I love reading – or should I say loved reading. I read all the time growing up especially in high school. But then I went to college and found out there's zero time for frivolous hobbies and I basically ran on coffee for 4 years and every time I picked up a book I just fell asleep.
Basically I completely lost my passion for reading.
But a few months ago when I began bouncing ideas around for this business, I recaptured my love of reading in the form of any and all art and design books.
Art Inc. was recommended to me by a person I consider a mentor – Emily Knapp! We were chatting about my ideas that I had for this illustration business and she brought up Art Inc. by Lisa Congdon. I was super motivated to get the wheels turning on my business and learn as much as I could, so I got on Amazon the next day and ordered it.
I tore through this book in probably a week or two absorbing all of the awesome information and advice that Lisa Congdon has to offer. As shown in the image above, you can see I tagged a ton of pages with colorful tabs (which my cat won't stop chewing on because he apparently likes the texture), so I can revisit the good stuff. Honestly, I had trouble not tagging every single page because every page was the good stuff.
Her 184-page book covers everything for building your career as an artist from setting short-term and long-term goals to diversifying your income to acquiring an agent. The book is broken down into bite-sized sections and helps cover everything you need to know while having a creative business.
Social media is a big topic she covers as well. She wrote,
Look at social media as an opportunity to build a supportive community with your peers, not compete with them.
I love this because I feel so many creative people have trouble not comparing themselves to others. Social media is an area where I love following other artists and designers to gain inspiration and insight to their creative processes. But in turn, sometimes I can get really discouraged that everyone is so much better than me and why am I even doing what I'm doing and sometimes spiral downward into a self-deprecating abyss... It can be challenging being an artist.
Sounds sad! But the bright side is that I always am reminded that I'm not alone and so many creatives suffer from this same fear/doubt. We all have different things to offer the world and there's always going to be someone better than you, but there is also always someone below you. The online creative community is an amazing opportunity to find other people like you and lift one another up.
No two people are the same. Everyone has different life experiences which leads to everyone having different perspectives. Diversity is a powerful tool! The best and most beautiful things can come from diverse groups of people.
Art and design is so subjective and you can't please everyone. It can be nerve wracking pouring yourself into your work and then showing it to the world.
I love the line in Art Inc. that reads,
Indeed, doubt and insecurity are feelings that can paralyze us and hinder creativity if we allow them. But when artists begin to think of their work in a more positive light, doors open and success follows.
It can be so powerful just to practice shifting your mindset and using affirmations such as, "I can do this" and "I have so much to offer the world." I have been working on just this. You can even take it a step further and write down your affirmations on post-it notes and stick them in places you see the most such as your mirror or refrigerator. Those little hints of positivity can work wonders on shifting your mindset.
Being an artist is hard! But so rewarding and satisfying at the same time. I will leave you with this last quote from Lisa Congdon's book (which if you haven't gathered already, I HIGHLY recommend),
When you affirm yourself as an artist, the road before you can feel equally exciting and terrifying.