Finding My Voice: Entry #1 / by Dana Roberts

Overcoming Fear as a New Artist

Creating our new website was exactly the push I needed to finally put my illustrations out into the world. And while I had been hesitant to include those illustrations on this site, I was so excited and surprised by the outpouring of positive support I received from you guys. Today on our Instagram I posted something pretty amazing for me - how one of our followers actually reached out after seeing my watercolors on our site and commissioned a painting! And while this is obviously a really exciting time, I also wanted to open up about the fear that comes with sharing my new creative self.

This is the photo I took that will serve as the inspiration for my first commission! 

I started drawing last year, but only in the past month or so did I really started putting in the hours needed in order to see proper progress in my technique. There is so much I want to share about what it feels like to start a new form of creative expression, but I thought today I would talk about fear. How scary it can be to put yourself out there and how I always battle not feeling ready to share what I have been working on. I tell myself I’ll start posting about my painting process in 6 months once I’ve mastered this skill or how I will open a shop in a year once I have developed my own style, but in reality the time passes and I just find another reason that my work isn’t good enough.

When I finally put up the website the other week and my watercolors were seen by people other than Lou and my mom, it made me realize that my fears are often the greatest obstacles in my development as an artist. Fear can stop me from pursuing the things I dream of and I’m curious just how many other people struggle with the same problem?

Focus on Creation

Lou recently said something that really stuck with me... "Let's try to create more than we consume."

He was referring to a desire to make more videos than we watch online, so for every video we watch on YouTube, we also have to make at least one ourselves. But from my perspective, this idea has inspired me in a completely different direction. As a budding artist, I find it can be easy to get sucked into the YouTube world of sketchbook tours, or studio vlogs, and while it is really fun and inspiring to see what other people are doing, it often becomes a vortex that eats up hours of free time, which I desperately need to improve. So nowadays, Lou’s little phrase sits above my desk, as a reminder to focus on my own craft - how can I refine my technique, expand my voice, tune in to what I want to make instead of enjoying the work of others.

The other part of this phrase that I love so much is that there is no weight put on the quality of what we create. It’s really just about simply creating more content than we consume. I’m not sure if any of you have started up a new artistic pursuit recently or remember what it felt like when you began, but it can be really, really frustrating. I have these ideas in my head of what I want to make, but my skills aren’t capable of fully translating that vision onto the paper. But the thing is, that is okay. The actual process of learning how to express myself with a paintbrush is more rewarding than I could ever have imagined and I just need to remind myself to remain patient; and to allow my style to naturally develop in parallel with my technique. So I tell myself not to worry too much about what I am actually creating because the true beauty lies in the process of making something--in that journey--and not just in the final product.

A final note about the blog beginnings…

I’m not exactly sure how this blog will evolve, but I am so happy that I finally built a home for all my musings and have so much excitement to start sharing this series, Finding My Voice, with you. The goal of the series is to open up the inner workings of my artistic explorations as a way to inspire you to keep going, keep creating, and don’t let those negative voices in your head stop you from reaching your potential. It sounds so corny, but we really do make our own reality and whatever you dream yourself to be, you can become. It is just about finding the right path to get there and putting in the work!

I would love to hear any tips you have for developing your style as an artist or what fears you are currently trying to overcome! Maybe we can even grow our own little community of support in the comments :)