“Artist struggles,” defined by me as anything that stands in the way of being your idea of a “successful” artist. It could literally be anything from your favorite pencil not sharpening correctly, your lack of that one paint color that would transform the look of a part of your canvas, but more often than not it has to do with confidence. There are so many different art forms out there, and as a result all different types of artists. You have your drawers, illustrators, animators, photographers, painters, designers and so on and so forth. Personally, as a young art student wanting to go into graphic design and photography, it took me forever to realize that I am still an artist even if I cannot draw as realistically as my friend could, or if I could not draw cartoons as well as my boyfriend. So for any struggling artists out there that need a little hypothetical slap in the face to wake you up, here are some tips I have discovered over the last two years to help boost your confidence:
1) As already stated, you are still an artist even if you are only good at one medium - You do not have to be amazing at everything to be a good or even a great artist. Sure, we look at some of our peers and see that they could do any medium and excel, but I do not know, what if you ask somebody like Jackson Pollock, a renowned modern painter, and ask him to paint or draw a realistic self portrait? Could he do it? The important part about being a successful artist is to take the medium that makes you happy, and run with it to develop work that expresses who you are and the ideas you wish to share with the world!
2) Practice - Remember those days of being a youngster and your parents constantly say, "Practice makes perfect!"? Well, sorry to tell you, but your parents were actually right! I thoroughly believe that art is a talent that you can practice in order to become better - I mean there is living, breathing proof that supports this theory, including myself! After you spend time re-working old pieces, trying out different techniques, you will see that can improve upon your older work.
3) Observe - When I say "observe" I do not just refer to closely looking at an object to draw or paint it, but really, look at your surroundings. Look at other artists. Some of the tips on how I improved my work is by searching the internet and reading articles or watching videos of techniques that I probably was not even considering. I have also learned a lot from friends who are interested in the same art as me. Honestly, I would be nowhere if I did not look at some of my friend's as they were working and see how they did things differently. Art, although it is a very personal matter, it is teamwork that truly makes something special.
4) DO NOT COMPARE - I AM EXTREMELY GUILTY OF THIS. Do not, I repeat: DO NOT COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS. Art is competitive, I know, but I have a few people that always have to remind me to not compare my work. Art is all about being unique, self-expression and even if you could copy something, everybody's style is different! Sure, it could be a great way to push yourself, but you will never be exactly like somebody else. You are unique with a unique style, that one difference that sets you apart is perhaps what makes your work great!
5) Breathe and Believe - If you get frustrated and flustered over not being able to get something to look the way you want, try to calm down. We have all been guilty of working and crying and working and crying some more. I have learned, that frustration is not good, because then you are not loving what you are doing. Instead, put your materials down, hands up, close your eyes and BREATHE. While you sit there, feel free to back away from your work and listen to music or watch tv. When you finally decide to return to your work, believe in yourself and believe in your work. Art is one of those things that if you do not think highly of yourself, you will hold yourself back from accomplishments. This is the one instance where you can outright tell people you are Van Gogh!
6) Accept your medium - Sometimes, as an artist, we all believe we have to be good at every medium, and so we try every medium....but if you cannot paint, if you cannot draw, do not feel like a failure. If you are a photographer, be a photographer! There is no shame in not being able to draw like the person next to you. You are still a creative thinker, you have a creative outlook on life, you are and will remain to be an artist.
7) Experiment - BUT, if you are in love with one medium do not feel the need to be "stuck" just being a photographer or just being a drawer. Whatever inspires you, whatever you feel like doing as your creative outlet, go for it! An artist is an artist, somebody who thinks creatively. So go out and do not be afraid to combine mediums! Just because you may not be able to draw does not mean that you cannot doodle on a painted canvas or add a little flare to your printed photos!
8) No Put-Downs - I have said to not put yourself down, but it also goes for other people. Do not put another artist down because they cannot draw as well as you or what not. Everybody at some point in their art career is not confident in their work or themselves as a producer. Putting somebody else down will never fulfill your need to get rid of your insecurities.
9) Social Media - It is not showing off, and sure sometimes social media could be hurtful towards your ego, BUT most of us have great friends and family on there, am I right? Whether you love your work or think it is "ok" post it! Having a support system of other artists, family and friends will help you to improve your work, but simultaneously allow you to get comfortable with showcasing your work. Personally I was mortified of doing critiques in school, self conscious of my work, but my peers were very supportive, my family constantly builds me up and my friends think I am amazing at what I do. Your fellow artists will give you advice to improve on what you want to improve on if you share, and yes, you could ask their opinion by showing them privately too! I have gotten so many second opinions from fellow designers and photographers (a little shoutout to Heloise for being patient and supportive!), and you know, all it did was build my confidence more and help me grow! Family and friends will just give you a thumbs up and tell you to produce more! Take advantage of being loved!
10) Love what you do and do what you love - If you are hating what you do for art, just stop because there is no point. Art takes time, money and a whole lot of patience. If you do not love what you are doing, do not do it. Instead, find something you do love. And if you love your art process, if you love thinking of art, making art and seeing how far you grow, keep it up. It is the love you have for this that will push you to be the best artist you could be.
I hope you all enjoyed my few tips on how to boost your confidence as an artist. It is really important to start working on art confidence early on, because if you wait until it is too late, well, chances are it is not going to be a fun ride. You need second. third, fourth and maybe even fifth opinions on work! Constructive criticism is what has pushed me farther than what I thought possible for myself. You need confidence to show through your work and while talking about or showing your work in order to make it. I believe in each and every one of you art peeps. And if you want an extra opinion, or do not have a support system, you can always feel free to share your work with me via e-mail or message! Live, love and make art.
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Published by Samiellie