On today’s podcast, we talk about why artists need to be brave. So, the most successful artists out there are often the ones who have been brave and not been afraid to try new things …and they’ve just put themselves out there no matter what the outcome or reaction might be. But that’s not easy for everyone. Particularly if you’re an introvert!
So, if you find yourself to be an artist who is scared to take chances, then you have to first ask yourself what exactly is it you are scared of… and then instead of asking yourself, ‘What’s the worst that can happen?’ instead, why not ask yourself, ‘What’s the best that can happen?’
And if it does turn out to be the worst that could happen? Well, it probably isn’t that bad!
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If we don’t do things that we are scared of we will never move forward
For instance, I was really scared to try the NFT market because it all seemed so complicated. And I actually waited about 6 months before I attempted it – but now I am earning money from my art that way. I really wish I had started before because there were few artists doing it then and they were making a lot of money.
Are you scared to start a piece?
Do you waste loads of time procrastinating? Sometimes we build things up so much in our heads and we have the vision of this perfect piece of art that we are scared to start in case it doesn’t match our expectations.
For some things now, I just commit I let myself think of all the things that could go wrong.
The best that could happen is that by diving straight in, you haven’t wasted a ton of time imagining the worst and you might even be delighted with the result!
The worst that could happen, is that you don’t like the result, but you have learned from it.
Are you scared of trying a new subject?
Initially, certainly as a beginner, you might just be scared of trying a new subject, in case you can’t do it… I think this is particularly true of someone who has got really good at one particular thing, so they are afraid they’ll go back to all of the feelings they had as a beginner, when they try something new.
But the best that can happen is that you might surprise yourself – I remember when I first started, I was really scared of painting metal, or actually any reflective surface… But then I tried it and realised it wasn’t so scary after all. So I went one step further and faced my ultimate fear of painting glass… Now that’s my go to subject! It’s what I’m most known for really!
The worst that could happen is it’s harder than you’d thought, and you realise it’s going to take some practice to get there.
Are you scared to do something that could push your art forward?
Sometimes you are scared to try something new with your art for fear of:
What people might think, that’s not what they know you for.
I remember worrying about breaking away from my colourful exaggerated faces. I was scared that I was starting to get recognised for them, but I wasn’t enjoying creating them any more. This might have been more of an issue if I had been selling them but I wasn’t, but I was still worried for fear that I was just flitting and changing.
You might also be scared that the results might not be as your usual work. Well of course it probably isn’t as you are not so well practised at it
The best that could happen is that actually it is better than what you imagined it to be and people are really nice about your new stuff and want to see more.
The worst that could happen is that you get some negative feedback and you’re not liking the result either. But, remember, if you don’t like it, you don’t have to share it!
Are you scared to go to a workshop in person
Maybe you are scared to go to a workshop in person. That might be because you are a shy or introverted person, or it might be that you imagine everyone else might be better than you.
I remember the first workshop I ever went to. It was with Jean Hines who paints beautiful, loose watercolours. Well of course this really wasn’t suited to me at all, and anyone who knows my stuff will know why! But I was at the stage where I was still trying everything, to find my fit, I guess.
I did love watercolour, but the style just didn’t suit my own personality. And yes, the worst did happen. I did feel like I was the worst in the class! Whether or not I actually was, I really don’t know but it certainly felt that way at the time.
A couple of years later I went to a different workshop, this time with Mike Skidmore, who’s style is far more similar to my own. Instantly I got on really well and I was well within my comfort zone. I didn’t feel at all out of place and I really wasn’t comparing my work with anyone else’s. I was just enjoying what I was doing as well as the results I was achieving.
In fact later on I did another course with him on portraits, Which isn’t a subject I paint often, but again it seemed to fit me quite comfortably because of the style of painting.
So the first thing to make sure is that you are looking at the right workshop for you!
And once you find one that you would like to try, the best that could happen is that you feel good about your work and you don’t feel embarrassed about it at all.
The worst that could happen is that you do feel like you’re the least experienced in the class… But if that’s the case, you can pick things up from all of those other artists! Also they are really not looking at your work and judging it! They have all been at the same stage as you at one time or another. Can anyone really be that horrible that they are looking at your work and laughing?
Are you scared to speak about your art?
Now we created a whole episode 112 about being scared to talk about your art as it’s something that bothers me. But like anything it’s something that we on;y get better at the more we do it.
I actually put my name down to speak at an NFT event. I will be scared to death if they say yes but I put my name down before I gave myself the chance to talk myself out of it.
There are a lot of good things that could happen when you talk about your art. One example is that you make a sale!
That’s what happened to me when I spoke in a Twitter Space
The worst that could happen is that someone yawns and changes the subject!
Speaking of speaking, I remember the first time I was invited to be on a podcast. And if you are listening to me now, you might not believe that I was absolutely terrified! I almost said no but decided I really should say yes. And honestly, I was having a heart attack the whole way through it, but if I hadn’t done that podcast, then Tara wouldn’t have heard me on it and invited me to be on hers and so we would never have met, and KITC wouldn’t exist!
That is a classic example of the best that could happen if you say yes to something like that!
And of course every time you do something, you get more confident at it. These days I’m not remotely nervous on a podcast I just look at it as a way of meeting new people who love talking about the same things that I do.
Are you scared of rejection?
Another thing you might be scared of is rejection. And certainly if I hadn’t pushed past that and learned to accept it, then I wouldn’t have got anywhere. I do think that Artists need a thick skin, but of course it takes plenty of rejections to develop one, which isn’t much fun!
It is really hard not to take things personally, but the thing to remember about Art is it is so subjective. What one person likes another will not and what one gallery wants hanging on the wall, another won’t. What one judge thinks is a winner, another one would put to the bottom of the pile. It’s all about taste at the end of the day and everyone’s taste in art differs hugely.
SO what if the worst happens and someone says no, or they don’t like what your doing? The next person might love what you do and say a big fat yes!
Maybe you are scared to have your own exhibition
You might have the fear of rejection and that no one shows up. To combat this you could always do an exhibition with other artists to begin with.
The best thing that could happen is you make some sales! Or you’re invited to exhibit again! Or lots of people show up!
The worst that could happen is that not many people show up. In that case, just see it for what it is. Your first experience of exhibiting, which you will learn from for the next time.
Perhaps you are scared to take part in a challenge
Perhaps you are scared to take part in an art challenge because you are worried you won’t see it through. The reality of it is, it’s highly unlikely that anyone will notice apart from you!
The best thing that can happen is that you do see it through and you see a big improvement from doing it.
The worst that might happen, is that you don’t complete the challenge. But still you would have drawn more than you would have done if you hadn’t taken part at all.
The point of a challenge is not to make you feel bad if you don’t complete it. It’s about getting you to do more than you normally would. If you just manage that then that is a step forward regardless of whether you did the whole thing or not.
I always get scared when I start a challenge and often talk myself out of them because of the commitment, but I have to say that our challenge 50 Ways to Draw a Face was one of the best things I have done to move my art forward. It helped me develop the style I am creating in now.
Maybe you are too scared to contact someone who might be able to help you with your art. That could be just have a chat and get advice or to reach out to someone to license your art or similar
The best that can happen is you make a new creative friend and you learn from them.
And if you reach out by email the worst is that they don’t respond!
You might be scared to draw in a livestream!
Well, both Tara and I have done time-lapse videos of ourselves drawing before, but there is something very different about it being live.
For some reason as soon as the camera starts rolling I tend to freeze and I just can’t engage with my pencil in the same way as I would otherwise.
So inevitably, if I draw with someone hanging over my shoulder or the camera is rolling, then generally things don’t go the way they might otherwise. I think it’s just that I feel conscious and stiff.
But I guess that is something that gets easier with experience, so that’s something that Tara and I are going to be trying out over the coming year.
The best that could happen is that you have fun!
The worst that could happen is your drawing is not your best by far! But, those watching probably won’t agree!
You might be scared to teach art
You might be scared to teach – fear of not beating good enough
The best that can happen is you make some money from teaching
The worst is that you don’t!
This is something that Tara and I can definitely relate to. We both felt like that when we first started going out sketching together. But after a few sketching days, we found it easier and we even got to a point where we weren’t that bothered if people were watching.
We learned that the best that could happen is you fill lots of pages of your sketchbook and some of them are great!
The worst is that someone might look over your shoulder, or your sketches are all a bit pants. You just have to pick yourself up, brush yourself down and try again another day!
And what we found is that the sketches we thought were bad, the people looking over our shoulder thought were fantastic!
And more interestingly, sometimes we’d look back on it a few days later and actually really like it!
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This week’s creative question
Q. What art-related thing have you been scared to do, and why?
The best answers will be read out on a future podcast.
You can Tweet us your answers @KickCreatives or let us know in the Facebook Group, which by the way if you haven’t already joined, I highly recommend that you do! We will put the question up there and also on the Facebook page… and of course, on our Instagram page @kickinthecreatives.
If you have any suggestions for the podcast or our challenges please feel free to get in touch.