3 Reasons People Don’t Like Your Art (and How to Deal)

3 Reasons People Don't Like Your Art  (and How to Deal). Christine Nishiyama, Might Could Studios.

Here’s something I’m sure you’ve already realized: there is plenty of fear involved in making art. Fears like imposter syndrome, fear of the blank page, and fear of not being able to capture the perfect image in our head. All fears that get in the way of us making art.

But there are also fears that get in the way of us making OUR art. The art that feels like us. We worry about what other people will think about what we make.

But we can’t. We just can’t worry about that. Because sooner or later, someone will not like our work no matter how much we try to avoid it. So how do we deal?

3 Reasons Someone Might Not Like Your Art

There are a few reasons why someone might not understand or like your artwork. Let’s face them head on together.

3 Reasons People Don't Like Your Art  (and How to Deal). Christine Nishiyama, Might Could Studios.

1. It’s just not their thing.

Everyone has different tastes. There’s nothing in the world that literally everyone likes. I’ve met people who don’t like chocolate. I’ve met people who don’t like cheese. Cheese?! And chocolate! Two of the things I possibly love the most! And there are people out there in the world that hate them.

So you see, different tastes appeal to different folks. If chocolate can’t please everyone, why do we expect to please everyone with your art? If your art (or cheese) isn’t their thing, then who cares if they don’t like it? Everyone’s entitled to their own taste and opinions. Just because they don’t like your art, doesn’t mean it’s not good. Because I mean cheese is so good, right?

3 Reasons People Don't Like Your Art  (and How to Deal). Christine Nishiyama, Might Could Studios.

2. They saw it too early in the process.

I’m a big proponent of sharing process work, but there is a downside. Sometimes a drawing gets shared too early in the process, and it’s just not working yet. If it’s too early, it may be hard for other people to get it. Maybe you haven’t worked all the kinks out yet, or figured out what it’s all about. And that’s perfectly fine! But don’t expect other people to be able to understand the art if you don’t even understand it yet. Or maybe you do understand it, but the artwork isn’t communicating the idea across very well.

The solution here is to just keep working on it. The person doesn’t like it because they don’t understand it. Maybe they’re not being open enough or maybe the piece isn’t working yet. Either way, them not liking your art doesn’t mean it’s bad, it just means you need to keep working.

3 Reasons People Don't Like Your Art  (and How to Deal). Christine Nishiyama, Might Could Studios.

3. They just ain’t ready for you.

If you look back, which group of artists are the ones talked about in art history class and most respected for their work? The artists who followed the rules and did what everyone liked? Or the artists who did what felt right to them, broke all the rules, and made up their own rules along the way? How many artist’s work were ridiculed and mocked at first, but then celebrated as revolutionary and innovative later?

Sometimes that person who doesn’t like your work just isn’t ready for it. Sometimes you’re on the right track, blazing a new path, and you’ll just have to be patient while other people catch up. Them not liking your art doesn’t mean it’s bad, it just means you should keep going.

3 Reasons People Don't Like Your Art  (and How to Deal). Christine Nishiyama, Might Could Studios.

It Doesn’t Matter

Whatever reason someone has for not liking your work, it doesn’t matter.

Don’t let the power of your art making fall to other people’s approval. Your art is your art and only you know how to make it.

What’s important is that you keep making your art, keep learning, and keep improving.

Just draw more.

“There’s no such thing as good art or bad art. There’s only Art—and damn little of it!” –James Thurber, illustrator and author


Thanks for reading!

Comment below to let me know if you have experience with the fear of people not liking your work! And trust me, all artists—even the crazy-famous people—have to deal with people not liking their work. Some people don’t like cheese! CHEEEEESE!





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19 Responses

  1. Thanks for the boost. It is scary sharing art but it’s fun too. Gotta focus on the fun part. I think you do, which is why you’re a lot of fun to hang out with on the internet. Keep up the good work. : )

    1. Aw, thanks Heather! I definitely have moments where I’m scared and down on myself plenty of times, but you’re right, I think its best to focus on the fun! Thanks for the positive vibes! :D

    1. Yes! Totally! Just because someone else doesn’t like it, doesn’t mean you can’t like it! Everyone has different opinions, art is subjective, and that’s all A-OK. So glad you’ve been able to get over that hump and have confidence in your work! :D

  2. Thanks for this bit of wisdom. When someone tells me they don’t like my art I ask them to explain the it is they don’t like. Even though I probably won’t change what I am doing, the feedback is always helpful to me.

    1. That’s a great way to approach it, Mary! It is important to be open to feedback, and that’s wonderful that you ask them to elaborate. That way you can decide if it’s feedback you agree with or not! Thanks for sharing! :)

  3. I get most concerned when someone in the art field (gallery owner, art tutor) says negative things about my art. “It’s flat.” “Yes, but what does it mean.” “It’s bit … anal.” Anal? Really? “Loosen up!” “Make something with meaning or just make (presumably meaningless) commercial art!” To be fair, they’ve followed up with somewhat encouraging comments, “Loosen up! Then come back with several more!” But the former used to just turn me to stone. I stopped drawing for three years. What a waste when I could have just been having fun! Opinions are nice or not nice, whatever, but they don’t have to stop me from doing what I love or having fun, right? So I’m finding my spirit and courage again.

    1. I know what you mean! It’s hard hearing criticism, especially from someone you respect and admire, and especially when it’s vague! You’re totally right that the opinions shouldn’t stop you from making art or having fun! The person is most likely just trying to help, and you have the power to either agree or disagree with what they say no matter who they are! Art is always evolving, so we can take those comments, think about them, take them into consideration, and then just keep on keepin’ on. :)

  4. “…There’s only Art—and damn little of it!” <3<3<3 I've been struggling with fear of not making perfect art for a project I'm working on and that quote just made my day. I'm going to stop wasting time worrying and get busy making!

    1. Yeah, yeah, yeah! The quote really spoke to me as well, so I’m glad you enjoyed it too! I definitely fall into the perfection loop often, and you’re right that the only solution is to stop worrying and start making! Go get em’! :D

  5. Haha I’m the person who doesn’t like chocolate! I don’t understand how everyone can love it, I can’t even eat a cookie covered in chocolate without cringing
    The problem that you tackle in this article is very acute for many artists I think. For me even more so. When I lived with my parents, they used to comment all my work with words like “it’s wrong!!”, “I don’t like such art” “bullshit” and so on. I developed so many nasty fears that, despite earning my bread with art, even now I stop drawing from time to time. I can go months without it! At one point I had a three-year-long artists block! It’s extremely hard to get rid of this constantly evaluating “parent” that is dwelling in my mind. Articles like yours are what keeps me going ☺️

    1. Oh no! That just shows though, that different people have different tastes! That’s so terrible that your parents were so harsh on your work. It’s understandable that you would have deep fears and doubts about your work after experiences like that. I’m so glad my articles can have some sort of positive impact on you and maybe help you get your confidence back! You’re doing the right thing by just keeping on making, even if you do take breaks! Keep it up, and thanks so much for sharing! :)

  6. Hi Christen, by reading your thoughts is amazing because i had read today “if you have to wear the crown then you have to bear the crown ” & your words for being like your own opinion , having your own taste for loving the things is mind blowing because the situation i’m living is same my family puts their own opinion on me by not listing to me i want to do something but i’m helpless to my self . But i think i’m sorry to myself for not to helping me , for not able to taking my own side .

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