Giving Yourself “Small Wins” in Your Art Career

*Reading Time: 2 minutes*

I did it. I made the largest piece to date!

It took me over 3 months to get that illustration to where it is now. So much improvement from the last illustration, too! That pose is on point, those colors are cray, that composition is lit. By God I killed it. 🔥

…And now I have to make something better.

“Now What?”

This question creeps into my mind worse than a debilitating fear.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt like I improved in my paintings  the immediately after felt paralyzed with the fear that the next image won’t be nearly as good.

“What if I’m not as skilled as I think I am?”

To combat these roadblocks I’m practicing a method of creating work that I call a “small win”.

These are little illustrations that don’t come with the baggage and pressure of creating a full color, completely rendered painting as the image before it.

I’ve been working on a set of stickers for my online shop and conventions and they have been fun to make. When I complete a small illustration and I love the way it looks, that piece will be my small win. That piece of work will be something to add to my roster of art I’ve created for the year, and something to happily look back on.

Small wins can be anything you deem it to be in your creative career.

  • It could be a 2 minute blog post.
  • A 1 minute Youtube quick-tip video.
  • A sketch series instead of a painting series.
  • An ACEO (2.5in x 3.5in) painting instead of an 11 x 17in painting

And the list goes on.

I need to remind myself that I’m an artist, not a machine. I want to make giant piece after giant piece, but I need to take a moment to scale back and appreciate my work. Big project or small, commercial piece or personal, painting or sketch, I need to relax and just enjoy the process.

That’s what art is for after all.

What do you do to take the pressure off of creating? Do you have any tips?

Please share with the community in the comments below!

~PK

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