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.
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?
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. 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.
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!