Over the years of teaching beginner adult learners I have really noticed that lack of confidence in ones own abilities is a major issue for many. I was always aware of this but I realised that for some the thought of going to an art class is just too daunting and they struggle to get to a class at all. This is very sad, so what can you do if this is you to boost your confidence and take the leap of joining a class or course? I give some ideas in this blog post…
One experience with one potential learner springs to mind that taught me how restrictive lacking confidence can be in joining an art class. One lady started emailing me about my classes after a friend of hers attended one of my workshops. There were lots of questions about what to bring, what would we be doing etc.
This was fine of course and I was happy to tell her more about my courses. The new term came around and the lady emailed me to say she had had second thoughts and it wasn’t ‘the right time’ to join the course. I thought fine, and then just before the start of the next course once more the emails started asking questions about the course (the same ones as before).
I asked if it would help to have a chat on the phone as some learners really want to speak or preferably meet the tutor before embarking on a course, she was happy to do this. Another course start date was now looming and I thought this time the lady would sign up but when it came to it she once more told me it wasn’t the right time.
I realised that this lady just didn’t have the confidence to join the class but obviously really wanted to. Whatever I said or did just wasn’t going to be enough because her confidence was so low. So what can be done if you are feeling this way, maybe you enjoy reading and watching tutorials about learning to draw and paint but just know you would benefit from a class?
Here are some tips for those of you in that position:
You can prepare to join an art class by sketching at home on a fairly regular basis, this way you are getting used to observational drawing. Try to sketch for ten minutes a day everyday for a few months, your confidence should grow.
Showing Your Work To Others
Most art courses involve showing your work to others and often talking about it. You can get used to this by showing it to friends and family or joining an online forum and asking for feedback. This way you will become used to feedback and it won’t be so daunting on a course.
Set Yourself a Challenge
It is all very well plodding along at home doing what you like in terms of drawing and painting but we all need to feel out of our comfort zone from time to time if we wish to progress. What tends to happen when you join a course or class is we are asked to work in ways or try things we have never done before which can bring fear to many who lack confidence.
Try setting your own challenges at home, things that are slightly different to what you normally do, like drawing larger or faster or trying a new type of paint surface. This way you are getting used to challenges before a course or class.
Drawing With Others
Some who lack the confidence to join a course or class because of the comparing or being around others. Art can be a very private activity for many and joining a class with all the other people there can feel very different. To get used to the more social aspect of a course or class why not start by drawing with a small group of friends.
Taster Sessions and Workshops
Those who lack confidence to sign up for a course could try dipping a toe in the creative waters by trying out one day workshop or taster session. I knew one learner who said she started by doing workshops in another town because she didn’t mind them seeing her work.
Slowly she built up the confidence to join a workshop in her own town and eventually a course. Some libraries run ‘drop in’ drawing sessions where you can go for as long or as little as you want, it is the starting point for many.
Have you ever been too scared to join an art class or course and how did you get over it? Share your thoughts below…