How to Be a More Confident Artist (and Grow Your Art Business Too)

By Steff Metal in Art Business Advice > Motivation

We artists can be a pretty shy bunch, especially when it comes to evaluating our own work. Sometimes we’d rather hide our art away in a cupboard than put it on display for people to judge. We constantly feel the need to tell people what’s wrong with our work. And networking? Don’t even get me started—it makes me break out in hives.

Building confidence in your abilities as an artist takes time and patience, but it’s a vital part of running a successful art business. If you constantly tell yourself you’re not good enough, and talk yourself out of opportunities because you don’t feel confident enough, you’re going to miss out on wonderful adventures.

Here are four tips on building confidence in yourself as an artist:

1. Plan your day, every day

Start your day by writing a list of things to do that day. The first thing on your list should be time spent enjoying your art—whether that is working on a new piece or practicing techniques. Regular, daily practice will help you feel more comfortable and confident in your level of skill.

Next, plan an activity that makes you a little nervous, such as ringing the local gallery about a having an exhibition or submitting your artwork to a juried show. Choose one nerve-racking activity every day.

Planning ahead and scheduling unwelcome activities can help you achieve what you need to do, without being overwhelmed by the sheer number of terrifying things you need to do.

2. Don’t compare yourself to other artists

If you’re constantly comparing your work to other artists, you’re always going to find faults. Remember that you a NOT these other artists—you are you, and your work is unique and special because of your experiences and skills. Don’t force yourself to be something you’re not.

It may help to go on an “art-free” diet for a week. This means you stop looking at other people’s art or reading about other people’s success—this means getting off the internet, refusing to enter the local gallery, and closing all your art books.

Going “art-free” can help clear your mind of those negative comparisons, and help you focus on YOUR work again.

3.Remind yourself of your achievements

Get a piece of paper and write down ten things that you’re proud of achieving in your life and art, everything from “learning to use pastels” to “having two pieces in local exhibition” to “raising two beautiful girls.” Have you got ten? See if you can add more.

Writing a list reminds you to focus on how far you’ve come, instead of how far you feel you still have to go. Be proud of what you’ve achieved, and celebrate it, because it’s a truly remarkable thing!

4. Remember your goals and dreams

Sometimes, when you feel your confidence really lacking, it can help to remind yourself why you’re doing this. Remember that even the most famous and talented artists doubt themselves at times, and that you’re strong enough and determined enough to push through the doubt to achieve your dreams.

No one said being an artist would be easy, but you don’t have to constantly live in doubt of your own abilities. Remind yourself again and again, until you believe it—then move forward, and use your talent and determination to achieve your goals!


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