In order to show up and share your work as an artist, you need confidence. Confidence is one of the key reasons that artists succeed. Confidence is like a muscle, you have to exercise it to make it grow. Yes, some artists are naturally gifted with more confidence than others but I am almost certain it came from practicing their art, accepting failure, learning from others, doing what they love and challenging their inner critic. The following seven confidence tips you as an artist, with ensure you are doing what you can to strengthen your belief in your unique abilities and grow your presence and practice.
1. Know your strengths
What brings you the most joy? What do you think about when you aren’t doing it? I know for me it is sewing. I love finding or tweaking a great design, cutting out the fabric, pinning and machine stitching.
If you start with what you love or discover a love for something, your passion and confidence will shine through your work. As a result, your collectors or buyers will be drawn to your work.
2. Educate yourself
As an artist, you never “arrive”. Your experience is like a journey; as you add more tools to your toolkit, you will continually strive to create better. You will constantly be learning and putting into practice what you learn. As you grow in knowledge and practice, your confidence will build as well.
To grow in skills, think of what you are scared yet excited to start, then go find a class of a process that you admire and “wish you were better at” and start learning and practicing.
When I started watercolour painting, I took as many online beginner course that I could. I even was able to go to a few free workshops in person as well.
3. Create goals
Goals will help you stay focused on one project/collection/body of work at a time. If you have too many goals ahead of you, it is easy to let the inner critic take control in the form of procrastination.
Goals give us what we need to develop consistency and follow through. We need goals for focus on our best work.
These goals can be broken down into manageable tasks using tracking and time blocking.
4. Develop a Consistent Art Practice
Routine creates habits and habits create routine. Make your routine small and manageable to begin with. Have a plan even if it is simply one doodle a day.
In her post, “Working With It For 100 Days“, watercolour artist Heather Langdale shares from her personal experience,
There is really is something to the discipline of creating every day. You just never know what will come out, what wants to be created when you sit down in front of your paper.
5. Know and Challenge Your Inner Critic
Having the correct mindset and dismantling the inner critic, I believe, is the most essential of these confidence tips for artists.
The inner critic is an inner negative voice that originates from past experiences, environment and the view you have formed of yourself as a result of these environments and experiences. The inner critic involves a judgment of the creative process and a possible halting of all creativity. Check in with how you are talking to others about your creative process. What are the words and tone you are using? Here are some examples to help you with how to recognize your artist’s inner critic.
WHAT DOES YOUR INNER CRITIC SOUND LIKE?
- I cannot take risks
- I am not talented enough
- It is impossible to make money with my art
- My art practice is a waste of time
- I fear others will criticize my dreams
- My dream is ridiculous
The inner critic can show up anywhere: socially, in isolation, online. It can be triggered by something someone says or a situation that had no specific trigger. The artist’s inner critic can initiate as a fear; fear of starting, fear of success or fear of failure.
CONFIDENCE GROWS WHEN WE CHALLENGE THE INNER CRITIC
The best way you can target the lie of the inner critic is by a series of challenges. These can come in the form of questions such as the example below.
Let’s practice with this statement – “My art practice is a waste of time”
- What makes this true? If I work on my art, it takes away from other things that are more important.
- Is there a place and time for art practice? Yes, I guess so
- Has this come true in the past? Believing that my art practice is a waste of time? Oh sure.
- Then why are you still doing it? Because it is important to me.
- So there is value in making time for your art? Yes, I guess so.
- What is the worst that could happen? I will spend too much time on it and not get other things done.
- What is so bad about this happening? The other things will have to wait.
- Is that really so bad? No
This technique will quickly create an awareness of why you may be experiencing a lack of confidence as an artist.
Would you like to learn more about how to recognize and challenge your inner critic? Grab my free workbook, “Becoming a Confident Artist: Overcome Fear & Create Your Best Work“. You will take your dismantled inner critic lies and turn them into your signature affirmations.
6. Surround Yourself with Peers that Will Encourage and Challenge You
Who have you surrounded yourself with? Are they creatives who may be in a similar situation as you? It is helpful to follow some artists who are a few steps ahead as they can be an encouragement and offer helpful tips.
Even though we need to be lifted and encouraged, constructive critique is essential if our skills are to develop. You need to seek out and find other creatives who are willing to offer this for you. It is up to you whether it is something a peer does or something you pay for. It often turns out that we value something more if there is an exchange of payment.
Voicing your struggles to other artists can help you gain perspective and feedback. Don’t be shy in sharing your progress either, your voice and experience just may encourage and inspire someone else (and even yourself). Sharing your success, no matter how big or small is important. Surrounding yourself with a like minded community in relation to your creative dream can encourage, challenge and motivate you.
7. Learn to Fail
Now when I say fail, I am not fond of the word. Growing pains may be more appropriate. I believe it means creating over and over until it feels right and ready to share. Be ready to create a lot of work that doesn’t go anywhere, that doesn’t become anything. That’s okay. You need to do this “work” to get to where you are doing good work – where your taste and your skills finally align. This is what Ira Glass calls “the gap”.
I hope by the end of this post you have a good idea of which confidence tips you can and need to work on. You can do this and you can become the confident artist you desire to be.
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