Someone recently hired me to do this illustration. She saw my other work, she visited my website, she liked what she saw, we met and clicked right away. She wanted a mermaid and sea creatures. I love mermaids and the ocean. Perfect subjects for watercolor, which I love. All good.
So where did that voice come from that kept telling me I couldn't do it? My parents always encouraged me. I've always been told by teachers, mentors and peers that I'm a good artist. My art has been exhibited in a bunch of art shows (in NYC!), I've sold a bunch of paintings, I've worked as a professional illustrator before. So where did that voice come from?
I know you all know what I'm talking about. Because I've read about it before. From writers and artists much more successful than myself.
But it makes me mad. Does it make you mad?
Because I do believe in myself and my work. And I do love this finished illustration. But I also hear some little part of myself telling myself, 'you got lucky this time, but it probably won't happen again."
It's not luck! It's years of hard work. And talent. And passion. Yes I Can!
Could it be that we need to hear that voice to spur us forward? Nah, I don't believe that. I think I could have worked as well (or better!) if the voice was saying, "You're a great artist! Trust yourself! Keep going!" Actually, I did hear that, too. The voices were going back and forth in my head. It was pretty annoying. Listening to a Harry Potter audiobook helped a little.
Will I stop hearing the voice of negativity once I've illustrated a picture book for a major publishing house. Or five? Ten?
Those of you who are out there already, writers and illustrators, with several published books to your name, tell me, does it go away?