What if people think my drawings are silly?

One of the biggest concerns I encounter when I train people in graphics is the fear of what people will think.

What will people think? Will they think my drawings are silly?

Will people take me seriously if I go into a room and start drawing star people?

It’s maybe ok for within my team but there’s no way I’d use it with external stakeholders.

If you are wrestling with these concerns, you’re certainly not alone. Anytime we step out of our comfort zone our subconscious goes into overdrive telling us all the reasons why we should just keep doing things the way we’ve always done them. But where’s the fun in that?

I hope I can help in some way to assuage your fears or at the very least encourage you to feel the fear, and do it anyway.

1. The first thing to bear in mind is that graphics are for EVERYONE. When graphics are used, everybody benefits, not just artistic people, or visual people, or people in ‘creative industries’. We’re all human, suit or no suit, and the advantages of graphics apply to every one of us. Why should we deny others the advantages of this wonderful tool simply because we falsely assume they won’t get it?

2. Graphics are as much about mindset as they are about skill. If you enter a room convinced everyone will laugh at you and it’s going to be a disaster, then you’re setting yourself up for a stressful time. Try not to focus on what people will think (after all, we have no control over this). Focus instead on you, on what you think, how you feel about about graphics and this will come across to your audience.

4. Trying graphics with a new audience? Position your audience in advance. Explain what graphics is and how you’re going to use it. You will immediately grab people’s attention and rouse interest. And making mistakes is ok. We all do it. It’s what makes us human.

5. Remember the colour rules – black for icons, dark colours for text, use red sparingly. Use colour carefully to categorise themes and this will build confidence in knowing your work is easy on the eye and makes sense to your audience.

6. Find the biting point. If you keep telling yourself you need to practice before you do it live it’s quite likely you’ll never do it live. The key is to actually start doing graphics before you feel you’re ready. Find the balance between honing your skills and getting it perfect. Because it will never be perfect. That’s the biggest lesson of all. It’s something that can be difficult to get our heads around. It’s also wholly welcoming and refreshing.

Remember, what’s the worst that can happen? People laugh? (that’s called an icebreaker) The paper falls down off the wall? (again, icebreaker…of sorts) You trip over the flip chart with Bambi-style finesse and fall flat on your face? (it’s happened to the best of us).

Above all, don’t hide your talents. The world is waiting!

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