Every now and again, I like to include a little encouragement for artists among all the other posts I write. Why? Because I am so often in need of it myself, and if I need it, I know you may need it too.
I didn’t plan to talk about encouragement today. No. I had a totally different post ready to proofread and schedule.
But before doing that, I made one decision that changed everything. I decided to check my emails. One email in particular derailed plans for that fully written, almost ready-to-go post and inspired this one.
(How many times have your well-lain plans been derailed like that? Probably more often than you can count!)
Words of Encouragement for Artists
The email that inspired this post came from an on-line colored pencil course student. I hadn’t heard from her in a while and had written to check in.
She replied that she hadn’t done anything with her project because she was filled with self-doubt. She also said she needed a push to get started. This wasn’t her first course with me, so I knew she could do marvelous work.
But I know all about the self-doubt thing. I’ve wrestled with it most of my artist life.
But we’re not alone, my student and I. Many creative people experience self-doubt.
It doesn’t really matter whether or not you have self-doubt (because we all do.) What matters is what you do with it. Just don’t let it keep you from being creative.
Work through it.
Dare it to keep you down if you have to.
Just don’t give into it!
You Don’t Have to be Drawing to be Creative
My student also told me a few other things she’d been doing and her list of activities is amazing. Quilting. Working in watercolor and mixed media. I know she’s been setting up and photographing subjects for a still life so it’s not like she’s been idle creatively.
Quite the contrary.
She’s been very creative. More than that, she’s been remarkably productive. Twelve quilts in twelve months? Amazing!
And that leads to my second point of encouragement for artists.
You don’t have to be making art to be creative.
Quilting is creative. Photography is creative. Writing blog posts is creative (finger pointing straight at myself!)
Time for a Confession
I haven’t drawn a stroke in several weeks. It seems like a day doesn’t pass that I berate myself for that omission. I am an artist after all. Artists make art.
But you know what? This conversation with my student reminded me of all the things I have been doing.
- Writing blog posts for December’s Q & A
- Drafting freelance articles
- Writing, designing, and publishing tutorials (one every two weeks for the last six weeks!)
- Putting together weekly newsletters
That’s only a partial list, but I’m sure you get the point. You’re probably more clever than I am. I had to go through a lot longer list to realize that I am being creative every day. I’m just not making art!
Here’s the Encouragement for Artists (That Means You!)
Yes, it may feel like you’re not being faithful to your calling as an artist when you’re not making art.
But if you’re doing something creative, you are fulfilling your calling to be creative.
Whatever you may be doing—writing, quilting, sewing, gardening, cooking, whatever—it is creative in some way. Every creative endeavor fuels other creative endeavors. Sooner or later, that spills over into art in some way.
So my word of encourage to you is to go easy on yourself. Embrace the ways you are creative and your art will thank you.
And who knows how much those other creative activities are fueling your artwork?