Never Give Up

Being creative is not a linear journey. There will be times when you will be on top of your game and bursting with ideas and times when you wonder if this “art thing” is even really for you. Artists at any stage in their skill level or career have moments where they want to just throw the brushes out with the paint water. It’s in those moments that you have to look at the core of why you’re creating and fight the demons urging you to quit in a few simple ways.

Simplify. Simplify. Simplify.
A common reason artists want to quit art, especially early on is that they are trying too many mediums and feeling like they aren’t succeeding at any of them. There’s nothing wrong with trying different mediums to see which one you like best, but for some, this will just cause you to feel more overwhelmed.  If you still don’t want to limit yourself to just one, pick the top 2 or 3 that have been resonating with you and stick with those. By focusing on less, you will narrow your focus and be able to make a steady progression forward.

Don’t Make Destructive Comparisons
We’ve all been jealous of another artist’s work, but this can be a harmful emotion if it leads you to give up something that should bring you joy. It goes without saying that everyone is different, so why put so much pressure on yourself to be at the level of someone who might have twice the amount of experience as you do? At the end of the day, there’s no overarching art council out there that are judging you. You only harm yourself and your progress forward when you make unhealthy comparisons with your work. Instead, try to find a way to set goals that are realistic for you. If you can find a way to turn your jealousy into inspiration, you and your art will be better for it in the end.

Give Yourself a Break
You wouldn’t wake up tomorrow and expect to be an Olympic level athlete when you’ve never trained for it, so why would you expect to be an accomplished artist when you’ve only just begun a new medium? Even if you aren’t a beginner, so what? We are all our own worst critics so keep that in mind when you are setting the bar so high for yourself even birds would turn away.  Maybe giving yourself a break means actually taking a break from art. The key here is a break that is temporary not quitting altogether. Sometimes taking some time away from something can remind you of why you loved it in the first place. Don’t be afraid to take that time to reconnect to your passion for art.

Lastly, remember that no matter how you are feeling, that you are not alone. Everyone has moments of struggle and feeling discouraged about where they are at with their work. If art is something that truly brings you joy inside, don’t give up. This period of self-doubt will eventually pass with courage and time. You may even find yourself one day having the career of your dreams.

Barb Sotiropoulos

Barb Sotiropoulos

I’m a Canadian artist and designer specializing in coloured pencil and mixed media. When I’m not creating art, I love helping other artists by sharing tips and tricks that have helped me. You can find me on all of my social channels @barbsotiart or check out my past Q&A articles for COLORED PENCIL Magazine or my co-hosting appearances on the Sharpened Artist Colored Pencil Podcast.

4 Responses

  1. This all applies to writing as well. I’ve learned (mostly) to rein in my desire to write EVERYTHING (articles, web content, stories, novels, non-fiction) to focus on fiction. I still compare myself to others (so hard not to do, but I’m getting better at it). And any time away from the keyboard does leave me recharged to get going again!!

    1. That’s awesome Tammie! I totally think this is a problem for a lot if creatives not matter what type of “art” you are creating. So much of yourself and your passion goes into it, it’s hard not have those feelings I think. One thing I should have also included in the article was building a community of other creative you trust as a support system. That can work wonders too for growth and confidence.

      1. I think everyone does. I mean our world isn’t really designed to promote in person socializing anymore. Of course there are online/social ways but I often find the way people type can be misconstrued if they aren’t proficient with their tine and word choices so I can see why that can be an obstacle too.

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Hey, I'm Barb!

I’m a Canadian artist and designer specializing in coloured pencil and mixed media. When I’m not creating art, I love helping other artists by sharing tips and tricks that have helped me. You can find me on all of my social channels @barbsotiart or check out my past Q&A articles for COLORED PENCIL Magazine or my co-hosting appearances on the Sharpened Artist Colored Pencil Podcast.

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