Recently I was talking with a friend who said she was intimidated by someone’s artistic abilities. I get it. Been there, done that, have the t-shirt. Actually, I don’t have the t-shirt but there should be one if there isn’t already. But artist envy is something I believe all creatives deal with.
The fact of the matter is that no matter what your skill level, you will always feel you can do better or that someone else is doing it better. Unless you’re completely arrogant, that is. But most people probably have artist envy to some degree or another.
So it begins…
When I was in college, I took a lot of art classes. It was my area of study. It is hard to be in art classes without feeling some sort of artist envy. Everyone in the class is at all different levels and have varying degrees of training. But it is easy to compare yourself to those around you. Their work is right in front of you, after all.
I hadn’t really dealt with this until I went to college. And, unfortunately, it has continued since.
Social media makes it soooooo much easier for creatives to compare their work to others, thus fueling artist envy. All you have to do is spend 5 minutes on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.
So what can you do?
Here is how I deal with artist envy…
I compliment other creatives. If I’m complimenting them then I’m less likely to be secretly envious of them. Complimenting puts the focus on another person and their work, rather than looking at my work and feeling as though it comes up short.
I ask questions. If I know the person then I may ask questions about how they learned a certain technique or if they have any tips for someone less experienced. I don’t ask how they do their work, as I feel that is rude and that you should find your own style, but I do ask for direction in finding my own.
I research. Many times if I find a particular style or technique that I find interesting then I will do my own research to find tips or tutorials on it.
I focus on my own progress. Many times when envy starts to creep in, I take a look at my own work and recognize how far I’ve come. You have to give yourself credit for what you’ve done also. And remember that the person you’re envying had a beginning point too.
Artist envy is part of the journey, but don’t let it downplay your work and don’t let the success of others discourage you in your work. Everyone grows at different times and at a different pace. And remember that with social media, people are often only showing you their best. Seldom do they show the oopses or the ugly things. Even the “best” artists have them.
Just do you and keep learning. Keep striving to do better.
Have you ever had artist envy? How do you deal with it? Tell me in the comments!