Over the weekend I stumbled across this video of an artist inking a drawing. She’s a great artist– if you’re interested, you should check her out. One thing that really caught my attention in her video though, beyond her skill with a pen, is what she says about believing in herself.
“The biggest thing that makes a difference when you are making a drawing is not your technique, or how much practice you’ve had, or how long you’ve been doing it, it’s really just having the confidence of knowing you can pull it off.”
She says that if she doesn’t believe in herself before she begins a piece, she won’t be successful at it. Now, she’s an experienced, talented illustrator, and yet it is this confidence thing that she still works with to have her work turn out well.
That stuck with me. In my design and development work, I’ve always had a blind trust in the outcome of what I’m working on. That doesn’t mean I don’t go in the wrong direction first. In fact, I tend to go in many wrong directions first. But I work, and I rework, and I overwork, and it usually takes me waaaaaay longer than I expect, but I know that’s all part of the process. I just keep going until I can step back and say I’m done.
But when it comes to personal creative projects, I’m finding confidence a bit harder to come by. Part of this is that my non-web skill set is out of practice and far less refined. And part of it is not having the accountability that comes from client work. But I think another part is that I’m not putting into practice the mental cheerleading (I’m stealing that phrase from the artist’s video) that has worked for me in other parts of my life.
There’s something about telling yourself you can do it that helps you focus on what’s in front of you and stop worrying about the end results. It helps you push through and not overthink the messy, uncertain, uncomfortable parts of creating so you can sit at your desk until the work is done.
So that was my challenge for myself today with this odd little sketch. I believed I could do it, I cheered myself along, and I did it. And, while it is far from perfect, it is sort of what I had in my head. And now that I’m done, I have that sense of creative satisfaction that comes from making something out of nothing.
This is the woman who makes the wind. She must really be confident to pull that off. I hope she inspires you to cheer yourself along today, whatever you are working on.