This post originated in one of my groups and due to the overwhelming amount of feedback, I decided I would start to post some of my own personal stories on here in hopes that I can help inspire others who may be battling the same thing.
This post goes out to all those artists who are perfectionists. All those illustrators who are always comparing themselves to others. To all those artists afraid to share their work because they don’t feel “good enough”.
I think we have all been there at some point in our lives.
For many years I was so scared of posting my art online. I always felt my style was immature and childish, that it was never up to the perfection that I wanted. The last time I actually posted anything was probably back in high school and college, in the days of Deviantart and my comic book community (yes, growing up I thought I would be a comic book artist).
While I won’t go into too much detail as far as growing up and my art (that is a whole other story), I ended up graduating college as a graphic design major and landed a job that exposed me to packaging, project management, and my ultimate new obsession- surface pattern design.
I never thought I would be interested in pattern design, but it became a growing interest of mine. Going from comic illustration to patterns was quite the jump.
In 2017 I was ecstatic that I was allowed to attend Surtex and Blueprint thanks to my job at that point in time. I met tons of artists and saw so many different artistic styles. Styles that I actually felt were on par with my own, styles that I could relate to. Seeing professional, reputable artists selling artwork with such a variety of styles and caliber made me feel so much more confident in what I did.
There were even some professional artists selling what looked like doodles! Quick sketches gave a sketchbook feel.
There was no “perfect”. They had their own place in different parts of the industry. I had to get my view of “perfect” out the window.
In my eyes, perfect art was a hand-painted masterpiece on display at a gallery. Quite frankly, that really wasn’t fair. I’m not a realistic styled traditional painter. It was like comparing apples and oranges.
Visually seeing different artists and their styles was enough to make me feel comfortable starting to share my work more. I stopped worrying about my style and work and started counting the “wins” as I call it.
Wins are like little goals and happy points to appreciate. They are part of the bigger picture.
For me, these wins consisted of:
- Purchases from my Redbubble/ Etsy shop.
- Customers sharing their stories with me.
- Small businesses reaching out asking for my art on different products.
- Crafters writing in to tell me they tried a craft I posted in my blog.
- Other artists commenting and giving me advice on my work.
- Customers buying and talking with me at craft shows.
- Someone reaching out to me on my website because they saw my work.
- Websites featuring my artwork.
- Amazing support from my friends and family.
- Having an awesome boyfriend who has been more than supportive of my art and has inspired me on so many levels (Shout out to Joe who puts up with me hah!).
- Taking various training classes to learn more about illustration, art and social media
- Making new art friends and networking
I believe that these wins will eventually turn into bigger wins and more opportunities as time goes on.
As far as counting the wins go, here is a small story that really put a smile on my face.
In one of my private groups that I am a member of, I recognized some of the artists who I remembered back from when I went to Surtex. These were professionals very familiar with the industry. Anyhow, it was a huge deal for me when one of these artists actually commented on my work and acknowledged me! Here they are, someone I aspire to be like and look up to, actually commenting and even giving me pointers on how to grow my portfolio to even greater lengths.
Small wins can eventually go a long way.
What are some of your wins?