Give it away?

One of the things most professional artists have is confidence. In my experience that comes from creating something for a purpose or for someone (client, professor or patron) regularly. What I also find interesting is that a creative can be amazingly confident in one area and horribly insecure in another. There are numerous reasons and they will undoubtedly vary from creative to creative, so I will not even attempt to summarize them here. I couldn’t.

However, the common reason most creatives have confidence in at least one aspect of their talent is they have the repeated experience of sharing that extension of their talent(s). This was my experience as a professional designer. I was very confident about sharing various concepts, layouts, logos, products or packaging. But, when it came to my personal drawings, I was terrified of negative feedback. Which as a professional designer for thirty years I can tell you I have received my share, some of it constructive the majority not so much. I could get in the weeds regarding my personal story, but this post intends to build you the reader up, so instead, I will say it came down to sharing. I was not sharing my personal artwork even close to the level I shared my professional artwork.

So, I published a website with weekly comics for several years, and that helped. I went to conventions and sketched in front of people and probably committed the most egregious of commercial art crimes, I gave those sketches away. A couple of things about human nature that will not be news to anyone reading this, people like free stuff. Even if they don’t need it or want it. I didn’t realize that this act of my low self-esteem at cons was going to help with anything. Truthfully, I was hoping that because a fellow person created the sketch by hand, the recipient would be less likely to toss the card in the trash. Which I thought, in turn, would translate into them every now and then checking my website out to see what was new. I have no empirical data to support whether or not that happened or how much it might have. But, it did give me a ton of confidence.

I began to draw cards for my wife and daughter. I started to sketch cards for my co-workers of their favorite characters from pop culture for birthdays. I gave them away. Now I like to give. So, giving these cards was a very personal way for me to show I cared. It is one of the ways I show love for a person. I draw them a card. It also was great practice. Paper, pencil, inks, and markers. No do-overs. My confidence grew.

I encourage you to consider the same act of sharing whatever it is you do. Just put it out there in whatever way it makes sense. If you think about it, you’ll know what to do.

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