6 Ways to Gain Confidence as an Artist

Confidence comes with experience. It takes many art exhibitions and public run-ins to build your confidence.

Along the way, some people will try to knock you down. Trust me, that will make you stronger and more confident than ever because you have learned.

Having confidence in your work is one thing. Being able to speak or write about it confidently might be another. Putting on a public face is yet another.

You have to do all of them. No one can do them for you. As I say again and again: No one knows your work better than you. No one believes in it more than you. No one wants you to succeed more than you. No one can promote it better than you.

If you find yourself lacking in any of these areas, work on them–immediately.

  1. Properly introduce yourself. According to Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink, you have two seconds before someone forms an opinion of you. Don’t blow it!
  2. Visualize your confidence.
  3. Improve your marketing materials. Everything from your Web site to your cover letters should scream, “I’m an artist and I’m going places!” Contact me if you need any help in this area.
  4. Practice your words. You know how critical I think they are.
  5. Dress up. A new outfit can do wonders for your esteem.
  6. Try a new hairdo. I know it probably sounds silly, but anything new
    that improves my appearance can make me feel like a million bucks.
    (Guys, this goes for you, too.)
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4 comments to 6 Ways to Gain Confidence as an Artist

  • Determination goes hand in hand with confidence. Believing in your art so much that you’re determined to ride the ups and downs reflects a distinct confidence. My response to failure (after a brief wallowing!) is to work harder. This is simply because I’m passionate about making art and can’t imagine putting my work focus anywhere else. I’d bet almost every other reader of this blog feels the same way. I have a question, though, about your comments on “bragging”. I read them and agree with them. I find it very annoying when other artists name drop, list their credentials without being asked, etc. However, I have noticed that it often works to their advantage. Any other thoughts on this?

  • I usually have compassion for “braggers” because to me bragging indicates a lack of confidence, which we all feel from time to time. It helps me to intentionally focus on other people rather than myself. Why are they here, what are they looking for and why, what do they like about my work? A thoughtful, kind person who is GENUINELY interested in others is truly attractive. And you never know what you’ll learn or how it will help you…

  • Re confidence. I received an invitation to address 1200 executive assistants at at American Management Conference in San Francisco. (in my former life!) I wrote a speech, had a session with a coach, and gave what folks told me was an awesome speech. I have never felt nervous about public speaking again. It was a real KICK! Plus, I sold $500 worth of my silk scarves to the attendees. BUT!! after all of this, I am so hesitant to brag about my work…It’s a gal thing, I guess!!

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