Imposter Syndrome: What to Do About That Tiny Voice in Our Head

In the previous blog Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Art we touched on Imposter Syndrome and how it impacts our ability to identify ourselves as artists. Today we are going to dive deeper into how Imposter Syndrome (IS) affects our creativity and ideas on how to work around it. I say “work around it” instead of “get rid of it” as we may always have that tiny voice in our heads. We can welcome it, show it to the corner of the room and continue to work without letting it dominate our creative spirits! Understanding that how we feel doesn’t always reflect reality is a process that will take time, after all, it took us years (or decades) to build up those feelings in the first place. Let’s step through a few ways in which we can free up our creative selves from this overwhelming feeling.

Facts vs. Feelings

No matter how strong our feelings are, they don’t always line up with real facts. Take some time to sit down and review your qualifications, accomplishments, and experiences. Are you setting expectations for yourself that are in line with Pablo Picasso? Are you judging yourself based off the number of classes you’ve taken or the lack thereof? Try to isolate any grains of truth that are in your feelings to see if there are any actions you can take. If you are frustrated with your portraits, take an anatomy course or a portrait-construction course. Brushing up on those skills can hone our foundation and improve results in the finished process. Not happy with your colors and tones? Try a limited palette course to simplify your number of colors and get back to color theory. Is lack of sales driving your feelings of failure? Pickup a course, read up on self-marketing, or dig into growing your online business and social media. Taking action can be one of the most positive ways to combat Imposter Syndrome.

Let Go of Perfectionism

Theodore Roosevelt must have had us in mind when he said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Art is a means of unique expression that stems from your one-of-a-kind creativity, combined with your experiences and winds up on a canvas! It is impossible to compare how objectively “good” Claude Monet is to Jenny Saville – their art conveys different feelings, meanings and messages and is done in totally different styles. If you are comparing yourself to masters, allow yourself the flexibility to play. Many artists weren’t even recognized for their achievements until well beyond their time on Earth yet we put so much pressure on ourselves after a few years or decades. Allow yourself to play, to try new things, to experiment and to start over again if you want. There are no rules in art except the rules we limit ourselves to, let go of perfectionism and let play back in to your studio.

Cultivate Compassion

Try stepping outside yourself and thinking how you would talk to a friend going through this experience. Would you encourage them to keep going or would you pick apart every detail? Odds are you would see their artwork as an expression of who they are and cheer them on in their journey! Imagine if you treated yourself as kindly and gently. Make a list of 5 things you do like about your work and 5 positive reasons why you like to create. Experiment with putting those in a visible place in your studio so you can use that reminder to recenter yourself. Experts in all fields from professional athletes to world-renowned public speakers rely heavily on mantras. Think of a powerful phrase that feels good in your heart. Try, “I have the right to create and express myself uniquely!” or “I paint, therefore I am a painter!” or “I will value the work I do, so that others will as well”. Rooting confidence in self-compassion is a great way to lighten the self-imposed pressure that Imposter Syndrome puts on us and reconnect with the freedom of expression we had as carefree children.

Change Your Self-Talk


Do you have other ideas to share with out community!  We want to hear them!  Please comment below!


HeArtfully yours,




  1. Connie Bailey on April 12, 2022 at 10:59 AM

    I am an artist who has dealt with this it seems forever. I have been painting on and off since grade school. I am now in my young 80’s. I have been a teacher for 25 years, done successful one woman shows and two women shows. Have won Blue ribbons, been in national shows, published in “Splash” and I am a signature artist in Western Colorado Watercolor Society. With all of this behind me I still suffer (not as much) from this. So every positive article on
    this I read to reinforce my place in the creative world. So thank you Kara for this blog,

    • Kara Bullock on April 13, 2022 at 11:06 AM

      Hi Connie!

      It seems to get to all of us! I am so excited to hear about your journey, and to know that you don’t let that voice get the best of you!



  2. Margaret Wheeler on April 12, 2022 at 11:14 AM

    I love this! I haven’t had a lot of free time to paint since getting a puppy and needed to read this!❤️

    • Kara Bullock on April 13, 2022 at 11:06 AM

      Hi Margaret!

      I am so happy that you read it and that it resonated with you! I bet you are enjoying that puppy of yours!! As long as you are enjoying what you do, that is all that really matters!



  3. KAndria Olinger on April 12, 2022 at 11:26 AM

    Thank you, this message came at the right time for me. I am an older artist who started later than most of my fellow artists within my community. I show at a well- known local gallery and everyone seems to enjoy my work, however, I don’t feel like I am at their level, thus feeling like an imposter. I need to believe in myself and my work like you stated. I am me and my work is uniquely and characteristically me, so I am an artist with unique style all the while…Also, I’m not afraid to keep on learning and experimenting with my work.

    • Kara Bullock on April 13, 2022 at 11:07 AM

      Hi KAndria!

      Thank you for your comment! I am so happy that it is what you needed to hear at this moment! You do need to believe in yourself and remember that you are allowed to be who you are and create what you need to create! That is what is most important!



  4. Diana Hutchison on April 12, 2022 at 2:28 PM

    I have never felt diminished in my learning or my ARTmaking process. I love to take classes every year and have done so every year for over 40 years now. I do the work. I practice and produce volumes of both Calligraphic and painterly art. I do love in person classes most but have found excellent new learning experiences through online classes like those you offer, Kara. I just found your Art School and am signed up! I have been taking on line classes for 3 years now. Your selections are vast and offer many opportunities to explore new-to-me painting experiences. I’M very excited. I learned of you through a friend, whom I’m currently mentoring. She is about to conclude her first full year as a new Artist. I’m very excited about her progress through her first year in diligent study… She has come far through classes and work produced. She is 100% IN!

    I share my knowledge with students though mentoring, encouragement and long lasting friendships. I reap so many rewards in these new friendships. My passion is ART. Thank you for all the work you do in providing excellent courses of study with very good Artist’s at the helm in teaching such a wide variety of courses. You are appreciated, Kara.

    • Kara Bullock on April 13, 2022 at 11:08 AM

      Hi Diana!

      That is so wonderful that you have never felt this way!! You are lucky! Our students are lucky and you are very appreciated, Diana!



  5. Johanna Wix on April 12, 2022 at 2:28 PM

    I loved this self talk blog you have posted. I am in a way happy to see I am not the only person to self Depreaciate my art work. I am in no way an expert in painting, drawing or sculpturing so when I have completed a project I am not happy with I relate my art to another artist eg Picasso or Dali etc. I find this eases my self talk and usually there is always someone who loves the painting for what I tried to convey. If only one person loves my work, style,colours or representation I feel a sense of achievement. This encourages me to keep expressing me and my art.

    • Kara Bullock on April 13, 2022 at 11:08 AM

      Hi Johanna!

      Yes, I think most of us do this! And remember, the only person that needs to love your work is YOU! Keep going! You are doing great!



  6. Stacy Butchart on April 12, 2022 at 3:57 PM

    Great blog, Kara! I love the message, and it’s an important one!

    • Kara Bullock on April 13, 2022 at 11:09 AM


      Thank you so much for reading it!



  7. Emjay on April 12, 2022 at 5:36 PM

    Hi Kara,
    Thank you for the motivating and inspiring words.
    I love creating digital illustrations and pouring my heart in it. But when I look around I see so many other artists who are so enormously good in what they are doing, and their work makes me feel as if I will never be good enough. The same goes for when I look at the work of painters. I get the feeling that digital art is not seen as real art while I am working just as hard.
    You are so right, one has to step out of that feeling which I try to do each and every day. Work in progress. x

    • Kara Bullock on April 13, 2022 at 11:10 AM

      Hi Emjay!

      I know what you mean! Sometimes we have to put blinders on! Your art, no matter what it is or how you create it, is REAL art. Just keep repeating that mantra to yourself!



  8. Kieran on April 13, 2022 at 8:41 AM

    Every word of this is spot on! It seems like confidence in my art so hard to gain. and even when I finally feel like I can call myself an artist (I’ve made money selling or like a piece I’ve made) its a confidence I can so easily lose when I don’t like a piece or am struggling. I saw an interview with Billie Eilish where she mentioned she has imposter syndrome. Thought that was crazy! Its like that little voice in my head that compares my artwork to whatever I see instagram. I like your suggestion to talk to yourself the way you would to a good friend feeling this way and be your own art friend.

    • Kara Bullock on April 13, 2022 at 11:12 AM

      Hi Kieran,

      It does seem like a constant battle, doesn’t it! Having conversations with ourselves is so important! I mean, we have to love ourselves first, before others can. Makes sense to be friends with ourselves, right?! I am happy this resonated with you. Thank you so much for your comment!



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