Updated: Apr 7, 2020
Sometimes when if finish a drawing one of two thoughts will run through my mind.
Post and share! Let everyone see the amazing thing and we can nerd together.
Forget it ever happened. Because no one is going to like my work.
Can anyone else relate to this?
Chances are that if you are reading this article, you have indeed felt this doubt dig under your skin and jab at the sensitive nerves that are supposed to be made of steel.
You have been told that art is subjective, not everyone is going to like it, and you need to just move on if someone starts critiquing you or insulting you. You are supposed to take it like a champ and not let a single word phase you even though your entire being wants to do nothing more than curl up in a ball and hide away in the darkness of your safe zone.
Not everyone is going to like your work
You will get critiqued
Art and what is considered "good" is subjective
Technique is a constant state of process
And finally, YOU ARE ALLOWED TO FEEL.
Seriously. You are allowed to feel anxious about these things. We take critique and judgment everyday whether you are an artist, a writer or a performer. Someone out there is going to get a stick up their buns even if your work is technically sound. Subject matter, context, research... all of it can be wrong or controversial.
What I am getting at here is that your anxiety about sharing your art is very much valid.
Artists put their heart and soul into projects whether they are elaborate paintings, full length novels or, my personal favorite, fan art. A part of who we are molded to the piece in question and it's gonna hurt like a fucker when someone tells you it's complete crap.
The thing about Anxiety is that it is not only a natural and normal feeling but it's also our safety mechanism. It is our fight or flight that helps keep us alive and when our work is threatened it feels personal. Luckily we are now in the age where anxiety and depression are taken much more seriously than in previous decades.
What we feel is being considered part of our health and wellbeing. I myself have suffered from both of these and I continue to work everyday on overcoming the shadow of doom as it tries to chase me back into my bedroom.
I get it and I know some of you are still working on this struggle as you read through the words of this crazy melodramatic artist/writer. You are probably rolling your eyes right now thinking, "Damn, this chick is trying to sell me something."
Well, I mean... I could be. I am an aspiring life coach and podcaster who loves to get people to subscribe to my crap, but I am more interested in helping you out there. So here we go:
How I manage my ARTISTIC ANXIETY!
Write down how you feel about your work right when you finish it.
Do you like what you created?
Are you excited?
Does the work make you happy?
Write down your fears. What exactly is it you are afraid of if you share this artwork?
Are you afraid of what people think?
Are you afraid you messed something up?
Do you think someone is going to laugh, judge you as a person, think you are stupid?
What have been your previous criticisms?
Did you work on these changes?
Do you/Should you give a shit?
Have they changed the way you think about your work?
When you have written these things down, ask yourself the following questions.
Will the critique help you improve? Do you want to improve?
Why do these things bother you?
Do these people matter to you in your life? Friends, Family, Strangers...
Do you let these people tell you how you should feel? Why?
Do likes, shares, reblogs make you any less of an artist? Why?
Can you accept that you can not control how someone else thinks, feels, or believes?
Hopefully some of these things can help you clear up your anxiety.
If you are still feeling anxious you can try these things.
Step away from social media for a predetermined amount of time.
Put the artwork away for a day, a week or a month, and come back to it later.
Show it to a close friend if you need a controlled critique; Remember friends may give you a watered down critique. Very few will be blunt and if they are, ask yourself if you are ready for their opinion.
Take a walk to get some fresh air, it helps clear the mind
Last, grab some hot tea and watch tv for a bit to cleanse your brain with trash (ok that last part was a joke. I just love cartoons)
Finally, I want to remind you all that Anxiety may be a natural experience and having the feelings are natural, but I urge you to seek the help of a physician or therapist if you believe that the anxiety is more than a few jitters.
Don't go it alone. Get the help. There is no reason to suffer when there are ways that can help manage the stress that comes with anxiety. Your health is more important than someone else's opinion. You owe them nothing and they do not get to hold you down.
Keep growing. Keep learning and I will be back with another article or tip.
If you have any requests for a specific topic, please email me or leave a comment. I appreciate and love you all.
(Disclaimer: This article is showing how I personally manage my anxiety. I am not a therapist. I am an artist with experience of dealing with my own struggles. At the moment, I am seeking life coaching certification. Any and all advice in here is purely of my own path and what I learned along the way. Any donation or purchase from my website will help not only support my family, podcast and webs resources but it will also assist me in my credentials. Thank you for everything and share these tips with people who could use a boost. Below I have listed official resources to help individuals deal with mental health issues.)