How many times have you looked at something on Instagram or Facebook and just thought, “Why do I bother?”
As an artist, it’s so easy to want to compare ourselves to other artists and feel super self conscious about our own work. I don’t think there’s an artist out there that hasn’t felt this at some point, no matter their skill level. Raise your hand if you’ve felt this at some point.
By nature, we are a very self – reflective, introverted group, including myself. There have been moments when I totally wanted to throw my phone across the room because I was so disgusted with myself and my work. Why? Because that self-reflection can easily get stuck on the negatives and become completely blind our own positives.
“People are crying up the rich and variegated plumage of the peacock, and he is himself blushing at the sight of his ugly feet.”― Sa’di
This is especially true if we spend any time at all on social media. Let’s be honest, there are so many incredible artists out there creating some truly breathtaking work. I can see a new piece from an artist that I love and just stare at it in awe…It’s so WONDERFULLY AMAZING!!
But in that moment, I have to decide how I’m going to let it effect me. Here is how I overcome self doubt and look at social media in a different way.
Shift Your Perspective
I started to make the decision, before logging on to social media, to look at things with positivity. So instead of looking at every one else’s work and comparing it to mine…I took myself out of the equation. I started looking at the work with new eyes that asked ‘Why do I like this?’
From Observation to Investigation
By asking this question I transitioned from being just an observer, to being an investigator. I became an art detective researching and investigating all the evidence of these fantastic works of art that I loved. Think of instagram, for instance, as an encyclopedia of art techniques and inspiration. Ask yourself…
- What techniques did the artist use?
- What is it about the artwork that makes it different/unique?
- Is the color palette extra special?
- How did the artist get this effect?
- What imagery or motifs are they using that I love?
How Can I Make This Work For Me?
Once I have the answers to these questions, I think about how I can replicate those techniques in my own work…IN MY OWN STYLE.
That’s the key. Everything that you learn from another artist needs to be filtered through your own artistic eye and your specific hand.
Create before you Consume
This is a great tip from Marie Forleo. You want to get your ideas down before you fall down the rabbit hole of social media.
Take your time to create work, brainstorm, write down ideas. It’s important to do this before being influenced by outside ideas, while ideas are fresh and truly your own.
You don’t want everything you create to be a direct reaction to someone else’s work. So start with your own ideas first, then go out and do your research :)
Find your optimum time for posting – Mine is between 11am – 2pm. I hope on then, create my post, maybe a story, and then spend about 15 minutes scrolling my feed, commenting, liking, engaging.
When my 15 minutes is up, I log off and move on with my day.
I know that it’s not always easy to just tell yourself to think differently about things…It’s a conscious decision that you have to make. Since doing so, my work has improved significantly, I think of my social media platforms as more of a community. I love seeing what the artists I admire are up to and make sure I take the time to engage with them. It’s so much more fun…And I no longer have the urge to throw my phone across the room :)