Art, or any creative work, is often a reflection of ourselves.
It’s something we hold dearly to our heart and to our identity: We spend a lot of time creating art and bettering our skills. It isn’t something born simply from a couple days of work, but from years and years of practice and commitment.
That is why it is completely normal and okay to be afraid of making art at some point of your life as an artist. And this can happen for a variety of reasons.
Whether it be because someone tells you that the artist path is difficult. That there’s no money in it. That your art has to be perfect. That it’s too competitive. That it’s all been done before.
The list goes on and on… but the fact is that none of these are truths.
Whatever is the reason that you are afraid of creating art – And is the reason that you’ve stumbled upon this blog post – I hope that these words may bring you some source of inspiration.
Overcoming one’s fear of art is a long process – It doesn’t happen overnight. However, take the journey slowly and little by little, you will overcome this.
Because if you’re an artist at heart, your heart and life is going to be most fulfilled when you are creating art.
Let Go of Chasing Perfect Art
I think every artist has gone through the experience of the weight of perfectionism chasing them.
We see all the amazing art of other artists and compare our art to theirs.
Throughout the years though, I’ve come to realize how silly it is of us to compare ourselves to someone else.
Every artist is at a different phase of their artist life.
You might be seeing the work of an artist who has been creating art for decades and you’ve only been drawing for a couple years. It’s not fair to compare yourself like that and possibly cut off any chance at growing because you want to give up because of these thoughts.
And the truth is: No one’s art is going to ever going to look like someone else’s because your life is unique and different. Your experiences are unique and different. Your choices are going to be unique and different.
That is what makes art so beautiful.
Also, your art doesn’t have to be complex in order for it to be “worthy” of anything. There is such a large audience for simple art because it is something everyone can attempt to re-create and enjoy.
No matter what kind of art you create, there are people who will enjoy and appreciate your art.
So give your art a chance! No matter what phase your art is in. There is no such thing as bad art.
There is No Such Thing as Bad Art
There is no such thing as bad art.
In fact, I could go on to say there is no such thing as a bad experience, a bad emotion, a bad career, or a bad life.
It is all about mindset.
There will be different mindsets and viewpoints everywhere, for every person.
However, I don’t believe in a “bad” anything because this is the mindset I have for all of life. Other people may choose differently, but this mindset is what I have chosen for my own life.
There is no such thing as bad art.
Think of your art like a child you cherish and raise. A child isn’t perfect, he or she makes mistakes and goes off trying new things to stumble across new experiences. But none of these things are wrong – They are all experiences that help the child find his or her own identity in this world.
Art is like that – but the child is instead a part of yourself.
So be patient with yourself and give yourself room to explore, no matter how it turns out.
It is all so you can know yourself more and more in the end.
Make Art for Yourself First
Making art for others can be stressful.
There are some commissions that are freeing: The client loves your art simply because it is made by you and all they want is for you to be free and create the art you love.
However most commissions may not be like that. Making art constantly for others to critique and judge as acceptable can be stressful.
It can even make you feel as if you don’t like art anymore.
That is why it is so important to set up boundaries for yourself and protect them.
If you feel anxious or stressed from creating art for others, it may be best to spend some time just creating art for yourself.
Depending on what you can or cannot do: Stop taking on commissions or only accept projects you know are easy for you to do.
There are so many ways to make a living from art aside from commissions. It all depends on what you accept and want to be a part of your life.
If it makes your heart feel drained, it may not meant for you.
There are a thousand other paths you can take, so take them.
Don’t Let The Opinions of Others Stop You
When we put our art out there on social media, we open ourselves to be judged or critiqued by others.
It is completely okay to feel hurt by the comments of others, no matter how well their intent may be.
They may only want to give you advice on how to make your art better, but sometimes it feels as if our art will never be good enough to even show.
If these opinions hurt you to this extent, I recommend to take a little break from social media.
Just create art for yourself.
Create art so you can practice as much as you want, and mess up as much as you want.
Practice your art until you grow your confidence – Until these comments hurt less. They may still hurt the moment you see them, but you’ll forget about them in a short period of time.
There will eventually come a time when you don’t care anymore about what others say about your art.
It will be easier to take constructive criticism and look at your own art from an objective standpoint.
But until then, keep creating art. Don’t let others stop you. Your future self will thank you.
Be Aware of Your Thoughts
I know it’s easier said than done, but this is a skill that will help you in so many other ways than just art.
Stop judging and overthinking the art you create so much.
Stop being so harsh with yourself.
I grew up with a lot of Social Anxiety, and I found that my Social Anxiety extended into my art and work as well. There were so many irrational thoughts and fears I had that made me want to hide myself away.
The thoughts we think play a large role in every aspect of our lives, including the art we create.
Your thoughts are your ideas. Your thoughts can lead you to new beginnings.
However, they can also lead to feelings like fear and anxiety. They may also make you want to give up trying.
I always ask myself whether my thoughts are based out of feelings of fear or love.
Whether they’re just holding me back or giving me an opportunity to grow.
When you are aware of your thoughts, it becomes easier to see that not all of your thoughts are true.
You don’t have to listen to them.
There is another part of yourself you can listen to instead – Whether you call it your heart or your gut instinct.
Think Long Term
It is completely normal to wonder and be afraid of whether we’ll ever make it or not as an artist.
Yes, becoming a full-time artist can take a lot of time and work.
And sometimes just the thought of investing all that time and work and failing can make us scared to even try.
However, I have found that if you continue to work and invest your time doing what you want to do, you will have wins along the way. These wins may be small – It may not be the giant wave you are searching for… but that doesn’t mean you should give up.
You are getting closer and closer.
Growth is a slow and gradual process, and if you see growth from where there was nothing – It means you are getting closer to where you need to go.
In my mind, I have all of my life to do whatever I choose to do with it.
I want to live this life freely – so I will work hard now in order to be free in the long-term.
Besides, if you are making art and doing creative work you enjoy, it won’t feel like “hard work”. In fact, it won’t feel like work at all.
Art is About Perspective
Art is all about perspective.
When someone views art, they see it through the lens of their own mind. Their mind shapes the meaning behind every work of art they see.
It is the same for the artist, as well as the viewer.
The way we see our own art is oftentimes a reflection of how we see the world and ourselves.
No matter what you think, always know that it’s okay.
Don’t put so much weight or pressure into being perfect or doing the right thing.
Just let things be. Accept everything for all that it is. Including yourself. Including your art.
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I believe that every human being is meant to create something in life.
And just with anything in life, we all have our fears and doubts. We all go through periods in our life when we question whether we are “good enough”.
As long as you try, you will find on the other side that you are always enough.
But that means getting through even the hard times and persevering.
Sometimes we believe that our art has to give us some tangible trade-off, whether it be money, likes, comments, more followers, etc.
Let go of all this.
Go back to the root of it all – Because creating art is first-and-foremost for you to enjoy and have fun.
Thank you Shihori. Your writing is helpful to me as I begin to start making art again. You have a kind, compassionate voice and I appreciate how your words are helping to soften my fears and lighten all the heaviness and conflict I can feel about art.
Thank you, I’m glad you found this blog post helpful. I’m wishing you all the best in your creative endeavor! You got this!