Building Confidence as an Artist

Building Confidence as an Artist

Confidence as an artist is a difficult one to get right.  On the one hand you want to have the confidence to put yourself out there.  And on the other hand you want enough awareness of your weaknesses that you recognise improvement is needed.  After talking about rejection as an artist in my last post, HERE. I wanted to touch on the subject of confidence. Confidence to continue creating and showing your work.  And confidence to grow and develop.

 a group of small paintings

Building Confidence as an Artist:

As an artist, confidence is key to success in your craft. However, building confidence can be a struggle for many. It's a common experience that can hold you back from achieving your full potential.  But don't worry, there are actionable steps you can take to build your confidence and overcome those doubts. So, let's dive in and discover how to build your confidence as an artist.

The first step to gaining a foundation of confidence is knowing what you like and where the work you want to make sits within the wider art world. The best way to begin is to consume media that inspires you. Whether it's reading books or articles about other artists, visiting galleries and museums, or watching documentaries about creative processes, exposing yourself to art can help you feel excited and motivated about your own work.  And allows an understanding of where your influences come from and which direction you want to take your own practice. 

Recognise Your Talents

To become a more confident artist, it's important to recognise your strengths. We all have unique abilities that make our work stand out. Take some time to reflect on what you excel at. Maybe you have a great eye for colour or you excel at creating intricate patterns. Write down what you are good at and use post it notes if you are a visual person.  That way you can place the notes where you will see them and are reminded of your strengths often. Because it is easy to forget! 

broken stones quilt pattern

 Identify Your Weaknesses

Now that you have identified your talents and strengths, it's time to identify your weaknesses. Understanding and accepting your weaknesses as an artist is crucial for growth and development. While it may be difficult to admit, acknowledging your weaknesses will allow you to address them and make improvements to your skills. Take some time to reflect on areas where you struggle or feel less confident, whether it's a specific medium, technique, or style and make a plan to improve. Remember, no one is perfect, and all artists have areas they can improve upon.  And don't be too hard on yourself if progress seems slow at first. Improvement takes patience and hard work.

quilt print by Lucy Engels

Surround Yourself with Positive Influences

I mentioned this in my previous blog post, but surrounding yourself with people who support and encourage you is priceless. Seek out friends, family members, or mentors who appreciate your art and can provide constructive feedback. Joining a community of like-minded artists can also be incredibly beneficial. I know I use artist and business communities in this way. Not only can you learn from each other, but you'll also have a network of support when you're feeling discouraged or are unsure.

On the flip side there are negative influences that you need to be mindful of. It's easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others, especially in the age of social media. However, constantly measuring yourself against someone else's success can leave you feeling inadequate and unmotivated. Instead, focus on your own progress and celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem.

Just Because quilt close up Lucy Engels

Practice Visualisation

Visualisation is one of my favourite tools.  I use it all the time. This is a technique used by successful athletes, business leaders, and artists to envision themselves achieving their goals. By creating a mental picture of what you want to achieve, you can begin to believe in your ability to make it happen. 

Visualisation can be done in multiple ways. One approach may be to create a vision board, a collection of images that represent your artistic goals. You can also use guided imagery, which involves imagining yourself in a specific situation, such as successfully completing a painting or receiving recognition for your work. With repetition and focus, visualisation can help you stay motivated, overcome self-doubt, and see yourself as a successful artist. 

go quilt pattern

Enjoy the process of making

One of the most important things to remember is to enjoy the process of making. Whether you're sewing, painting, sculpting, drawing, or creating in any other medium, the act of creating is what's most important. Don't get too caught up in the end result; instead, focus on the journey and the experience of bringing your ideas to life.

Building confidence as an artist is a gradual process that requires dedication and patience. Recognise your strengths, identifying your weaknesses, focus on improvement and surround yourself with positive influences. Visualise where you want to be and what you want to be making. And last but not least enjoy the process!  

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