Doubting oneself is human nature, especially as an artist. It’s completely normal to wonder whether your art is good enough or your skills or strong enough. The problem is when this negative self-talk impacts your confidence. Artistic confidence often takes years to foster. Many artists are extremely fragile when it comes to criticism, whether it comes from themselves or others. That is why building one’s artistic confidence is something that must be worked at.
John Kissick is an artist and painter from Guelph, Ontario. He is a published author, full time artist, and art professor at Guelph’s School of Fine Art and Music. Despite his impressive career, he also struggles at times with artistic confidence. Even for someone like him, it takes a lot of time and patience to get to a point where you always feel confident. Luckily, thanks to his vast experience, Kissick has picked up a few helpful tips for inspiring artistic confidence.
Painter John Kissick claims that when he starts to question his artistic production, he does a mental exercise that helps him find perspective. The first step in the process is to identify when you are having negative thoughts about yourself and your artwork. Every artist has negative thoughts invade their brain from time to time, some more than others, but the key is to rein in these thoughts and then step back and get some perspective. Once you’ve identified that you’re thinking negatively, ask yourself if you have any evidence to support the claims you’re making in your head. For example, if you catch yourself thinking “No one will show my art,” or “I’m not good enough,” try and focus on times in the past when someone has supported your art.
Further, treat yourself how you would treat your friend or respected peer. If you heard your friend make a comment like “I’m not good enough,” would you simply agree with them, or would you give them a pep talk because of course you believe they are good enough? It’s likely the latter. Whenever you’re feeling low or negative, ask yourself these questions to help get some perspective. This will help you grow your confidence levels until the negative thoughts are pushed to the back of your mind permanently.
According to John Kissick of Guelph, Ontario, comparing yourself to other artists is a recipe for disaster. Generally speaking, there is no reason to compare yourself to others because every individual is unique, but this rings especially true for artists. A little friendly competition is natural, but getting bogged down in who is doing what and whether they’re doing it better than you is one of the fastest ways to destroy any shred of artistic confidence that you’ve built.
Although it isn’t easy, John Kissick recommends that you only draw comparisons between your current self and your past self. Think about where you are now and where you were when you first started out as an artist. This will surely give you a major confidence boost and even if you aren’t exactly where you thought you’d be, it will help you realize your goals and work towards them.
It’s easy for artists to focus on the failures, but in order to maintain any semblance of artistic confidence, it’s imperative that you concentrate more on the process than the failures. Everyone inevitably makes mistakes in their career, but viewing them as learning opportunities rather than outright failures and moving past them is critical to one’s development as an artist. After any failure or mistake, John Kissick of Guelph, Ontario, always takes the time to analyze what went wrong and how he can ensure that what went wrong doesn’t happen again. He then seeks inspiration for ways he can right the wrong and improve upon himself in the short and long term.
If you’re having trouble overcoming a low point, Kissick recommends finding a support group. This group can be a small number of trusted friends and family members, but it could also be an artistic community, either online or in-person who you can rely on and vent to in times of need. Ultimately, focusing on the process rather than small failures will help instill confidence in you as an artist as you’ll be able to trust that you can overcome any failure you experience and come out better on the other side.