Being a creator can be tough, especially when receiving critical critiques of our work.
While others' criticism can crush our confidence, they're not what we need to be most concerned about.
We all have a little voice inside our heads that tells us we're not good enough, that we're not creative enough, that our work will never be as good as so-and-so's.
If you're an artist of any kind, it's important to learn how to silence that voice and build up your self-confidence in your creative abilities.
In this article, we'll provide tips on how to overcome that voice of crushing self-doubt and build up your self-confidence as a creative individual.
Acknowledge Your Fear and Insecurities
Anyone who has ever tried their hand at art knows that it can be a very daunting task.
You are constantly comparing your work to other artists and wondering if you will ever measure up.
These feelings of self-doubt can be very crippling and prevent you from ever reaching your full potential as an artist and creator.
The first step to gaining confidence is acknowledging your fear and insecurities.
Once you do that, you can begin to work on overcoming them.
Overcoming Your Fears and Insecurities
Artists of all skill levels have doubts about their abilities at some point or another.
It is perfectly normal to feel like you are not good enough.
The important thing is to not let those feelings stop you from creating art.
Acknowledge your fear and insecurity, and then put it aside and focus on your artwork.
Trust me, the more you create, the more confident you will become in your abilities.
One way to start gaining confidence is by setting small goals for yourself.
Once you achieve those goals, you will start to feel a sense of accomplishment that will help boost your confidence.
For example, if you are a painter, set a goal to finish one painting every week.
It does not have to be anything fancy or complicated—just something that you are proud of.
As you complete more and more paintings, your confidence will grow along with your skills.
Do not let your fear and insecurity prevent you from becoming the artist you were meant to be.
Acknowledge those feelings and then put them aside, so that you can focus on creating beautiful art and watch your confidence bloom the more you create!
Recognize Your Strengths and Weaknesses
The first step to boosting your confidence is acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses as an artist.
As artists, we all have our areas of strengths and weaknesses.
By taking the time to identify these, we can work on improving our weaker areas and bettering ourselves as artists overall.
Once you know where your weaknesses lie, you can start working on shoring them up, and don't forget to give yourself credit for your strengths!
In doing so, we give ourselves a more realistic view of our abilities, which is crucial for building confidence.
Study Other Artwork
In addition to feedback from others, another way to identify your strengths and weaknesses is by looking at the work of other artists.
Study the paintings of those whose work you admire, and try to pinpoint what it is exactly that you like about their paintings.
Is it their use of light and shadow?
The way they mix colors?
Or maybe it's their sense of design or movement in their work.
Conversely, look at the paintings and artwork of artists whose work you don't particularly care for—what is it about their work that doesn't resonate with you?
Again, is it the lighting, colors, or compositions?
By studying both the work you like and don't like, you can start to get a better understanding of your own preferences and tastes as an artist.
Get Feedback from Trusted Sources
One of the best ways to gauge your progress, strengths, and weaknesses as an artist is to get feedback from people whose opinions you trust.
This could be a friend or family member whose opinion you value, a fellow artist whose work you admire, or even a professional art critic.
Have you ever had someone tell you that your use of color is exceptional, or that your sense of composition is really strong?
These are all compliments that speak to specific strengths in your work.
On the other hand, if you've been told that your paintings lack emotion or that your drawings are too simplistic, then these are areas where you may need to focus some attention.
Getting feedback from others can help you identify areas where you need improvement and also give you a sense of how far you've come—both of which are excellent confidence-builders.
Set Realistic Goals
One of the most important things to keep in mind when setting goals is that they should be achievable.
If your goal is something like "I want to be the next Van Gogh," it's likely that you'll only end up feeling disappointed because you won't immediately achieve it.
A better goal would be something like "I want to complete one painting/drawing per week."
This goal is achievable and it will help you gradually improve your skills.
As you start achieving your goals, you can gradually start setting more ambitious ones.
For example, once you've been painting for a few months and you're starting to feel more confident in your abilities, you could set a goal of entering three pieces in the local art show by the end of the year.
The key is to take things one step at a time, so that you don't get overwhelmed and give up.
Don't try to run before you can walk.
Make sure your goals are attainable; if they're not, you'll only end up feeling discouraged, which will undermine your confidence.
Achieving success as an artist takes time, dedication, and a lot of hard work. It can be easy to get discouraged if you don't see results immediately, but don't lose hope.
Remember that the key to success as an artist is to set realistic goals that you can gradually achieve over time.
Don't try to bite off more than you can chew; instead, focus on making small improvements on a regular basis.
With dedication and hard work, you'll eventually achieve the level of success that you desire.
Comparing Yourself to Others is a Losing Battle
As artists, we are constantly bombarded with images of other people's work.
It's easy to get caught up in comparison and to start thinking that we'll never be as good as so-and-so.
But comparison is destructive and doesn't do anything to help our confidence.
Instead, we should focus on our own journey and trust that if we keep working hard, good things will come.
This is perhaps the most important tip of all: don't compare yourself to other artists!
The Trap of Comparison
Comparing ourselves to others is an easy trap to fall into.
There's no doubt that looking at other people's work can be discouraging.
We compare our own skill level to theirs and inevitably come up short.
We see someone else's work and we think "Wow, I could never do that," or "I'll never be as good as them."
Comparison will only end up destroying your confidence, so focus on your unique creative journey, trusting the process of learning and growth.
Art is a lifelong journey, so focus on your own progress, rather than comparing yourself to others.
No two artists are the same, so don't compare your work to someone else's—it's not a fair or accurate measure.
Everyone has their own unique strengths and weaknesses, so focus on developing your own individual style.
Work hard and trust that the process of growth will eventually lead to success.
So, next time you find yourself comparing your work to someone else's, stop and remind yourself that everyone has their own path.
Remember that everyone starts somewhere; we all have to put in the time and effort to improve our skills.
Focus on your own journey and trust that, with hard work and dedication, you will eventually achieve the level of success that you desire.
There are a variety of literature that can help boost your confidence.
It's normal to feel a little bit lost from time to time when it comes to art.
One of the best stories for boosting your artistic confidence is Peter H. Reynold's Ish, the sequel to The Dot.
This story focuses on a young boy named Ramon, who loves to draw until the fateful day when his older brother makes fun of his art.
Devastated and confidence shattered, Ramon lose his love for art, crumpling all of his artwork, throwing it away, and deciding to give up on art forever.
Thanks to his sister, Ramon is able to discover the magic of "ish" art and ends his quest for perfectionism, having learned that thinking and creating "ish-ly" is far better than getting it "right."
This story was so powerful because it emphasizes that no one is ever going to truly get it "right."
Getting it "right" is not the point of art; the point is to create something that brings you joy, or maybe even just challenge yourself and see what you're capable of.
In Ish Ramon learns that it's okay to make mistakes, and that the imperfections are often what make a piece of art special.
This is such an important message for all artists, regardless of skill level.
We all need to remember that mistakes are part of the creative process and that embracing them can lead to some of our best work.
We can't let perceived imperfection stop us and crush our confidence.
Written by David Kelley and Tom Kelley, the best-selling book, Creative Confidence, embodies this concept.
The book is based on the brothers' experience with their international design firm, IDEO, and their gained confidence.
It's packed with stories and exercises to help readers boost their confidence and tap into their own creativity.
One of the most powerful messages in the book is that everyone is creative.
Remember that creativity, like all skills, is like a muscle.
The more you work on your skill, learning and practicing, the stronger it gets.
This book also provides tips and tricks for honing your creativity and provides examples of how creativity has helped change the world.
There are many examples of people who have used their creativity to change the world, including Steve Jobs and J.K. Rowling.
There are common myths about creativity, such as the idea that only some people are "born" as a creative type, which just isn't true.
While you may be more naturally inclined to creative fields, that doesn't mean that someone one can't learn how to be more creative and build confidence in their skills.
Plus, there are many types of creativity, so there's a creative act that everyone can enjoy.
Creative Confidence is an inspiring and practical book that provides readers with tools to boost their own creativity.
If you're looking for ways to improve your creative skills, this book is a great place to start.
Creativity is all about taking risks, and sometimes those risks don't pan out the way we'd hoped.
But that's okay!
Art is subjective; while you might be convinced some of your art is horrible, others may absolutely adore it.
And even if no one else likes it, as long as you're happy with it, that's all that matters.
Be Mindful of Your Circle
The people you surround yourself with can have a big impact on your self-confidence.
If you're constantly around people who are negative or critical, it's only natural that you would start to doubt yourself.
On the other hand, if you surround yourself with positive people and those who believe in you and your abilities, you'll find it easier to believe in yourself as well.
So, take stock of the people in your life and make sure they're supportive of your dreams and goals.
If not, it might be time to find a new circle of friends who will better suit your needs.
Open yourself to a new world of insight, innovation, and ideas through your circle; the people around you can be excellent spring boards to bounce ideas off of.
Your circle can provide good ideas and better insights that you might never think of on your own, so it's important to build relationships with people that build you up and turn fear and doubt into a new path for growth.
Find a Mentor
If you're really serious about becoming a better artist, finding a mentor should be high on any artist's list of priorities.
A mentor is someone who can help you learn, grow, and build your confidence.
Mentors are great for providing new insights and guided mastery to help your creative efforts.
They can provide new ideas that get your creative juices flowing and help you build creative confidence.
A mentor can help you learn new techniques.
If you find yourself stuck in a rut, or simply not progressing as quickly as you'd like, a mentor can help you learn new techniques that will push you to the next level.
There's no shame in admitting that you need help; a mentor can provide the guidance you need to get back on track.
A mentor can give you honest feedback.
Getting constructive feedback is essential for any artist, but it's not always easy to come by.
Friends and family may be hesitant to hurt your feelings, and it can be difficult to take criticism from strangers.
A mentor, however, will give you honest feedback that will help you improve your skills.
It's easy to lose confidence when you're constantly comparing your work to other artists' online or feeling like you're not good enough.
A mentor can help boost your confidence by reminding you of your strengths and helping you to focus on your goals.
Support and Motivation
A mentor can provide support and motivation.
Having someone in your corner who believes in your talent and is rooting for your success can make all the difference when you're facing creative blocks or feeling discouraged.
Knowing that someone has your back can be the motivation you need to keep going when things get tough.
Mentors are great for getting unlimited access to more resilience, self efficacy, design thinking, and building creative confidence.
Pursuing a career in the arts can be incredibly rewarding, but it's also no easy feat.
Rejection is par for the course, and it can be all too easy to let your inner critic get the best of you.
Building self-confidence takes time and effort, but it's definitely worth it—especially if you want to pursue a career in the arts.
By following these tips, you'll be well on your way to silencing that inner critic and believing in yourself and your abilities as an artist.
If you feel stuck and need help getting motivated, you can also check out our articles on how to find inspiration, finding inspirational music for creativity, and the best crystals for motivation.
Stay creative and know you're amazing!