Artist Therapy is a series of posts exploring problems we artists have making, getting ready to make, and sharing our art. It is inspired by Havi Brooks’s Blogging Therapy articles.
Today’s Artist Therapy:
Last time, I addressed the negative thoughts we sometimes have about our art and ourselves as artists. One tiny step beyond that is the titular thought, “I’ll never be good enough.”
This isn’t limited to art, of course – we can think this about any number of things, and everyone thinks it sometime. Everyone – including all the masters and people you admire. It’s true.
However, if you let this thought stop you… well, you probably know where I’m going with this. I’m going to start with the world and then focus on you.
The art world needs you to inject it with fresh ideas, and even not-so-fresh ideas. It needs you to revive styles it has forgotten. It needs you to fuse styles in exciting ways. Without you, art stagnates and becomes super boring.
But let’s ignore the art world for a moment – or for the rest of your life, honestly, because who needs it?
There’s the internet. Many, many people have access to the internet these days, and I guarantee that at least one person will like what you’ve made. That person may not actually contact you to tell you, but statistically speaking, at least one person has to like your stuff.
But let’s ignore even that one person.
The art you make is for you. It’s for your brain, your heart, your spirit. You’re allowed to make art to feel good about yourself.
If you’re paralyzed by the possibility of failing, that’s perfectly natural. Perfectionism, if I may personify it, wants to keep you from trying to spare you the pain of failure. You are absolutely allowed to be scared of failure.
But art – at least to me – isn’t about failing and winning. It’s about expression and creating and learning and exploring!
If that’s not how you see it, though, how about lowering those expectations? Lower them as far as you can. Draw a stick figure that you like? BAM – you won. Copy a picture of Goku from Dragon Ball Z? You won. The doodle you made matches what you pictured in your head? You won. Once you’ve built up some confidence in your abilities, maybe you can start to see art as more than an win-lose game.
Doodles, in fact, might be the best way to take the pressure off. Doodles, by definition, aren’t perfect, and you can make lots of them in a short time.
In conclusion, you don’t have to be perfect, and you don’t have to make masterpieces all the time. Just try to enjoy yourself, and enjoy the process.