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Stop Saying this to Yourself
A moment of inspiration. A few swift strokes for a sketch. Detailing the final piece. You’re satisfied and feeling confident – you’ve created something you’re excited to share!
But after you take a photo, and go to hit “publish” or “post”, you spot something on Instagram or Pinterest that looks so much better.
“Ugh. Why do I even try?”
“I will never be as good as them.”
“That’s what I was TRYING to create! Theirs looks so much better.”
All that hard work and you don’t even know if you like it anymore! Well, cheer up, Buttercup, because those days of comparison are about to pack it up and get on the first train outta your headspace!
Kick “Should” to the Curb
First, you have to clear your mind of any thoughts that say what you “should be” or how what you create “should look”. There are no “shoulds” in art and especially not in doodling. It’s yours. It’s your expression.
You can take classes to improve your skill and method, but don’t let that be your excuse for not taking action and creating today, tomorrow, and each day after that.
You don’t need to wait until you have all the fancy supplies you’ve been ogling over on Instagram. These are great, but as I like to remind myself: “Tools not a craftsman make.”
Keep a Paper Trail
One of the ways I’m able to keep my head clear of comparison-itis is to create something every day. Yep, every single day. Why? Because when you can make creating a habit, you have the benefit of looking back and reflecting on how far you’ve come.
There is nothing more encouraging than seeing improvement in your own work! But you can’t do that unless you’re creating and have a trail to look back on.
Possibilities are Endless when you Trust Your Creativity
To explain just how powerful creating daily can be, I reached out to Chelsea, one of the first artists who jumped on board the Doodle Days Challenge. When she contacted me to share that she’d self-published her own coloring book, I knew I had to ask more!
Chelsea is an artist, hand-letter, a wife, and mama that creates gorgeous scenes and letters using a wide variety of pens and media. She explained that she hesitated to join the Doodle Days Challenge at first because she was afraid of being vulnerable. Past experiences made her feel like sharing something less than what she felt was her “best” would be scary. She also didn’t have a public Instagram account and needed the extra “push” to put her stuff out there.
Then, a secret sister gift exchange at church left her with a very broad gift idea for her recipient: “Crafts and Coloring Books”. Not sure where to begin, she started scouring Amazon for Biblical coloring books and there wasn’t much to pick from for what she was specifically looking for. After browsing through, the lightbulb went off. She thought to herself, “I could do this”.
Sharing is Part of the Process
Since sharing is part of the challenge and experience, she faced it head on. She loved that the challenge asked her to change her account from private to public so we could see her doodles and cheer her on! (A great alternative for this is creating a separate public account just for your doodles.)
Challenge myself to just embrace my style and stop being so critical of it? I’m in!
For Chelsea, she realized there are many other artists and creatives on the same path and at the same skill level as her. Utilizing hashtags on Instagram also helped her find her tribe quickly. Her confidence soared and she was ready to take action!
No matter where you are at in your art journey, look around, there are always other people who are on the same path at the same time – reach out to them! Community is a great motivator.
Don’t let Tech be a Hangup!
There were some tech obstacles to overcome once Chelsea made the decision to self-publish her coloring book, but she didn’t let them stop her:
I had an iPad and a printer. So, yes, some big obstacles. While I can easily scan things in and create images on the iPad, the quality wasn’t high enough. Ultimately, not all websites work well on the iPad, especially if you need Flash.
So I turned to my mother-in-law’s computer while we were at her house. I was able to download the word template that CreateSpace provides. It was so simple to upload and add all my images there.
If you have the right equipment, then yes, super easy to create the PDF and upload. They even have a checker on the website when you submit the PDF for review that lets you see any potential issues. Super helpful. But if you are like me and are stuck with an iPad only, then you may have some hoops to jump through.
Chelsea’s tips for breaking through creative blocks:
- If you get stuck, walk away. It will work out later when you can see it with fresh eyes.
- Don’t give up and don’t let technology get in the way. Ask questions.
- There is more than one option for publishing, so check and see what works for you.
- Don’t envy what everyone else can do, embrace your unique style and voice.
- God gave you a unique talent – use it!
Chelsea’s Favorite Tools for Doodling:
- Pen and Ink Dip Pens (see The Postman’s Knock for modern calligraphy tutorials!)
- Noodlers Creaper Flex Pens for calligraphy, too!
- Microns (I like the 6-packs!*)
- Staedtler Triplus Fineliners*
- Stabilo Point 88*
- Marvy LePen*
- Soft Pencils (My favorites are Prismacolor Pencils*, soooo smooth!)
- Kneaded Eraser (I like these Prismacolor erasers!*)
- Koi Watercolor Travel Set* (with Pentel Aqua water brushes)
- Akashiya Sai Watercolor Brush markers*
Angelica’s Tech Tips:
- Start Simple. Even though I teach courses that show you how to professionally design in Adobe, you don’t need fancy software to begin. Please, please, don’t let this stop you! You will crush your confidence before you even begin. Try using free design apps like Canva which works great for print-quality books where pages follow the same layout.
- Invest in a stand-alone scanner. This will save you heaps of trouble when your all-in-one bites the big one (because, it will happen, just ask me about our printer graveyard in the basement). I use the Canon CanoScan LiDE 220* and it works like a charm.
- Always try to create or scan in your original work in 300 dpi or higher. This is a setting on some iPad apps, and most drawing software. It’s the standard print-quality resolution that you’ll want to remember anytime you want to print your images.
- iPad Doodlers: make sure the app you’re drawing in is set to 300 dpi. It will reduce headaches when you try to increase the resolution and prevent pixelation.
- iPad Apps for Drawing: Sketchbook Express, Procreate, Bamboo Paper, Adobe Draw (so many to list – I’ll have to do a separate post on them!)
- Begin where you’re at. You don’t have to shell out hundreds of dollars to a designer to create a beautiful product using your illustrations. Get creative and look into freeware like Gimp, Inkscape, and Canva. If you already own an Adobe Illustrator license, learning how to digitize your line work in Adobe Illustrator is an invaluable skill, and I cover it in my course, Digitize your Doodles.
Practice makes progress
Learning how to combat self-doubt is a daily practice, and it all starts with taking action. You have all the tools you need now to begin, so why not start with making creating a daily habit? My Doodle Days Challenge is FREE and it’s such a great resource to pick up when you’re feeling uninspired or need a little push to make art.
There will be days where you don’t feel like doodling (or writing, or painting, or crafting) but that doesn’t mean you should set it aside for the next time you feel inspired. Get inspired now! Take a walk, clear your mind, and sit down and just draw.
Joining us in Doodle Days? Leave a comment below and let me know how making doodling a daily habit has helped you.
*Denotes affiliate links. I only promote what I have used and loved and would share anyway.