Do you lack confidence as an artist?
You love to draw but posting your art terrifies you.
You’re constantly afraid of what other people might think of your art.
You fear you’re not good enough.
Or you’re forever comparing your work to other people’s art.
In this post, I am going to teach you how to be confident as an artist so that you can post your work out there and really grow as an artist.
But before I get into the post, please take a moment to subscribe to my weekly newsletter, where I send all kinds of drawing tutorials, drawing worksheets, and drawing resources like courses and books:
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What exactly is confidence?
Confidence is a strong, wonderful feeling you get when you know who you are, no matter what the environment and you’re proud of who you are.
You can be a daisy in a field of roses and still not feel different, ashamed, or shy.
You embrace your unique individuality and continue to create as an artist.
Why is it important to feel confident as an artist?
It is important because even when everything is against you, you need to be the driving force to push yourself forward as an artist and make things happen for yourself.
Otherwise, you will get nowhere.
If you don’t believe in your art, who will?
When I was a child, my confidence booster was my mother. She pushed me to face my problems, and she instilled courage in me to always find a way out.
As artists, we can be extremely vulnerable and insecure about our art. This could lead to us missing out on huge opportunities just because we feel we’re not good enough.
It may even cause us to stop drawing altogether because we don’t feel confident enough to pursue our dreams.
I know a lot of lovely artists on Instagram that create art for free and don’t want to sell their artwork because they feel no one will buy their work. But this is not the correct way to grow as an artist.
This lack of confidence will not only lead to procrastination but also self-doubt, anxiety, and eventually depression. Don’t go down that rabbit hole.
So, let’s see how we can move towards becoming more confident every day.
1. Write down your goals each day
This is the first little step you have to take to build your confidence.
I have a beautiful Daily Planner that I use every day.
I write down all my mini-goals each morning when I wake up. Here are goals you can create:
- Drawing exercises you want to practice today
- What piece you want to work on
- Work for clients
- Organizing your messages
- Posting on social media or updating your website
- Trying to cold-email clients to get more work
- Working on any personal projects
If I spend 5 hours a day working on client work, I leave 2-3 hours aside to work on my personal projects. And when I finish a certain task, I mark it as complete.
At the end of the day, I feel extremely satisfied seeing that I’ve accomplished so much in the whole day. This helps me think clearly and plan for the next day.
Having an organized plan helps you become a more confident artist. Thus, enabling you to take on bigger projects. Because you realize that you’re capable of taking care of all the little things.
The proof is right in front of you, of course, in your Planner/Notebook.
Whenever you’re feeling down or dejected because you feel you don’t do enough as an artist, sit and read your Planner/Notebook. You’ll realize how much work you’ve done each day, and I guarantee you’ll feel better.
2. Keep long-term goals
This point is almost like the first but equally important.
Write down your long-term goals.
They help you move toward something.
And moving toward something means you don’t feel like you’re stationary or not doing anything. It helps increase your productivity because you know where you’re going, and you will start doing things to get yourself closer to that goal.
And when you know you’re moving toward a goal, you become more confident because your goal becomes your priority.
Keeping mini-goals and long-term goals have really, really helped me evolve as a person and as an artist. Whether it is a certain income you want to achieve or a career goal like I must sell 10 art prints by the end of the month, write it down.
You can also write down goals about the far future, like:
- I want to illustrate a book someday
- I want to make at least $10K a month by drawing
- I want to build a business that’s at least 70% passive income
Aside from just writing down your goals, keep a track of them. When the year is over, look through your goals and see how many you were able to accomplish. This not only fuels your confidence as an artist but also inspires you to be consistent.
It’s like hitting two birds with one stone. 😉
3. Get over the Imposter Syndrome
Imposter syndrome is the fear of feeling like a fraud and constantly having overwhelming feelings of self-doubt.
Understand that everybody has these feelings.
This feeling of self-doubt is what will help you grow as an artist because you’re always striving to make your art better.
But if you have way too much self-doubt, you’re going to cripple your progress.
The only way to become better is to produce 1000 pieces of garbage.
And you have to produce consistently.
That’s the only way you are going to improve.
So, try to work on drawing things you genuinely love.
You can even check out my eBook if you truly want to love in love with creating.
4. Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle
No, just don’t.
Your art is yours. You cannot (and should not) compare your art to other artists.
That’s just wrong, yo.
Everyone has their own reason for creating art, their own style, their own motivation, and their own creative blocks.
Comparing your art to another artist’s will just make you feel low. Who knows how many years they’ve been practicing? Or how many hours she/he struggled to get to that art style that you’re now admiring?
If you have to compare, compare your art to your own art 6 months ago. I lurrrrrrve doing this. Because I realize how much I’ve grown as an artist. As a result, I feel very motivated to keep going and become even better.
Have a little patience.
Give yourself time to grow. No one is quite happy with their art when they start drawing. And that’s a good thing! Because you’re ready to learn and practice more. And more practice results in better art.
5. Do not procrastinate
I used to be a major procrastinator. So, take it from me when I say that I know it’s not easy to stop procrastinating, but it’s pretty doable.
It’s taken me a long time to kick the habit away for good.
Sometimes we don’t have motivation or inspiration, and sometimes we just feel we’re not good enough so there’s no reason to keep creating
There may be 100 reasons to procrastinate, but find at least one to create.
Motivation will not come most of the time. You have to sit down and draw despite it.
Ask any famous artist how they got to where they are and they’ll tell you that they drew even when they didn’t feel like it.
If you want to build a business or become good at what you do, you have to practice.
Focus on why you’re creating and open your book and draw. Even if it’s rubbish, don’t let it bother you. Just keep moving that pencil. As you draw, you’ll get more ideas.
6. Fight your negative voice and take chances
Do you remember the last time you wanted to try something new? But something was holding you back? Was there a little voice in your head telling you,
“You’ve never attempted this before. You don’t have experience. You’ll look like an idiot!”
Learn to ignore that voice (unless you want to kill someone, then by all means – please, please listen to that voice) and take chances.
Life is too short to live in your comfort zone. Learn to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Say yes to collaborations with other artists when your heart wants to. Say yes to opportunities that come your way. If a company wants you to work on a project, say yes especially if they want to pay you for your work. They wouldn’t be approaching you if they didn’t like your work.
Don’t say no, because you feel you’re not good enough.
Your negative thoughts are your biggest vice as an artist.
This brings me to my next point.
7. Don’t deny getting paid for your work
I know a lot of artists who refuse to be paid for their work.
If a company approaches you and asks you to create something, don’t think, “Maybe I’m not good enough to charge, so I guess I’ll do it for free.”
No. Charge for your work.
I will reiterate: If you don’t believe your art is valuable, nobody else has reason to either.
Drawing is a business. The day you decide you want to make money from your work, you charge for it.
You’re not just charging for your art; you are charging for your time.
You are charging for the effort that you put into making that piece.
Art is as legitimate as every other business out there.
Getting paid for your work will give you the confidence you need to create more. You don’t have to work for free. Do you want to take art seriously? Then, make it your goal to earn your living by being an artist!
By charging for your work, you will look confident and people will take you seriously as an artist. Otherwise, they’ll always believe that art is just a hobby for you.
8. Cherish compliments graciously
You aren’t being modest if someone is paying you a heartfelt compliment and you shake your head.
It shows you are insecure and have low self-esteem. Learn to accept compliments with a hearty smile and show people you have strong and solid self-esteem.
If someone is praising your work, it means they really like it.
There are a few art pieces that I’ve created that I’m not entirely happy with. But there are loads of people who like those! And if they praise me for it, I’m not going to say, “Nah, it sucks.” I’m going to smile and say, “Thank you! I’m so happy you like it.”
A little positivity can go a long way. Be confident and trust yourself.
Everyone’s tastes are different.
And what some people hate, other people can’t get enough of.
We are our own worst critics.
9. Don’t ever stop learning
I cannot stress this enough.
I may be an artist, but I don’t know everything.
I had to pick up various skills, like outlining, drawing anatomy, learning different strokes, and coloring techniques, and I have Domestika to thank for all of that! I prefer Domestika because once you buy a class, you own it forever.
Their classes are also extremely cost-effective, and they constantly have sales.
I’ve tried a few websites but this is one that changed my life as an artist. I learned how to use many tools in Illustrator and Photoshop, and it’s amazing because I can watch the videos whenever I want.
I currently use ProCreate on my iPad because it’s portable and so much faster.
This class will teach you all the basics you need to create illustrations on the Procreate app.
The more you learn, the more confident you become. It goes hand in hand.
10. Take it one day at a time
It’s great to have goals as an artist and constantly strives to improve.
But that progress is not going to happen in 1 day.
You have to be patient and work on your art daily.
Focus on building the habit first – just try drawing something every day.
If you don’t have the habit of drawing, then start with 10-15 minutes daily and slowly increase that duration to 30 minutes.
This will help you get better at drawing.
And as you get better at drawing, your confidence will automatically pick up.
11. Expect pitfalls
Whenever you start a beautiful and interesting journey, slip-ups will happen.
It’s all part of growing and learning something new.
Maybe you might attempt a piece that won’t look like you envisioned it.
Maybe you might get a nasty comment on one of your pieces.
Or someone might misunderstand what you were trying to draw.
Perhaps you might get into a heated debate with another artist.
Don’t take these to heart.
These are all challenges that you will face as an artist, and with time you will automatically build confidence and develop a thicker skin.
So, don’t be afraid to make mistakes; just make sure you learn from them and move on.
12. Go easy on yourself
Like I said before, we are our own worst critics.
It is good once in a while to stand back and critique your art – this helps you become a better artist.
But if you constantly negate everything you are doing and belittle yourself all the time, you will hamper your growth as an artist.
Remember what I said before, it’s okay to make mistakes.
It’s okay to slip up.
All of these will help us grow as an artist.
You cannot be perfect, there is no growth that way.
We have to commit errors to grow and become better.
So, go easy on yourself when you make a mistake. The more mistakes you make, the faster you learn – so give yourself a pat on the back.
13. Don’t ever forget why you started
I think the best way to become confident as an artist is to remember why you started.
Sometimes I’m low and don’t feel like drawing anymore. There are days when I wake up with self-doubt and say to myself, “Maybe I should have been a dancer.”
We all have those days. You’re not alone if you sometimes feel like giving up.
So, instead of giving up, I take a few minutes to breathe or do something relaxing and try to remember why I started.
You could have several reasons.
Repeat this every time you want to give up.
“I wanted to be an artist because…
- I love drawing (or)
- I want to make a name for myself in this field (or)
- I want to change the world with my art (or)
- I want people to feel art, etc.
Reminding yourself why you started will motivate you to keep going and in no time, you’ll be feeling confident again.
And now, we’re at the end of another post. I promise you that if you follow at least five of these tips, you will feel confident as an artist in no time!
So, I ask you, what has been your biggest confidence boost till now as an artist/creator?
Here are some more posts you may enjoy:
- How to respond to compliments as an artist
- How to draw without a reference
- How to get better at drawing (for beginners)
- How to find your art style when you’re a beginner artist
- 13 signs you were meant to be an artist
- How long does it take to learn how to draw? (Explained)
- How to become a full-time artist without a degree
- 13 drawing mistakes most beginner artists make
- 9 drawing books for beginners
- Fun drawing gifts for children under 10 years old
- 13 easy ways to make money online as an artist
- 13 reasons why people like drawing + drawing benefits!