Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Art of Self Confidence (aka: How to get out of the Hole of Humble Doom)

Have you ever looked at something you've drawn or written and then thrown it against the wall wondering why you went into massive student debt and a drinking problem when clearly the only thing you've learned to do well was sign your name at the bottom of your work?

Yeah. I've been there. 

But here's the thing: You're not as bad as you think. And that person next to you may be a great artist in YOUR eyes (and hey who's to say they aren't good?!) but I assure you they're looking at your work and probably thinking the same thing. 

As an artist myself I understand the rabbit hole of 'humble doom'. It starts out with you tripping on the innocent rock of  'their work/style is better than mine' then fumbling into the hole of 'Humble Doom' which sounds like this is as you fall: 'I'm just an okay artist that'll never be worthy of being hired. That person deserves it more than meeeeee....'. Then the Humble Doom Hole leaves you flat and out of breath on the Ground of Self Doubt.

Its an easy trap to fall into. You don't want to tell people your work is awesome or good or that you have talent for fear that you sound cocky or full yourself. But that leaves you with (apparently) only one other option: To sell yourself short and say you're not that good. Just average. And then you start believing it about yourself. But are those really the only two options??


You, my little writer/baker/candlestick maker/artist, have option C. It's called SELF CONFIDENCE.

Self Confidence shouldn't be confused with Bragging. Self confidence is right smack dab in the middle of 'humble doom hole' and 'bragging-horrid-person'. It's the rope that saves you from being flung in to the Humble Hole. Self Confidence is saying "My work is good, and I can see where I can improve, but overall, this's good!" 

See? Did I sound like a horrible braggy person? No. Because I'm confident. If you weren't a good artist of whatever you're good at, you wouldn't get compliments from strangers, or have graduated from that fancy schmancy art school, now would you? So clearly you have SOME talent that's better than the average person. 

But I know how hard it is to have self confidence. You compare your work to others ALL THE TIME. Hell, in art school they train you to do that. But you have to remember that your style is all you, and no one can copy or take that from you (except the hackers in China of course). Confidence isn't bragging. It's accepting your work and yourself for being good and acknowledging that fact. Bragging is when you walk into a room throwing shade around like a 13 year old girl saying out loud for all to hear: "I look so swag. I'm totes better looking than all these girls here. Like, I'm the hottest one here and everyone knows it."

Don't be that 13 year old girl.

Self Confidence takes time to achive. We have to un-train ourselves from comparing ourselves to others work and find ourselves lacking. Because it shows through in your body language, your voice, your tone. And more importantly, it can show through your work. It'll show in your lack of bold color choices, in sketchy lines and lots of eraser marks, in the way your characters all seem to care soooo much about their inner thoughts and what others think of them. It'l show through your work.

So I'm going to do this for you, to really help you out. Because I'm a giver.


You go that!?!? You don't have to put yourself down and be 'humble'. Humble is for the weak. Self Confidence sells. And really, you're doing a discredit not only to yourself but your art/characters/story when you put it down. Don't talk to yourself like that. Would you talk to your friend that way? Would you talk to your MOM that way? So don't do it. 

Don't do it! I'm watching you!

You can appreciate someone's work and not put your work down. Sure, you might have that moment of comparing your work to theirs (I still do!), and that's okay. But then you need to send that thought on its way. Because your work is good too. And its okay to admit that.

Self Confidence in the world of art (of any kind) is hard to come by. But when you sell yourself short, when you try to be humble, when you compare your work to others by putting your own down, you're giving up. You're giving up on yourself and your ideas and letting some other artist who says "well, I may not be the best, but I'm always getting better, and my work is pretty darn good" a chance to take the job you didn't get.

It took me a long time to reach out to the self-confidence rope. A LONG time. But I got there. And yeah, I still have moments of doubt, I still have moments of comparing. That's normal too. As artists we're always sensitive to other people's feelings. But you need to be sensitive to your own too. So go ahead. Admit that your work is good. Because if you don't believe in your work, who will? If you don't believe in your story or your art, it's never going to go anywhere or be seen by anyone.

So go forth little writer! Read books and read your friends work. Admire it if you like it (and tell them! We all need major boosts in our confidence!), learn from it if you can. But don't think your work is lesser because you think the other person is amazing. Don't do that to yourself. You're better than that, and I believe in you!

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