I had a wobbly week the other week, I completely lost my confidence.
Being an artist is pretty much all about having confidence in your work to show people what you’ve done so it’s not great when you lose it, but I think it’s an occupational hazard and happens to pretty much all of us.
Anyway, I thought about it and worked through it and now I’m back on track again, so I thought I’d share a few thoughts about the things that can freak you out when you’re painting and drawing and trying to improve.
Are you actually rubbish? What do you mean by rubbish? What does rubbish mean anyway?
If people have told you you’re good and liked your pictures and maybe even bought your work you’re not rubbish. If you’re just starting out or need more prctice, you’re not rubbish.
Try to focus in on the problem with your work that is making you insecure. It’s probably more specific than you think, it might be your brushwork needs more confidence or your tone needs more contrast but try to identify the problem because then you can fix it. Be brave and ask a friend or another artist, and if you really want to progress be prepared to accept honesty it and use it to take practical steps to improve.
Most art related problems just need practice, maybe some tuition, but mainly practice.
“Everyone else is doing so much better than me”
Are they? The chances are they’re not, and are probably just as wracked with doubt as you.
However there is much danger in comparing yourself to other people. They don’t have the unique things that make you you, only you have that and only you can make those things work.
If they’re better at promoting themselves, good for them! Learn from what they’re doing and be pleased for them, but remember their audience may not be your audience.
Something I was once advised always sticks in my head:
“Never compare yourself to other people, only ever compare your work to previous work to see how far you’ve come”
“I’ve lost my mojo”
Every artist loses their mojo from time to time. It’s disconcerting, inconvenient and confidence draining.
But you can hasten its return.
If you’re tired and need a rest, take a rest.
Otherwise, try to go out and see and do different things to what you normally do, travel, meet different people, read new books, take a camera out and get photos of things you wouldn’t normally. Or try to sketch more, the more you observe and work, the more ideas you’ll have. Keep art materials on hand and ready to use do when that mojo strikes back, you’re ready.
I wrote another blog post about how to regain inspiration for your art ‘Triggering your creativity‘ a while ago; it’s a recurring problem!
“I can’t paint it how I want to”
I don’t think many artists’ paintings turn out exactly how they had pictured them in their heads.
It can grind you down if you keep trying and failing to achieve a particular effect, but remember not every painting you do has to be a finished piece. If it’s not working for you, research other paintings to see if you can find the effect you have in mind, and try to find out how to achieve it then practice separately until you get it right.
This isn’t always practical with time constraints, so make notes in your sketchbook of things you want to try and work on them when