I have been thinking a lot lately about my creative journey.
Look at all the confidence I had.
(I mean, that might just be because I was pretty damn sure I had the least embarrassing home haircut at that particular time, but I'll take it.)
When we are little, we create with joy and abandon.
I see the same thing in my daughter now.
She regularly raids the recycling box and makes clocks, rockets, pigs, masks and musical instruments out of whatever junk she can find.
She doesn’t hesitate or second guess her design choices, and proudly shows off her work.
I’m forever buying her new pens and pencils as she wears them all out.
(It’s sensible to have a buffer, or she starts eyeing up my fineliners and gold markers)
Sofia doing crafts
I would have to say formal education, other peoples opinions and my own lack of confidence nearly killed off any desire in me to create art.
I definitely had a case of the green eyed monster too. I would look at other peoples work and think, I’ll never be that good, so why even bother.
Sofia becoming the crafts.
I remember at school I drew this funny little made up animal.
It was just a silly doodle but I really liked it.
A friend of mine had a go, and drew her own version.
It was so much better than mine. She just did it in a few minutes without any effort.
I said, wow, are you going to be an artist? She just shrugged and said, 'nah, I’m not really interested in it.'
I think that’s the thing that crushed me most. The fact that I thought her picture was so much better than mine, with so little effort, and she wasn’t even going to use that skill, it wasn’t important to her.
Now as an adult I can see that it was probably more complex than that, I don’t know what her struggles might have been.
However, I still remember that horrible envy and awe.
What I should have taken away from that moment, was that I created that creature.
No one could have come up with the idea that I did.
Me with an abandoned drawing from an old sketchbook.
These days I would persevere and finish!
I still have ‘Comparison Is The Thief Of Joy’ taped up in my cabin, to remind me not to compare myself.
Especially with everyone showing their best and most shiny efforts on social media. It can be difficult to remember, it’s just a veneer.
But if you find yourself scrolling through Instagram, and feeling smaller and less inspired because of everyone else’s amazing work. Just stop.
Remember everyone is on their own journey.
Your work will be special, because no one will be able to paint/draw/sculpt like you.
Here are a couple of my old drawings.
These were done a just a few months apart but you can clearly see the improvement on the bottom image, which became my logo.
Lack of inspiration and support at GCSE and A Level, continuous comments from everyone that you couldn’t make a living with art and my own self doubt, meant I gradually stopped showing people my work.
When I started drawing again as an adult, my husband would proudly show off my sketchbook to our friends when they came over. I wanted to crawl inside myself and die!
It was like standing there naked, waiting for judgement.
Eventually I got over it. Now I have to show my work off every day.
I think what finally brought me back to art was being at a point in my life where I just couldn’t get by without it anymore.
I had a series of crappy shop, admin and call centre jobs since leaving college which were boring at best, and soul destroying at worst.
The more I practiced art at home, the more I realised that I was improving. I was finding my own style and enjoying the process, and the results.
It took me a long time to get there, and I am still learning and improving every day.
But now, finally I feel like I can call myself an artist.
I really want to share this gift with you.
If you want to get over your fear and start creating, or just move forward as an artist, take a look at my course.
I have called it ‘Becoming An Artist’
as it’s aimed at people who want a confidence boost alongside real and practical help with technique.
I had to work out my method from scratch, but now I can take you on a guided tour of how I did it, without as many frustrating detours!
Have you struggled to keep art in your life? Tell me about it in the comments.