience and knowledge of a topic, but I still need money. Everyone needs money in society today.
    Only things I can see myself giving to others are the artwork and knowledge and experience. Atleast at the moment.

  8. Amirhossein Erfani

    What a great post Dwayne, what a great post. I’m not sending a reply just to be lucky enough to get an original sketch, cause as you know I’m already about to get mine, on your awesome book. (yeayy!!)

    but I am so with you on that ‘helping others’ part. some people find happiness in helping others, it’s even sometimes stronger than looking for something for ourselves! I’d love to share my personal experience here. well, I live in Iran, so much bad things people hear about this beautiful country and its people nowadays. here, with all the limitation and difficulties, I founded a CG community that is super awesome today! just imagine, our latest challenge is being judged by the great artist ‘John Howe’ from the Lord of The Rings! (I’d like to invite you to check the website on and also, check this page of testimonials here

    Through this experience, I’ve had this amazing opportunity to help many, many artists, or better say the community have done it. the feeling is amazing, every time I hear a good and effective feedback, personally or generally, I truly and amazingly feel ‘successful’.

    Your post was like a reminder to me that it’s not always about us, sometimes it’s about others too, and this feeling is alive and can bring us a new level of satisfaction.

    Aside from all that, I’m so happy that I’m putting some great time for my personal passion as well, drawing everyday trying to improve my sketching skills, and I have you to thank for some great references, tutorials and more importantly, thoughts.

    Glad that I could share something too, keep inspiring us cause you’re doing it right!


  9. Chris Moos

    The things I found the greatest satisfaction in doing directly relate to the morals I choose to teach my kids and exhibit to my friends as often as possible. I too am blessed to be building hot rods for a living and being paid for my artistic ability. I’ve jumped at the opportunity to do work for friends for their charities for this and that and at no expense to them. I seem to, as do most of us, often put way more time into something due to pride and OCD than I should. And often more than a few people jump at the opportunity to take advantage of that nature but I with some reservation still produce for them what I can. Mainly because it’s my gesture that has good meanings and the judgement lie on them not me for the deed not me. My kids often make me smile when telling me about friends or classmates who’s lives are adversely affected by family and social dramas and yet their loving and accepting natures persevere and lead them to be the better person and accept and befriend those that others might not. Makes me feel like I’m doing something right. My kids love art and science and love to make things. My 9 year old Brooklyn-BelAir told me the other day how badly she wants a 58-58 apache. And it’s because two seats is less distraction and she can haul stuff around if people need her too. I’m not going to argue with her. My 15 year old wants my 64 caddy. I’m not going to argue with her either but I did tell her she could dream. We as a family spend a lot of time in the nature and doing dome king of art or craft or construction of some kind. It’s a way to share skills and grow stronger bonds through mutual accomplishment. Keeps us close and attentive to one another and each others needs and the needs if each others friends and families. Family time I guess is what I enjoy the most. Some of our greatest creations come from our own bodies. And inspiring they can be.

    Your art work is awesome keep up the good work.
    Chris Moos

  10. Dan Bishop

    Being creative makes me happy. It doesn’t matter if it is drawing, or building a bicycle to suit my needs, just using my brain and the gifts I have been given. I measure success by how happy I make others with my work. If one person is happy, including myself, then I am successful. You can only be unsuccessful if you do nothing.

    • Dwayne Vance

      Very good point

  11. Justin ( Justo-23 ) Dunleavy


    Happiness is not a destination. It is a Journey. Every time I have started thinking “I’ll be happy when i have…” it doesn’t work, I always end up feeling empty. Happiness for me is in the process of progression. These 3d models I’m working on for example, I do it in my free time and I get frustrated with not knowing how to do either this or that. But when I learn something new, and reach the next level of proficiency, and it looks better than I could have even hoped for… That is what makes me happy with the art. I do however try my hardest to keep it only in my spare time. My Lord and Savior come first and foremost. My wife and kids come second. My blessed nation follows closely after.

    The Journey is where happiness is found. Be happy walking down the road of life, and you will always be happy. 😀

  12. Jae Lee

    I think those who strive to be successful are rarely happy. They are unhappy or unsatisfied with what they have and pursue more. I’m not sure whether it’s the fact that they are unhappy that makes them pursue success or whether it’s the pursuit that actually makes them unhappy. Once that “success” is attained, they may be happy in that instance, but an emptiness comes over. “And then what?” “That’s it?” are probably a couple question that pops up. I gave up on success a few years ago. I gave up on holding onto everything around me, I gave up on trying to make myself happy through buying and owning stuff, and I have grown to accept who I am, where I am, what I have, and to be thankful for all those things. Ironically, it was the act of giving it all up, letting to and letting God, that brought peace and happiness into my life.

    I am happy, because I trust a loving God, and have nothing to worry about.

    I do fairly well for myself, make a good amount of money for someone who graduated 4 years ago, travel a lot, drive a Lotus Elise which I’ve wanted since I graduated, but all that would be pointless if I was unhappy. And if it was those things that made me happy, then that happiness would have only lasted a moment, and I wouldn’t be happy with it now.

    It’s not necessarily giving back that I try to do, but to just serve. When I think about giving back, I feel like there needs to be a balance of receive, give, and take. But when you serve, you just serve. I like to cook, so I cook meals for a lot of the students around me who cannot afford to go eat out all the time and often buy them meals (I’m surrounded by a lot of exchange students who come from Korea to Germany for 6 months – 1 year; who, unlike Korean students in the states aren’t as well off). I like spending time with people and just hanging out, and it seems that in it self is huge for some people. I just do what I can and like to do and it seems to do more than what is intended.

    • Dwayne Vance


      Great stuff. I am humbled by everybody’s response here.

  13. Hasan

    Helping others by providing what I can do for them with full honesty, makes me happy, as well as once I implement something that exceed the people expectation positively.

    Thanks Dwayne for sharing.

  14. Adam

    I’m happy when all daily responsibilities are taken care of and i’m home with my family. We live a simple life, getting by like everyone else, but i’m fine with that. My wife and i make sure sons have a comfy bed, warm meal, and shoes on their feet. I’ve been a life long sketch artist, as a hobby, and i’ve recently gotten into the wacom intuos5 and corel painter. I’ve never had such huge support as i get with my wife about persuing my art, i’m blessed to have her in my life. My goal isn’t to make tons of money, my goal is to perfect my skills as an artist and give back, give to those who feel something when they see my art. My dream is to help folks through art, and to never forget those artist that are taking the risk of putting themselves out there for all to see and chasing their own dreams, as i am now.

  15. JTD

    I can identify with your struggle as I too am Christian, and yet I also desperately want to own a 1:1 scale of these fantastic hot rods and amazing motorcycles I see all around me everyday. Instead I own a 12 yr old minivan for the family and an 11 yr old cabrio for my wife because that’s what we need. And the needs of my family will always come first.

    I think God appreciates our struggle because we choose Him despite our selfish desires. It wouldn’t be love if we didn’t have a choice to love Him.

    I’ve already gotten my gift from you: the inspiration to start drawing again (plus, I’ll be getting your books for Christmas anyway)! So thank you for what you do, Dwayne. I’ll leave you with a URL for my CGTalk portfolio. I started doing digital art for the first time in the mid 2000’s after decades off. Then life got in the way again and I’ve been missing the creative process for several years now. Thanks again for your thoughts and inspiration.


    You probably did the same thing when you were a teenager too –>

  16. Brett

    Wow. Thanks for this post. I check out your blog regularly for the artwork…I stay for the spiritual challenges. Seriously, I appreciate it. Like you, I have a wonder wife and terrific kids (the 4th is due in January). I’m guessing our schedules are also similar…packed. I love to seeing something (concepts like giving, respect, honesty, etc.) really “click” with my kids. I love being deeply engrossed in something: art, woodworking, a book, or even a home improvement thing. It seems like there’s less and less emphasis on being deeply engrossed on…well…anything anymore.

    As for giving and serving, money has been the easiest thing for me to part since getting on the Dave Ramsey plan a few years ago. It’s also the least personal. Time and effort are a lot more difficult for me. That’s something I’ve been working with over the last few month. I’ve been an island for too long. To make it stick, I need to incorporate what I love or the serving will be hollow and lacking passion. Not good. The Dave Ramsey stuff had a big impact on my life and I’m using that to get involved in some Financial Mentoring through our church. Bringing the family is also a big thing. Not only is it time together as a family, it’s teaching our kids the value of serving. To that end, we try to help serve dinner through our church’s food pantry a couple times a month. It’s a start.

    I’d also be pretty happy with winning some sweet artwork

    • Dwayne Vance

      Great stuff. We have been following Dave Ramsey as well. It really is good stuff. His Entreleadership podcast is really good. Yes I agree that we come from a fast food society and we don’t make time to be engrossed in something, really good point.

  17. Sven Taapken

    Good evening Dwayne,

    I got home from work today, and to be absolutely honest with you I had forgotten the question you’d asked this morning. I guess that life can be busy from time to time and that even some important questions get lost or pushed back from a persons mind.

    I’ve given my day some thought so here’s a run down…

    I greeted my bus driver cheerfully with a “good morning” as I embarked on his bus and gestured a nod to the regulars as one does.
    Whilst minding the ‘door’ working ‘door minding duties’ I was nice to everyone as usual.
    I called my Sister to say hi, and to say that I loved her and my niece during my tea break.
    Did the same and called my Girlfriend during my lunch break.
    (these were of course both extended conversations mate) Ha..!

    I took some time to touch base with some of my colleagues during the course of my day because I’ve not been well for the past few. Damn flu..!

    There are of course some gaps within these 12 hours or more of my day and I simply can’t say if I’ve contributed to anyones day today other than making it as good as it can be. I’d like to think that some days are better but that I don’t make days unpleasant. I’d like people in my life to be happy and when I can I’ll do what I can to make that so. That’s a simple philosophy I reckon.

    Have yourself a good day today.

    • Dwayne Vance

      Yes just being intentional and saying HI to someone can really change their day. So simple but can make an impact.

  18. Alex Villarreal

    “So please tell me what makes you happy and how you could give back.”

    What makes me happy in terms of art is creating something that makes others want to create. To return that positive energy received through a stimulating book, song, movie, works of art or even in conversations – with my own personal interpretation and keep that energy going. Anytime your work leaves others inspired, stimulated and wanting to go and do something is one of the greatest feelings you can have.

    The best way I could give back to the art community is to help those who want to be helped. I say those who want to be helped because I think to improve you must first sincerely want it from within. I also remember how though it was to find good mentoring when I first started out. A lot of times just a few pointers and some kind words go a really long way.

    Success to me is – The balance of doing what you like and like what you are doing.

  19. Todd Neubert

    I use to build cars and trucks before my health turned bad.I have always loved drawing cars and exploring my creative side. I had a hard time with losing my physical abilities for quite a long time. I finally allowed my anger to be replaced with trust in God as I should have to begin with. Now I draw as my hands let me and find joy and some small sense of “measurement” when people say they enjoy my art. A saying I try to live by now is Happiness is wanting what you already have. Encourage somebody today….its the best fuel for yourself .

    • Dwayne Vance

      Really good stuff Todd

  20. Dale Huey

    Is success happiness, or are we happy because of our successes? The term “Success” denotes an end, and satisfaction with a job finished. Life will not be finished until our last breath, only then will someone else judge if it has been a success. Being alive to greet another day is a success, as is finishing a piece of artwork before my fiddling ruins it. Seeing my kids doing well in college studying a skill which allow them a measure of personnel choice in their professions, is a success. Life is a challenge every minute, and counting it in “successes” is futile, as well as needless. God grants us every minute of our lives being an opportunity to respect the lives of others, to do good in some small way at every opportunity, to meet our promises to friends and family to live our days without ever having to apologize for our actions. The success of our lives is in our knowledge that we are aware of what we do, while so many of those go along oblivious in their actions. You have posed a very deep question which tells me you are a “success” merely by asking it of us. A lesser person would not have the need to ask.

  21. Jonathan

    What a great sentiment to have. How strange i would come upon this post because i have been grappling with the same questions too… In less than a year i graduate and enter a new post-school phase of life. It’s becoming clear i have no idea what i want out of life after school. I have some vague ideas of doing concept art… or comics… or something not even related to art!

    I hope you find something that speaks to you to put your energy towards.


  22. Theresa Contreras

    Well, the second I saw the post on facebook, I was intrigued. Measuring success? Obviously from the posts, everyone measures it in a slightly different way, but for the most part, knowing God has given us this amazing life to live every day is a success in itself. It’s great to see all these amazing posts and how secure people feel with what God has given them. We have blessings that surround us everyday and we can choose to see each one of them, or turn a blind eye. All these blessings that surround us are our successes.
    Thank you for inspiring me with your amazing God given talent. Love the blog, and LOVE the artwork! I feel completely blessed to be in the automotive industry and to be able to work with so many amazingly gifted people.

  23. Angelo Puccia

    Thank you for your honest and humble insight. I came across your web site looking at Corel 11 and surfing for artist for totorials. Your hot rods caught my eye, I have a passion for them also, having designed and built a few in the past. Your drawings are wonderful and I plan on following you web site.
    I don’t have much to add, others have expressed many of my own thoughts, my life has been lived with a basic belief in God and live as He commands. We share what we have received and with faith all is well. With that said, living life with what we love to do is the happiness which only comes from Him. You have expressed your love of life through art and your family.
    God Bless you.

  24. Alex Jaeger

    Hey Dwayne,
    thanks for sharing your thoughts on ‘success’. I too have had the blessing of a career built on being able to draw, design and express my ideas to others as well as help others realize theirs. I find I have various levels of satisfaction in the work I do when it’s accepted, but in my overall view of success, I find that when I focus on what I have (a beautiful loving wife, 2 beautiful boys, a home, a fun car and a job where I get to draw and a God who has sacrificed much for my flaws) I find that I can be content. But God knows me better than I do, so he keeps me in check by never letting me think that all I have has nothing to do with me, but that it’s all a gift from Him. There will always be that nagging envious thought of “if I only had more $ or more publicity”. Not that it’s a bad thing, but that if I ever did get all that, then I might stop relying on God for anything…. may that never happen.
    too many stories to share, but I’m glad to read that there are other great artists out there with a relationship with our creator. Living in San Francisco and being in the movie biz, they are too few and far between.
    keep your feet on the ground and your eyes ‘above and beyond’.

    • Dwayne Vance

      Hey thanks for your comments! I have seen your work and I am fan. Hopefully we can run into each other someday.

  25. André Costa

    Wow, first, awesome site, amazing quality and art. I have to say I´m a fan of everyone that does something I dream to achieve: great drawing skills and awesome imagination.

    Also, thank you for those videos tutorials, very helpful.

    What makes me happy? To be able to do what I dream and have in my head, what makes me even happier, when I feel I´ve gone up one step, for example, that things come out without thinking too much, that I dont have to look tru tutorials again to make that particular effect.
    I´m still not blessed to live of my art, but I believe with effort I´ll get there, I have a ton of ideas in my head and have that strange feeling it´s all a question of time, even when people say that nowadays it´s really hard because of the crysis and all that.

    What can I give back, just like you, advice to whoever likes my art, I think we as artists can always be humble and not think we “are all that”, I´m always happy when I reply back to someone that likes what i do and wants a piece of advice (as little as I can give), I think that maintains me grounded and always wanting to evolve and know more.

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