Your Art is Not a Number

How-To find value in your Art! *without looking at the numbers.* Hello everyone, and happy mid-May! How are you doing? I hope everything is going well so far! May is one of my favorite months for several reasons. Number one, the flowers! I love me a good lilac. Number two, I feel like the time […]

How-To find value in your Art! *without looking at the numbers.*

Hello everyone, and happy mid-May! How are you doing? I hope everything is going well so far! May is one of my favorite months for several reasons. Number one, the flowers! I love me a good lilac. Number two, I feel like the time to be creative is now! There are so many prompts, challenges and things to get you inspired. Last but not least, the May weather. By this point of the year, I have had it with winter and cold weather. Even as I am typing this it is still not that warm outside, but it’s not snowing so I can’t be to picky.

With all of the art challenges coming up and creative inspirations flowing, I can find that now is the best time to create and share your work! Sometimes, there is a negative. You create, get excited, share your work and the result you get from the public is not what you expected. Does this devalue your art? It shouldn’t, but I understand if you feel that. Well that’s what this post is about. So let’s get into the meat and potatoes of it all!

How it starts

Have you ever noticed yourself mindlessly scrolling through social media platforms, whether it’s on your personal page, or whether it’s someone else’s page, and find that while you may be “looking” at the art, you’re actually just looking at the numbers? The following count, how many likes it got, how many views it got, how much money was brought in, how many comments were left and on and on and on? 

While I do find that sometimes numbers are important, what I also find equally as important is… ignoring them. The reason that I find it important to ignore the numbers is that sometimes that’s the only way we find value in our work. In my opinion, this is the fastest way to experience, burnout, self-doubt, depression and an overall creative decline. If you thrive on having creative energy, valuing your work through number comparisons is one of the worst things you can do. 

How can you find value in your work then? Because it is valuable! With the numbers game out there, sometimes it is hard to remember, why am I doing this? Why do I create? More on this in another post, but for now, here are 5 things that you can do when it comes to finding value in your art. 

1: Be mindful while you’re creating. How did you feel WHILE you were making something? Did you feel peace or relief? Did you feel “in the zone?” All those feelings hold impact and if art can give you a sense of joy and peace, than that’s the value right there! Another time to be mindful is when you’re done creating but BEFORE you share your work. There’s nothing like finishing a piece you’ve worked so hard on and taking a moment to reflect and appreciate everything that went into in. Be aware of your feelings. Do not focus on how you feel after you posted it, or showed your work to anyone. Don’t let outside influences negate your personal value in your work.

2: Take a look at the bigger picture. Look at the progress of your work as a whole. Here’s an activity you can try! Take all of your recent work, 5 or more pieces, place them all out in front of you. Then take 5 or more pieces of your older work, say about a year ago, further back if you’d like, and place those next to your more recent works. If you work digitally, print out the pieces! Having them physically in front of you hits differently.

Here are some questions to answer while you’re looking at your art! Did your style change? Did you learn a new medium or skill? What about composition and color? Have things like those come more natural to you in your newer projects? What was the overall personal progress you’ve made?

Sitting down and taking the time to reflect on where you’ve come from and how much you’ve grown visually puts the value of your work right in front of you. And look how much you’ve grown!

3: Take pride in viewing the world through creative eyes. This one sounds kind of weird, and let me know if I’m crazy or not. Ever since I started down this creative journey, I see the world around me differently. An example, when I see a flower, I want to draw it. When I garden and come across a worm, I come up for a story for that worm. I’ll see some moss on a walk and think, wow what a great texture! I’d love to figure out how to recreate that with paint! Does this happen to you? I think there’s value in seeing the world with a bit of whimsy and magic. Having creative ideas like these is not something everyone can do! Take pride in that.

4: Create with no outcome in mind. Create something, and keep it to yourself. If you start a piece knowing that you’re NOT going to share it with anyone, I bet that piece will be one of the best and freest works of art you’ll ever make. I would love to see it, but don’t show it to me!  

5: Be aware of your spark. Recognize that sometimes your creative spark will not be burning super bright. I have another longer post on this idea around burnout and the struggle with being constantly creative. The main thing to take away here, of finding value in your art, is to find value in yourself and recognizing that your creative bucket will not be full every day. Which is 100% normal and completely great. No one can be “on” all the time and if you are what is your secret? Let me know!

Biggest Takeaway

The #1 (get it?) thing I want you to take away from this is, YOUR ART HOLDS VALUE. No matter what others think, or how many likes, comments, shares it got, it is still important and the world still needs it. Please do not let anything stop you from creating, because the value you can get from creating can be so rewarding!

Thank you for reading, and have fun making something!


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An Illustration Blog with Monthly Updates.