Self doubt and the fraud police stay for tea

First: Every time I write a blog post I adopt a resolution to post regularly again! Sadly, grown up life (especially grown up life of a freelance illustrator) will teach you what is a priority and what is not.

Second: I not only made it into the World Illustration Awards exhibition, but won the New Talent Award in the category Research and Knowledge Communication. Yay!! Last month I was able to attend the private view night and it was great! I got to know so many new and great people/artists (check out: Aad GoudappelPieter van EenogeNata JohJoão Fazenda) and enjoyed a few days in London.

And finally third: Why I didn't write as much as I wanted to is, that over the past few months I have been stuck. Stuck is not the right word, though. Lost comes close, but so does bewildered, stunned, disoriented.... and weirdly enough: shipwrecked.
One thing you have to know about me is this: I make plans. Like communist countries. I make 5 year plans. Sometimes I will make 3 year plans....or rather: I make ONE 5 year plan with sub-distributions. I think about what I want to achieve in these years and how to achieve it. Then the goals get set. Most of the time (just as in communist countries) those 5 year plans don't work out. That's okay. Just let me get out my 5-year-plan-paper and let's make a new 5 year plan!

Then I finished my MA and I made - what else - a plan. First I would work on getting settled in. Taking part in competitions, then I sent out my portfolio, got my first clients, invested the money in my business, took part in some more competitions, sent out a second batch of portfolios, got some more clients, signed my first NDA's, won my first important prize....
At tat point I started to think "Okay, that is how settling in feels like!" And it felt okay - kind of. Not only was the fraud police knocking at the - or rather trying to knock down the door with a battering ram - of my confidence castle. It also occurred to me that something felt odd. Wasn't there a constant knocking coming from the other side of the hallway? While seeing the front door bending under the pressure of the fraud police, self doubt came knocking at the backdoor. "What are you doing?" I heard him howling. "Which kind of illustrator do you want to be?" He whispered when I came closer. That was the moment I faltered.

It didn't hit me like lightening. It was more like a game of chicken. But then with myself in both cars - or rather, since I don't drive - on both bikes. You see them coming but you think "They will give way." After a few moments: "It does look like we are going to crash - but we won't!!" There were many reasons why my other me, with self doubt sitting on the carrier, would have to give way. "I just have to get settled in. Then this weird feeling will go away.", "If I have enough client work, this weird feeling will go away.", "If I get credit in form of getting in exhibitions and competitions, this weird feeling will go away."
Naturally it didn't go away. So, I got of my bike, left it there and barricaded myself in confidence castle and .... pondered.
Why did something feel off?? I know what I can and can't do and I have a 5 year plan. That couldn't be the reason why self doubt was still sticking around. (For the record: Self doubt always sticks around, because you will never feel good enough, but it is like a self-doubt-chihuahua. With a tendency to be neurotic and sometimes nasty but certainly manageable.) While I had barricaded myself in the castle of confidence (or now rather contemplation!?), life went on, until my self doubt came knocking, until I heard him hissing the particular question through the cracks...

Other professionals define it as 'finding your voice'. What is it, that you as an illustrator want to express to the world!? What is it, that excites you, moves you to tears, frustrates you, makes you angry!? What is it, that you want to show everyone!? And Why!? Because it is such a vital component in the cogs of this vast world? Or because it is not important at all, but oh so wondrous? Because there is delicacy even in disfigurement, defects and all the flaws? Or maybe because it is the other way around? Maybe because occasionally beauty will break your heart...and more often all the ugliness and monstrousness of the world will break it in a whole other way....

So... I opened the door and invited self doubt in. Then I went to the front door, made it clear that I will open for the fraud police and that they please not knock me over. While I unlocked the door, I picked up some mumbling 'that's a new one' (I think officer #1) 'yeah, in most cases they reinforce the doors....' (officer#2) 'exactly! Or we knock the door down'(officer#1)....*agreeing mumbling*.... and self doubt watched me....doubtfully...
And there we were. Actually, the officers of the fraud police were not as frightening as I thought they would be. Two small, goofy looking blobby figures with police hats and clipboards. They did their best to look stern though. But - risking they would report me to the frau-by-artists-ministry - I invited them in and made some hot chocolate and a chamomile tea for officer #2. Then we talked for a long time....

Source: http://ankatsart.blogspot.nl/2015/11/self-...