Hi everyone welcome back to another week on the Christine Murphy designs blog. This week I‘d like to talk about how to build your confidence as an artist. When I think about successful artists (you can apply your own definition of success here) and artists who are less successful, the difference between the two can be partially attributed to confidence.
Successful artists are confident in their abilities, they are confident in their brand and they are confident in their vision for the future. Confidence is not something that you can just magically attain, it’s not something that you wish to have, and then it just happens. Confidence has to be built. Guess what? It just so happens that my day job is in the building industry… so I know a thing or two about building things.
Before you physically begin building you meet with lots of people to design what you want to construct and by the end of it you have a building design. You begin to see what your building is going to look like. And building confidence is no different, you need to work on a design.
Imagine yourself as an established confident artist, you’ve been operating successfully for a while now. Try to picture what this would look like in detail. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you form your design.
- What does confidence look like to me?
- When I imagine myself as a confident artist, what am I doing every day?
- What sort of things do I think about as a confident artist?
- What does my morning routine look like as a confident artist?
- How do I dress as a confident artist?
- Now that I’m a confident artist, what does my network look like?
- What does my workspace look like?
- What am I doing on my weekends and in my spare time now that I’m a confident artist?
- What does the work I’m producing look like as a confident artist?
Your answers to these questions, are what will form your design.
Now that you have a design, it’s time to get a permit. This is where someone else casts their eyes over your plans. They’re looking intensely at your proposal, taking every aspect into consideration before making a decision to issue a permit. Your girlfriends are a bit like that. They want the best for you, and they will cast a cautious eye over your plans. They will tell you where they see weaknesses and strengths in your plan, and they’ll encourage you. They won’t let you go ahead until everything looks ok.
There’s a verse in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 that says, “  Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.  If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. …”.
So let them know what your working towards, share with them your vision for yourself. When you share your plans to build your confidence with your girlfriends, they will support you and help you succeed.
Now that you have a permit, it’s time to begin constructing. The first thing you do when you build is work on your foundation. You can drop some footings or lay a slab, but either way you’re establishing the foundation of what your building.
When you build confidence, your foundation is going to be your principles. Your principles will become the cornerstone for how you roll as an artist. Your principles define how you operate every day, they are the things that underpin everything you do, they are foundational. Below are the principles I believe every artist should have (at a minimum). They may sound small, but when you really dig in, they are big:
Undertake Deliberate Practice.
Simple hey? They don’t need to be complicated, foundations are the basework for what you’re building on. Now that they’re established, it’s time to build! This is the labour intensive part of building, it’s where the blood, sweat and tears are. You build upon your principles by putting them into action every single day. You do this on the days you feel like it, and the days you don’t. You show up to build every day.
This is how I would recommend building on the principles I suggested above.
To put being social into action, I would l search for, and join Facebook groups or blogs about my form of art. I would begin commenting on posts and I’d start talking to other artists in the groups. I would be social every day. If you begin doing this, over time you learn things, you see how other artists are doing things. As you learn new techniques, you start to build up a store of knowledge, and knowledge is powerful… because it builds confidence.
And I would find a local art group in my community and I would join it. It’s like that saying, “it takes a village to raise a child.” Well, when you surround yourself with people who have a passion for the same thing you do, they grow you. You don’t even realise it’s happening, because when you become part of a community, your focus is off yourself. Instead you’re focusing on what the group wants to achieve, and one day, you look back at what you’ve done and you realise how far you’ve come. The village has raised you! This is confidence building big time.
Reading is simple too. I’d be searching for how-to/self help/instructional sort of books or biographies to read. These types of books show you the ways other people are living or the techniques other people are using. It’s that knowledge factor again, as you begin to widen your scope of ways to do things, your confidence grows.
And lastly, Deliberate Practice. I first heard this term a few years ago. It’s by a guy named Seanwes, who is a very successful hand lettering artist. Seanwes says, “Practice is good, but purposeful practice is better. Practicing deliberately is what will produce tangible results rather than mere passive improvement.” Practice that has a purpose…. I love this concept. This is the sort of practice that will build confidence. If you want to learn more about what Seanwes has to say about deliberate practice, you can head to his webpage here, or listen to his podcast about it here.
If you put these principles into practice, if you build upon them as I’ve suggested above and you put in the blood, sweat and tears, you are going to be more confident as an artist compared to when you first began. And just like a home that’s freshly built, it’s a really nice place to be. You’re proud of what you’ve built, you enjoy it and the best bit of all is, you’re excited to invite others into it.
Someone who has little confidence isn’t too keen on inviting others in, but someone who has great confidence is eager to invite others in because they have a sense of accomplishment. Your confidence will only be visible to others when you have a sense of accomplishment about what you set out to achieve. As you journey along, try ticking off some little milestones. As you do, your sense of accomplishment will increase and confidence will begin to show.
If you’d like to feel more confident about your art, I pray you’re encouraged to begin building. As Rob Schneider said in the Waterboy, “you can do it!” This might be one of those posts that a friend really needs to hear, maybe as you’ve been reading it someone has come to mind. If so, can I encourage you to share it. There’s a tonne of sharing buttons just below this post, use any one of them that will help you get this post into the hands of those who need it.
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Until next week, connect with the Creator, let Him inspire you. His magnificence and beauty is everywhere, even in art and craft.