Overcoming Self-Criticism

Self-criticism, doubt-imgBeing new to concept artwork, and working outside of a reference photo has been quite a challenge for me. All too often I’ve found it frustrating.

I have been battling with doubt and rhetorical questions of doom, such as: How am I supposed to make this look? Am I on the right track? Does this look right?

Note the condescending, scary words I use in my own mind: “supposed” and “right”. Those words, my friends, are creativity killers.

Paired with judgmental, stern remarks, such as: This looks ugly. This looks like nothing at all.  I’ve wasted precious time.

Insecurities and self-doubt have been plaguing me, but I have just kept on working, trying to get into the flow of it. It’s hard to get immersed and have fun with all that pressure. Fortunately, I am in full control of that pressure, because I am the only one making demands on myself!

I’m not the first or the last artist to struggle with this. Surely, this isn’t the end of struggling for me, either. But seeing the problem and identifying it is more than half the battle. I must remember to keep my positivity up — being kind to myself is important, but positivity also has the added benefit of keeping the work flowing. By being happy and meditative while doing my art, and enjoying my time, I gain momentum for future works and future progress — which is what I’m after.

Here are some things I’ve been saying to myself, maybe they can be of use to you, too:

1. The process is the process. You can’t skip it.

2. Stuff takes as long as it takes, and that’s okay.

3. Frustration is a wasteful emotion; try “I’m being challenged” instead.

4. The more you work, and figure stuff out, the more reward.

5. Time spent doing art is time spent well.

6. It makes me happy, and the progression is really inspiring.

7. Self-growth is amazing; and it happens when I invest time and thought.

8. I want to make art, and enjoy it.

9. I would rather be here, now, doing this, than anywhere else.

10. This is a healing space and time for me, and is precious and loving.



Articles that inspired this post which you might find interesting: 

“Life of a Project” (info-diagram) by Austin Kleon:

Unnatural Light (blog) commentary about Kleon’s diagram and creativity:

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