Increasing Self-Confidence as An Artist
The worst problem for an artist is a lack of confidence, it can be crippling. In this post we are going to ways to build confidence in your artwork, crush self-doubt and thrive as a creative artist.
You work hard to create your piece of artwork. You love the process, you enjoy every single second of it, and you’re excited to showcase it to the world. You’ve poured your heart and soul into it. But once it’s finished, you stare at it blankly…..
The more you stare, the worse you feel. Something is missing, you think. It doesn’t look right. No one’s going to buy it. No one is even going to look at it. You shake your head in disappointment. You snatch the canvas off the stand and decide to throw it away. But wait! Don’t throw it away just yet!
We’ve all been there. There is so much fear in making art; the fear of the blank page, the fear of not being able to make it perfect, the fear of imposter syndrome. The list goes on forever. So, let’s talk about how to be proud of your art. How to love what you made and not look for the smallest of inconsistencies and beat yourself over them.
By the end of this article, you will know 7 ways to increase your self-confidence as an artist, and put an end to artistic self-doubt.
How to Build Confidence and Self Esteem as an Artist
1. Art is a Journey, not a Destination
Think of your art as a journey, not as a destination. It’s an ongoing journey and it’s going to continue forever. And, mind you, this isn’t a bad thing. Once you reach a destination, it would be the end. You would come to a stop. There wouldn’t be a motivation to go further. So, always keep in mind that tomorrow you will create something much better than today. With such a growth mindset, you will eventually learn to accept (and love) what you created.
For every piece of art that you make, focus on making it better than the previous one. This will help you increase your self-confidence as an artist.
2. Focus on your Learning Curve
Some of your artwork won’t be perfect the way you imagined it. It might fall short of your goal. But does that mean this is the end? Of course not!
Don’t let such bumps stop you. Don’t throw away the artwork. Instead, look at it and try to learn. What could you have done better? Look at it as a third person. Often, we are the worst critics of ourselves. Instead of helping us grow and learn, our own criticism halts us. Don’t do that to yourself.
Instead, see every piece of art that you create as a learning opportunity. Focus on the process, not the failures. Acknowledge what you did good and what could have been improved. With such an approach, you will keep learning, increase your self-confidence as an artist and be proud of your art.
3. Have Realistic Expectations
While our expectations can help us strive towards the best, sometimes, they hold us back from doing our best. As ironic as it may sound, it is true.
Never expect your art to be perfect. Instead, accept that you are a human and your art might not be perfect. But that’s okay. At least, you didn’t let your fears stop you. Always acknowledge the good side.
Also, make sure that your unrealistic expectations don’t give birth to negative thoughts. If you feel insecure about your art or you are too scared to make your art, identify those thoughts and bring your back to reality with rational thinking. You are the owner of your work, it is an authentic piece and you must respect it as such.
4. Stop Comparing Yourself to Other Artists
Another key point to not feel bad about your art; or even other areas in life, is to stop comparing yourself to others. Remember, it is nothing more than a subjective evaluation of your own worth, and negative self talk can affect your mental health overtime. It can be quite frustrating to compare your art to someone else’s work.
This is not right on so many levels. First off, it is a great injustice to your artistic abilities. You have a gift of creativity that so many others don’t have. Why not value that gift instead of wallowing in self-doubt and insecurities.
Comparing yourself to others is one of the major reasons you feel scared to create or insecure about art.
However, this does not mean that you should not look at other artists’ work and take inspiration from them. Just remember to not use their work as the measuring stick for your own art. Instead, compare yourself to yourself.
5. Self-Doubt Isn’t So Bad
In our pursuit of learning how to crush self-doubt, we fail to realize one thing: self-doubt isn’t as bad as we think it is. We deem it as the villain that we fail to see the friend in this enemy.
Sometimes, when you doubt yourself, it’s the cue for you to try harder. It’s a challenge to your artistic abilities. See it as a challenge and you will see how you will conquer the negative feelings of self-doubt.
Once you see it as a challenge and overcome it, self-confidence will come itself. When you prove to yourself that you can do it, self-confidence will come to you. The first step is to push yourself past the fear of failure, embarrassment and disappointment.
6. Don’t Rush!
Another essential tip for building confidence in your creativity is to not rush the process. Creating something amazing will take time, and you must give it the proper time to develop the skills required.
Sometimes, when we are wallowing in self-doubt and anxiety, we tend to rush the process without actually thinking. In this way, you will end up ruining the piece. So, beware, your negative thoughts can lead you to not do the best which will lead you to more negative thoughts. This turns into a vicious cycle. This is a ticket to being disappointed and insecure about your art. Therefore, remember that creating a great piece takes time and patience.
7. Don’t Give Up!
Last but not the least, do not give up. While this may sound to be a cliché, it is the most important thing that you need to keep in mind.
If you give up, you will never be able to improve. You will never be happy with what you created. You should never let your artist self-doubt get to you.
If you know that art is your calling and nothing in the world brings you as much satisfaction as creating art, you must not give up.
Keep going and you will see how far you have come and learn to be proud of your art. The key is to never stop.
Artistic Self-Confidence is a Lifelong Process
With these tips, you will be able to increase your self-confidence as an artist. Eventually, you will crush your self-doubt and learn to be proud of your art and abilities. The image that accompanies this post is Sorrowing Old Man (‘At Eternity’s Gate’) by Vincent Van Gogh, 1890. I also recommend reading ‘Dear Theo’ the autobiography of Van Gogh, edited by Irving Stone. The book clearly illustrates Van Gough’s torturous daily struggles with his art, via intimate letters to his brother.
Let’s end with a quote from Chris Hawker, inventor, serial entrepreneur and professional investor: “Breakdowns are often the path to breakthroughs.” It’s okay to breakdown but don’t let give up. Keep your art going and see how you will thrive as a creative individual!
I hope this post has provided you with some encouraging words in order to gain confidence in your art, and maybe even your daily life.
While I have you here, don’t forget to check out my artwork, and follow me as I continue my artistic journey, aiming to make the next piece better than the last one.