Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Create || Top Tips For Not Comparing Your Art To Others

A good friend and fellow artist since said to me that 'comparison is a thief of joy' and she is absolutely right! As hard as I try to just appreciate other peoples talents without comparing them to my own, I do find it pretty hard to fight those feelings inside. If it's something I'm not into or something I've never done, like resin work or glass blowing, I can appreciate the skill and talent, I'm in awe, but there is no comparison there. However, when it's another graphic designer, someone who paints, draws or anything else that I technically can do, I get hit with a huge gut punch of shitness, as I compare my shoddy work to theirs, amidst thoughts like wishing I'd thought of that first. As an onlooker, I'd say to another artist that all art is different and all talent is different and appreciated in different ways, but when it comes to myself I can't help but do the compare thing and make myself feel a bit rubbish. This is something we all experience to some extent, but it can improve and we can learn from it. These feelings can also lead to improving our own work or trying new things, so whatever pang of negative feelings arise, it's important to ask ourselves why we feel like that and think about what we can change.

The thing is though, that as much as I just try and avoid other peoples work, it's in my face daily, on social media mainly, but also in local shops, hanging in the local shopping centre and on every site or magazine I look at, it's just totally unavoidable to see other, better (in my opinion) art from other people. I need to work on my reactions to things like this but it is definitely not easy! Comparing myself and my creations to other people does no good and actually takes away my own joy from doing the thing I love most - creating art.

So, what can we do to stop ourselves comparing our art to others? 

Here's a few things I'm trying to do in order to appreciate the work of others, and leaving it there, without bringing my own feelings into it or doing myself a disservice by insulting my own abilities.

Avoid avoid avoid

Not the best technique, but by reducing the likely hood of seeing other artwork, you're less likely to get these feelings. So as nice as it is to support other artists, if it's not the right time of you to scroll through reams of endless wonderful artwork, then don't look at it, don't follow those accounts and stop searching for things that will no doubt make you feel worse. Long term though, this isn't a healthy solution as it's really just an avoidance tactic, so it's much better to work on ways to deal with these feelings instead of avoiding them. Sometimes though, you're just in a bad mood or having an artistic slump, so at these times it's good to avoid other art or look back on famous artists for inspiration or to see that actually even some of the most famous artists works aren't technically that great! 

If you're going to compare, compare you early artwork to you newer pieces

Instead of comparing your work to other peoples which will mostly only bring negative feeling, look back at your first at works, what you were working on a year ago, your first digital design, early paintings etc to see how far you've come. This is a healthy comparison as you can see your improvements, re-live your artistic journey and also maybe even see if you've lost your way a bit or need to go back to basics, to a time when you felt inspired or remind yourself of the reason you started.

Remember art is unique, as are you

Cheese balls I know, but we are all different, we are all unique, and all our art is truly unique. Listen to people when they praise your talent and know that your work will be loved, not by everyone, because everyone has different tastes, but it's unique and special and a one of a kind!

Learn from the negative experiences with comparisons

When you do scroll through your socials and see some work that stops you in your tracks, don't just scroll by in anger, but take the time to learn from it. Ask yourself why it's so good, why you are comparing it, if it's even similar or something you would enjoy doing? Think about what you like about it, if there's anything you can incorporate into your own work or new techniques to study. Don't just focus on the bad, those feelings happen for a reason, so instead of just absorbing the self hate, think about why and how you can learn from what you are seeing.

Do art for the right reasons

I think it's important to remember why we create art to begin with. We may do it because we simply enjoy it, we need to let out our emotions or simply that we need to make money. Whatever the reason, we need to think about the why, and how we can grow this into something special that truly reflects us as artists. If we are just creating for money or some other reason, it may be time to re-evaluate what we do, so that we feel so much joy in what we're doing, we don't care about anybody else.