Conquering Artistic Self-Doubt: Tips from Artists
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 10 min read


  1. Acknowledge your feelings
  2. Set realistic expectations
  3. Find inspiration in failure
  4. Create without judgment
  5. Adopt a growth mindset
  6. Focus on progress, not perfection
  7. Seek support from other artists
  8. Celebrate small victories
  9. Practice art daily
  10. Remember why art matters

Every artist, regardless of how accomplished or talented, has grappled with the specter of self-doubt. This emotional hurdle can feel like a roadblock, dampening your creative spirit and casting a shadow over your artistic expression. In this blog, "Conquering Artistic Self-Doubt: Tips from Artists," we'll share some strategies that successful artists use to face and triumph over this common challenge. We'll explore how they nurture their creativity, even when coping with artistic self-doubt.

Acknowledge your feelings

Art is deeply personal, and it's natural to feel vulnerable when you're sharing your work with the world. Doubts may creep in, whispering that you're not good enough or your art doesn't measure up. But here's the thing—you're not alone. Even luminaries like Picasso and Van Gogh faced similar struggles.

Recognizing these feelings of self-doubt is the first step towards managing them. A few ways to do this are:

  • Journaling: Write about your feelings. This can be a cathartic experience and help you understand your emotions better.
  • Meditation: This practice can help you calm your mind, understand your feelings, and gain a fresh perspective.
  • Self-talk: Encourage yourself as you would a dear friend. Positive self-talk can help you counter those negative thoughts.

Harnessing these tools can help you navigate the choppy waters of self-doubt. Remember, acknowledging your feelings is an act of bravery—it's not about eliminating self-doubt but learning to create art despite it. With practice and time, you'll find yourself better equipped to cope with artistic self-doubt and continue to express your unique voice through your art.

Set realistic expectations

Creating art is a journey, not a destination. It's easy to get caught up in the dream of producing a masterpiece with every attempt. But let's face it, even Monet didn't paint a lily pond masterpiece every day. It's important to set realistic expectations for your work and your growth as an artist. Here are a few ways to keep your expectations in check:

  • Set attainable goals: Instead of aiming to paint the perfect portrait right off the bat, why not start by mastering one aspect at a time, like getting the eyes just right? Small, achievable goals can help you see progress and keep self-doubt at bay.
  • Understand that art takes time: Art isn't fast food. It doesn't come hot and ready in five minutes. It takes time, patience, and lots of practice. Don't rush the process; savor it.
  • Don't compare your work to others': Your art is your own. It's a reflection of you, not someone else. Comparing your work to others can only breed self-doubt. Focus on your journey and your progress.

Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither is artistic skill. By setting realistic expectations, you can better manage your artistic self-doubt and enjoy the process of creating. So, the next time you find yourself wrestling with self-doubt, step back, breathe, and remind yourself that you're on your own unique artistic journey.

Find inspiration in failure

Failure is often seen as a big, scary monster lurking in the shadows, ready to pounce at the slightest misstep. But what if we told you that failure is actually a friendly guide, leading you towards growth and improvement? It's all about perspective. When we stop viewing failure as the enemy and start seeing it as a source of inspiration, our relationship with artistic self-doubt changes dramatically.

  • Embrace mistakes: When things don't go as planned in your artwork, don't fret. Instead, see it as a chance to experiment, to try something new. Who knows, the "mistake" might even turn into an unexpected masterpiece!
  • Learn from failure: Every misstep is an opportunity to learn. Failed attempts reveal what doesn't work and guide you towards techniques that might. Celebrate these lessons because they are the stepping stones to your success.
  • Turn failure into motivation: Instead of allowing failure to ignite self-doubt, use it as fuel to push harder, to practice more, and to improve your skills. Let it motivate you to become a better artist.

Remember, the greatest artists didn't avoid failure; they embraced it. Van Gogh once said, "I am always doing what I can't do yet, in order to learn how to do it." So, the next time you stumble, don't let it feed your self-doubt. Instead, use it as a springboard to soar higher in your artistic journey.

Create without judgment

Art is a form of self-expression, a way to pour your thoughts, feelings, and experiences onto a canvas, or mold it into a sculpture. It's a personal journey, unique to every individual. The moment we start judging our creations, we impose barriers on that personal journey, and that's where artistic self-doubt starts creeping in.

  • Let go of comparisons: Your art is a reflection of you, not anyone else. When you compare your work with others, you're comparing apples to oranges. Each artist has a unique style and perspective. Embrace yours.
  • Respect your process: Do you like to sketch before you paint? Or do you prefer diving right in? Whatever your process might be, respect it. There's no right or wrong way to create art. It's your journey; you make the rules.
  • Enjoy the process: The joy of creating art lies in the process, not just the end result. Find pleasure in every brushstroke, every piece of clay molded, every photograph clicked. Art is about expressing, experimenting, and enjoying, not just producing a final product.

Remember, art isn't about perfection; it's about expression. The moment you start creating without judgment, you'll notice a significant reduction in artistic self-doubt. And who knows, you might even discover an artistic side of you that you never knew existed! So, pick up that brush, mold that clay, or point that camera and just start creating—without judgment.

Adopt a growth mindset

Artistic self-doubt can often stem from a fixed mindset, the belief that your abilities are set in stone. However, to truly flourish as an artist, it's important to adopt a growth mindset.

  • Embrace challenges: Every piece of art you create is an opportunity for growth. Challenges are not roadblocks, but stepping stones towards improvement. So, don't shy away from complex projects. They are your best teachers.
  • See effort as a pathway to mastery: The road to artistic mastery is paved with effort and dedication. Every hour you spend honing your skills brings you one step closer to becoming the artist you aspire to be.
  • Learn from criticism: Criticism, when constructive, can be a gold mine of insights. It can help you identify areas of improvement and develop strategies to enhance your work. Instead of viewing criticism as a personal attack, perceive it as valuable feedback.

Adopting a growth mindset empowers you to view artistic challenges as opportunities for growth. It's a powerful tool for coping with artistic self-doubt as it shifts your focus from fearing failure to embracing learning. So, next time you pick up your paintbrush or sit down at your pottery wheel, remember: you're not just creating art, you're also growing as an artist.

Focus on progress, not perfection

Perfectionism can be a heavy burden, especially in the realm of art. It's essential to remind yourself that art isn't about creating a perfect piece every time. Rather, it's about expressing yourself, experimenting, and making progress.

  • Reframe your thinking: When you're in the throes of creating, it's easy to get caught up in the pursuit of perfection. However, try to reframe your thinking. Instead of aiming for a masterpiece, aim for progress. Every stroke you make, every note you hit, is a step forward in your artistic journey.
  • Accept imperfections: Perfection is an illusion. Even the most celebrated artists have flaws in their work. What makes their work remarkable is not the absence of flaws, but their unique perspective and interpretation. Embrace your imperfections—they add character to your art and make it authentically yours.
  • Document your progress: Keep a record of your work. This can be particularly motivating on days when you're wrestling with self-doubt. Looking back at your older work can give you a tangible sense of how far you've come. It's an excellent reminder that the value lies in the journey, not just the destination.

By focusing on progress rather than perfection, you can free yourself from the shackles of unrealistic standards. Remember, every piece of art you create brings you one step closer to the artist you aspire to be. So, the next time you're grappling with artistic self-doubt, remind yourself that it's all part of the process. After all, art is about growth—each day, each stroke, each note, brings something new.

Seek support from other artists

Art, while a deeply personal endeavor, doesn't have to be a solitary one. Connecting with fellow artists can provide a sense of community, validation, and support that's invaluable in coping with artistic self-doubt.

  • Share your work: Letting others see your work can be terrifying, but it's also liberating. It opens up opportunities for feedback, suggestions, and praise—all of which can bolster your confidence and motivate you to keep creating.
  • Learn from others: Every artist brings something unique to the table. By observing their techniques, methods, and styles, you can gain fresh insights and inspiration for your own art. You might even pick up some handy tips and tricks along the way!
  • Find your tribe: Whether it's an online forum, a local art club, or a weekly painting class, find a space where you can connect with other artists. It's comforting to know you're not alone in your struggles, and that others too are navigating the complexities of artistic self-doubt.

Remember, seeking support from other artists isn't a sign of weakness—it's a testament to your commitment to growth, learning, and community-building. So, don't hesitate to reach out, share, and connect. You'll likely find that the art world is full of individuals who understand your journey and are more than willing to lend a listening ear or a word of encouragement.

Celebrate small victories

Artistic self-doubt can sometimes cloud our perception and make us overlook the progress we've made. That's why it's so important to celebrate small victories. These seemingly minor accomplishments are stepping stones on your journey, and they deserve recognition.

  • Finished a sketch: You might not have painted a masterpiece, but you've completed a sketch. That's progress! Give yourself a pat on the back for sticking with it and seeing it through to the end.
  • Experimented with a new technique: It takes courage to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. Celebrate the fact that you've broadened your artistic horizons and learned something in the process.
  • Received positive feedback: Did someone compliment your work? That's a victory worth celebrating. It's a tangible affirmation that your art resonates with others—even when you're struggling with self-doubt.

Remember, every step forward, no matter how small, is bringing you closer to becoming the artist you aspire to be. So, don't discount these victories. Instead, celebrate them. They are testament to your persistence, your passion, and your potential. And they're all part of the process of coping with artistic self-doubt.

Practice Art Daily

Mastering art, like anything else, requires practice. Regular dedication to your craft can help you build your skills, find your unique style, and most importantly, keep artistic self-doubt at bay. It's no secret, the more you engage with your craft, the more familiar and confident you become with it.

  • Consistency is key: Even if it's just for fifteen minutes a day, make a commitment to create. This simple act can turn into a habit, and before you know it, you'll find yourself looking forward to these dedicated moments.
  • Explore different mediums: Don't limit yourself to just one form of art. Trying out different mediums can break up monotony and inject a sense of excitement into your daily practice. Plus, you never know—you might discover a new passion!
  • Embrace the process: Art isn't just about the end result. It's about the journey of creating. So, treasure the process. Each stroke, each line, each color you mix—these are all integral parts of your artistic journey and can help you in coping with artistic self-doubt.

Remember, the goal isn't to create a masterpiece every day. It's to engage with your craft, to learn, and to grow as an artist. So, pick up that brush, that pen, that chisel—whatever your tool of choice may be—and create. Because every day you practice is another day you're strengthening your art and silencing the self-doubt.

Remember Why Art Matters

Artistic self-doubt often stems from forgetting the fundamental importance of art. We live in a world where success is often measured by numbers, and it's easy to feel disheartened when your art doesn't adhere to these parameters. But here's a gentle reminder: Art is not about numbers, it's about expression.

  • Art as self-expression: Art is a language of its own—a visual diary that reflects your inner world. It's a platform where you can voice your thoughts, feelings, and ideas without uttering a single word. Remember, each piece you create is a testament to your unique perspective and a contribution to the world's diverse artistic canvas.
  • Art as a healing tool: The process of creating art can be therapeutic. It's a safe space where you can channel your emotions, cope with stress, and even navigate complex feelings. In fact, many artists find that their best work stems from periods of emotional turmoil. So, when you're dealing with artistic self-doubt, remember that your art is also a tool for self-care and healing.
  • Art inspires: Art has the power to move people, to spark conversations, and to inspire change. Your work could be the reason someone smiles today, the reason they feel understood, or the reason they see the world in a new light. So, remember, your art matters—more than you might realize.

When you're grappling with artistic self-doubt, take a step back and remind yourself of why art matters. Why it matters to you, why it matters to others, and why it matters to the world. Therein lies the fuel to keep creating, irrespective of self-doubt.

If you found the tips in this blog post about conquering artistic self-doubt helpful, you'll definitely benefit from the workshop 'Staying Resilient Through Rejection' by Carlos Neto. This workshop will provide you with even more insights and strategies to stay resilient and overcome self-doubt in your artistic journey.