Performance anxiety, often called “stage fright,” isn’t really something that gets attached to the world of fine art and illustration, probably because so many people are so satisfied with their current level of artistic ability. You know, normal healthy people…
…but then there’s people like me. The crazy ones. The perfectionists. The worriers and doubters. If you really think about it, a lot of us go through it in one form or another. We worry that our work won’t look good, or won’t be accepted, or that our portfolio sucks, or that we’ll never get a creative job or make a living and - deep breath - seriously, think about all the crap that can go through your head when you haven’t started a piece off on the right foot. Something goes right, we take it for granted. Something goes wrong, you enter a death spiral and think that you’ve “lost your edge,” or that “the magic is gone.”
I go through this a lot. I put a lot of pressure on myself to perform on all cylinders, to impress people, get art jobs, and to make my clients happy - it’s kind of crazy. I do notice that when there are times of disconnect and depression, I don’t often know what to do in order to get out of it.
Here I offer some ideas as to why this happens:
1. You’re growing as an artist, but you don’t know it yet.
A lot of times we don’t know the difference between “bored with the same old shit,” and “why is nothing working in my favor?!” Maybe your approach is no longer conducive to what you want to accomplish as an artist. Maybe you’re “seeing” your subjects in a different way and your skillset hasn’t quite caught up. Maybe you’ve used the same old materials for way too long. The bottom line? Change it up, try new things, and identify what you’re getting bored over… you’ll get on the right foot eventually.
2. You’re growing as an artist, but you won’t do anything about it.
This time, it’s all about the limits you’re placing on yourself. Fear is what keeps us from doing new things - fear of failure, fear of not being accepted, fear of… fear of… whatever it is you’re afraid of? I don’t know. But when you worry about “style” or reputation, you are placing a limit on yourself. You are basically telling yourself that “other people won’t accept me if I change my style / stop doing portraits / stop painting realistically / stop doing cartoons.” The truth is, fans and jobs and reputations and styles come and go. As soon as one person decides they don’t like your work, there’s another one that will love you for it. As soon as you stop painting one way, and start falling in love with another way, you could just be walking yourself into a world of brand new opportunities. Stop worrying about your image, and start pondering over what you want to do with the images you make… leave the fans and styles and opportunities out of it. As artists, our interests and tastes are ever-growing and fluid.
3. You’ve become stagnant out of pure stubbornness.
This kind of goes hand-in-hand with the previous two, but it’s just a bit different enough to warrant its own category. This is when you start getting anxious over your work because you aren’t even bothering to improve yourself out of fear. You aren’t taking the time to get into a life drawing class, or study art history, do master copies, or read theories on proportion, or light and shadow, or things like that. You don’t even have to enroll in a big art school to learn new things, there are loads of books out there, feel free to ask me about my favorites. Anything by Andrew Loomis is pure educational gold. Never be afraid to learn how to draw “classically.” Don’t get stuck in this idea that you can only follow anime tutorials or only draw inspirations from comics. Expand your horizons - styles come and go, but the basics haven’t gone anywhere. Don’t limit yourself.
See the common thread here? A lot of this has to do with placing unnecessary boundaries on yourself in order to maintain the illusion that you’re doing something “right.” That you’re on the “right” path, drawing the “right” way, or that you’ll keep your fans interested, or your clients pleased, or whatever it is that you have drilled into your head over and over. Having a “right” way of doing things implies that there is also a wrong way to do them. This way of thinking creates a lot of unnecessary tension.
You have to learn how to embrace the fluidity of your interests, tastes, and areas of growth. When you don’t acknowledge these things, you’re only hurting yourself! Draw everything you can, educate yourself, and never get too serious. Be confident in your skills, accept when things don’t go your way, and throw yourself a little party when they do. Go with the flow and strive for balance!
Art thieves are the scourge of the internet. It’s happened to me before but now it’s happening to a lot of my friends. All by the same person.www.instagram.com/officialstaters keeps stealing all our One Direction art, mirroring the images, cutting of signatures, placing new signatures over them, etc. She’s also sending it to official 1D channels in order to use it to participate in creative projects etc. When we call her out on it she blocks us so we can’t see her images anymore, when we report her to instagram, she changes her username (she’s had 7 so far). She’s also YoPerrieEdwards on twitter. I don’t feel like I can report her there though because I haven’t seen her steal art there. Tweeting is useless, she just ignores it.
nohitler said: try drawing something different maybe? like other than one direction? I know you have the freedom to draw whatever and by all means do; but maybe if you do something different youll be more into it.
I did in fact start on a commission the other day…
i agree with the sizing thing! i don't think it's a resolution issue, but the fact that the images are too long to see all at once. so you can't see the whole image - you gotta scroll down to take it in a bit at a time which is a bit annoying. don't think it's a biiiig deal though, the theme you have now is quite beautiful :)
Thanks! I can always edit the theme I suppose. thisaintrachel, can I get your opinion on this? :)
I like to surprise you, but this year, I really don't have a clue what I should give to you on your birthday. Suggestions?
Uhhh. No? I don’t know. I’m horrible at birthdays. And gifts. Just - nothing music related. I’m all over the place in that regard, but I never actually put music on - on cds/vinyls anymore. And the stuff that I do want, I usually get on pre-order and then never actually open/play. Meh.
Uhhh, obviously my hobbies are not very hands on, so I can’t think of anything that can go towards them, because they’re art, and music, and I’ve just pretty much ruled that last one out. (Unless you know music and can get me ticket to see Ed Sheeran)
Also, I’m turning 27 and would much rather not have a birthday at all because what have I accomplished this year? NOTHING. Exactly. Uhm.
Ok, so maybe, maybe some tees with cute/funny designs on them? I’m usually medium. That kind of works? That’s both fun and useful.
I’m also really into make up recently, but you might be a guy, so :P
And One Direction, but you can’t help me - meet them - get them to tweet at me - get them to play an acoustic set in my livingroom - get them to sign my art, sooo. And you might be a guy, so…
Yeahhhh I’m so helpful. T-shirts with cute designs is literally the only thing that I can actually think of. Useless…
The amount of negative responses to the #ALSIceBucketChallenge baffle me. A lot of people are saying it’s attention seeking bullshit. The company I work for was challenged the day before yesterday by one of the ALS related charities in our country. So naturally, we accepted. And we nominated, among others, our mayor. This resulted in two articles on a local news website, both of which received a whole lot of negative responses to the campaign and, though it was never literally named, the nomination.
Why would you nominate your mayor? Of course it’s nice to get some buzz around /your/ video. But mostly because he is a public figure. Public figures are able to spread the message that all these ALS charities are trying to convey, much further and much faster.
The campaign is meant to raise money, but also to raise awareness for this terrible, awful disease. By throwing a bucket of ice water over your head. Why? Because people who suffer from ALS are trapped inside their own bodies. The disease will literally keep them from moving. It’s completely debilitating. Throwing a bucket of ice over your head will let you experience, a tiny amount, and for a short amount of time, what that is like. It very viscerally raises awareness. And it also already raised a lot of money, which is awesome.
So it’s not just funny, hahaha ice. It imitates one of the symptoms. It’s impossible to compare that to the actual disease, but it does more for awareness than most campaigns (and they are no les necessary). People saying it’s just attention seeking behavior can kindly shut their mouths. Because even though some people might think about it that way, it still spreads the message, and that’s what it about! I just get so frustrated when people bash the campaign in general.
And in short, why /I/ chose not to do the challenge when my colleagues did… I kind of know what it’s like already. My spasm kind of has the same debilitating quality. Except it’s nowhere near as bad as ALS and it doesn’t end in death. It’s just, had I taken the challenge, I would’ve been unable to do anything for the rest of the day. And I’d have to change at the office (hard) and my wheelchair pillow would’ve gotten wet (hard). So that’s why I just held up a sign.
In the end we had a good time, passed on the message, and donated. If you want to know more or want to make a donation, go to www.alsa.org orwww.als.nl if you’re Dutch.