Artist Suffers from Self-Doubt
I am writing to you because I feel I have no one to turn to. I have been hacked down so much that I have no self-confidence whatsoever about anything.
I have been learning how to draw furry for about 2 years now and after loosing my job in a shop last month I have had to sell my artwork to try and make ends meat (aka money).
Even one of my famous (in the furry random) friends has been trying to help me. Sadly, people only wanted my work to get cheap work of them as they would offer something up like a sketch or something like that, which cut my confidence down even more, so most of the time the people who get the work off me don't even comment as if the work is just some shit to be flushed down the loo.
I have lost all trust in my artwork, even when my husband says, "Yes, it looks good," these days I can tell he doesn't really find it good, he just doesn't want to make me upset, which hurts me even more than no one will tell me the truth.
I have always failed things in my life, been laughed at, bullied, even lost every job I have ever gotten and artwork was the only thing that used to make me happy, but of late it's just sent me deeper and deeper into depression to the point my hubby’s work scalpels are looking very inviting.
I don't know if I should just give up or carry on. I don't want to put my friends down after all the help they have given me.
Do you have any advice for a furry going down the sinkhole?
Love from Ru
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Although I am not an artist, I am an author of fiction and can empathize with an artist’s feelings of self-doubt. So, just to see what you were talking about, I found your FA page (note to readers: she asked me not to share it) and checked out your work. (By the way, you need to post there that you are taking commissions).
Since you are too close to your own work, obviously, and don’t trust your mate’s word (“you have to say you like it because you’re my mate” syndrome), here is an objective opinion. Ru, Papabear thinks your work is quite good and you have talent. I think you should continue to pursue your art, not only because you are good at it, but because you enjoy it. Furthermore, the more you draw, the better you will inevitably become.
As for furries not paying much for your art or not commenting on it enough, I have heard this complaint from many many other artists in the fandom of varying skill, so you are not alone there. Many artists get a bit ticked off if they don’t get lots of compliments. It’s really nothing personal from the furries; it is just laziness or lack of consideration, I guess, but you shouldn’t necessarily take it as a reflection of your skills.
Some of your depression, too, is from your job loss, which might be causing some feedback difficulties, by which I mean the more you suffer setbacks, the more depressed and negative you become, which then results in more setbacks because people see your negativity and self-doubt, which makes it less likely that you will be hired for other jobs.
What you obviously need is to get your self-confidence back. First, rededicate yourself to your art. You have only been at it for two years and already are quite good. Double your efforts and you will be amazing in another two years—always remembering, though, that you are doing this for the joy of drawing, not for plaudits and money. If that is your main motivation, the commissions will come because your art will command more respect.
Second, get back on the job hunt. Try to network and get job referrals from friends, relatives, and former colleagues, as this is always more effective than hunting through the want ads. Combine this with a regimen of esteem-building exercises (see http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/10-ways-to-instantly-build-self-confidence/) to boost your morale.
Your self-worth is predicated on your own viewpoint. Do not allow others to define you and what you should be. The best judge of you is you. You are a worthwhile person and a good artist, Ru. Keep forging ahead on your art!
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