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089: Your Illustration Journey: From Doubt to Delight and Accomplishment
"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep."
- Scott Adams
Are you feeling like your work isn’t ‘good enough’? Do you find yourself comparing your illustrations to others and feeling down about it?
Let’s talk through that.
I once spent over 80 hours on a piece and in the end I felt… 'meh'.
I was disappointed in many of the creative decisions I made and felt like all that time and effort had gone to waste. But then I realized that this was an important moment for me. I was able to examine my criteria for what makes a piece "good" and start making different choices about my creative process.
Disappointment is a natural part of the creative process. And we’re not always be satisfied with our work. But we can use these moments as opportunities for growth and reflection. By doing so, we can continue to develop our skills and find new excitement and pride in our work.
Think back to when you were just starting out on your illustration journey. You were probably full of excitement and eagerness to create something new and unique. You may have even been proud of your first sketches and drawings, even if they weren't perfect.
Now, imagine looking at your current work through the eyes of that younger, less critical version of yourself. What would they have though about the progress you've made and the skills you've developed?
When you were younger, you might have dreamt of the skills and abilities you have now, and little you would be so proud of big you. Proud that you put in the time and worked on it, proud that you are honoring the dreams and ambitions of little you. Really allow yourself to feel that pride, and appreciate your work from the perspective of 'little you'. The pure awe that little you has for seeing something they would like to do someday.
Another way to find pride and excitement in your work is to share it with others. Showcasing your work and receiving feedback can help you see it from different perspectives and identify areas for improvement.
And when you do identify areas for improvement, approach them with a growth mindset. Take on the mindset of little you again, and think about how you would make it better and more "you". You're now a new version of little you, and you're going to do something amazing next time.
Focus on the progress and growth you've made as an illustrator, rather than comparing yourself to others, you can find a new appreciation for your work. You can take pride in the effort you've put into closing the gap between your taste and ability and in the unique perspectives and styles that make your work stand out.
So, embrace the disappointment and use it as fuel for growth and improvement. Celebrate your progress, appreciate your work, and keep creating!
I wrote this for the, the international group of creatives that I lean on for support and creative feedback. It’s a small group, but we keep a shared newsletter to share the nuggets and gems that we uncover as we journey together. This month a number of us wrote our take for the question: “How do you feel good as an artist?” - Visit the to read it!