How I’m Fighting My Biggest Fear as an Illustrator

As a creative, as much as I hate to say it, I’m a pretty sensitive person. Doing something artistic leaves me vulnerable, heart splayed on my sleeve as others judge me and my work. That can be scary. For others, downright terrifying. But you know what scares me the most?

The blank page.

I have 9 pure white canvases staring straight at me as I write this. I have a sketchbook that’s about 12% filled in and stacks of computer paper begging to be scribbled on. If you’re experiencing the same fear as I, here’s a couple of tips I’m using to beat it.

Ask yourself:

Where is this fear coming from?

My fear of the blank page is holding me back from expressing myself, from making, and creating. If we don’t realize that this is a problem, then finding the solution is impossible.

I found out where my fear is coming from.
I have this feeling that everything needs to be perfection on the first round. I need to make something that will appeal to the masses, and I’m afraid of pouring my heart into a painting that will get no reception, therefore, the piece might never find it’s home.

All in all, it needs to sell.

No need to sugarcoat it. I work in a limited space. I love having my work admired and loved. But at the end of the day, it needs to sell as well. This allows space in my room to free up, it allows more paintings to get on canvases, it allows me to reinvest in my business as well as myself. That’s the reality. But does it always have to feel this way?

How can I beat this fear?

I have to do these four things:

  • Realize that every piece doesn’t have to be a masterpiece.
  • Know from the start that a project may not look 100% how I envisioned it.
  • Allow myself to let go and create is the most important part of creating!
  • I need to stop being scared.

If you’re dealing with the same thing I am, here’s a couple of tips that worked for me:

Just Do It.

Nike knows what they’re talking about. The hardest thing when it comes to creating is actually getting up to create.

Make the time for it. Don’t have that little voice nag you day in and day out about not finishing your projects while endlessly scrolling on Facebook. That’s procrastination settling in. Experimentation is where ideas truly get to flow and flourish. Once the first mark is down on paper or your surface of choice, then it’s time to have some fun.

Repeat this Mantra: Finished. Not Perfect.

This is so crucial to every creative job that’s done. From writing, to drawing, to music.

I learned to stop being so precious with what I’m creating and if something doesn’t look right then keep working through it. This is what artists refer to as the “ugly stage”. It’s crucial that you keep going with your work because 70% of the painting and drawing process will be ugly!

Case in point:

Projects need to be completed, that’s all that’s required. Once it’s done, then that’s where the fun starts and revisions occur. One thing I’m embracing is that it’s okay for do overs and it’s okay to try again.

This video explains it all.

“But, I Don’t Want to Ruin It!”

I understand. You’ve got something going on and it’s looking better than you ever thought it would. We feel like we don’t want to ruin what we have. But, if we continue to feel like that, then we’ll never get anywhere in art, or in life.

When mistakes are made, or when my pieces fall flat (which many times they do!) it’s time to get critical and figure out what made it fall.

Accept the Mistakes

No, every piece doesn’t have to be a masterpiece, and that’s okay. Enjoy the process of creating and grow that body of work. I’ll never get better if I don’t keep trying. That’s what I need to remind myself every day.

This is how I’m fighting my biggest fear as an illustrator.

Well, now that I opened myself up about my struggles, what do you fear most when creating art?

Share it in the comments below! Maybe someone else is dealing with the same thing.

Until next week!

~PK

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