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In the first part of this post, I’ve talked about my own thoughts and experiences with those inner demons that haunt us all. In this part, I will share with you insights of five amazing artists who kindly agreed to share. I’ve asked them to dive deep into those “inner demons” and look for what triggers those self-doubts? How do they manifest themselves and what is the thinking in those moments? I wanted to know what actions do they take and if they have any strategies to deal with them. I strongly believe that the biggest power we have over all those inner demons is the way we talk to ourselves! So I asked them to make this little exercise that I find very helpful: Imagine, that in the moment when those self-doubts and inner critics are the most overwhelming your goal is to step back, see all from the side and convince yourself that everything those demons say is not true. How would you talk yourself out of those self-doubts? What arguments would you use?

Without further ado let me introduce Julia Griffin, Aria Fawn, Juliet Shreckinger, Ethan Price, and Julia Lundman. I hope that it will help you to shift your mind and find your own ways. You are not alone:)

Aria Fawn

My name is Aria Fawn, and I am self-taught from Colorado. My oneiric, dark and surreal art style is inspired by dreams, nature, and nostalgia. Much of my work also deals with emotional, underlying subjects surrounding mental health and the darker parts of the human experience told through fantasy. I aim to capture real and identifiable emotions through animal fables and give viewers a sense of sanctuary.

Art has always been a place of release for me and a way to process and untangle my own mind.  As an artist who has struggled with their mental health since I was very young, art has just always been this incredible gift and medicine.  That being said, it is certainly not always easy to see past my doubts.

Like so many creators, I have always fought with confidence and self-doubt.  Art can feel like a rush of dopamine and complex emotions that can leave me high as a kite or in a ball on the floor wondering how I could ever be good enough.  I wish I could say that very last part was rare but it can sometimes follow me around for weeks at a time.  As I am just another flawed little human, I am woefully unaware of any “quick fixes” to cure this.  Instead, I have tried to create rituals I can count on to set me on the right path.  Having a sense of stability in my practice greatly helps reduce some of the doubt as it takes away a bit of the unknown.

Some days that ritual is tea or coffee, incense, and casting energies in my workspace to create a good mood.  Maybe tarot, journaling, and of course, music.  Some days it is just stubbornly diving into work until I crack and, I am back under my desk crying and realizing maybe I should have started things more gently. But the crying is important too.  

Perhaps one of the biggest influences in how I overcome my own doubts is a connection to the inner voice.  You can think of this as yourself, an angel, a spirit guide, or a god.  I think of it as a muse.  The more I learned to connect with the heart of my inspiration as if it were an outside presence that drifted in and around me, the more I was able to see it as a being of love, passion, and kindness that deserved care and reassurance. And by giving it such, I was able to give myself the same care.  For a long time, I stubbornly ignored the cries of my inner voice asking for better care, instead favoring overwork and pushing myself long past my draining point.  Since finding a healthier relationship with this muse,  I have also found it so much easier to pull myself out of the mire of self-doubt when it comes, because I feel so truly loved by this “voice” which in turn helps me to better connect with a love for myself.

Although my practice for overcoming self-doubt may come off as intangible and overly spiritual, I am a huge believer in the science of mental health as well. Therapy, what we put into our bodies, and who we surround ourselves with truly play a major role in how we feel.  I think that is easy to forget because we often hope for a faster, easier solution. None of this is fast or easy, it is an ongoing, perhaps lifelong process. But it does get better along the way.

You can find more about Aria at:




 Julia Griffin

I received my BFA in illustration from SVA and live in NYC where I work on children’s books, sci-fi and fantasy illustration, and the occasional gallery show. I’m inspired by fairytales and mythology; particularly any stories of magical journeys, the unknowable universe, and interconnectedness. I work primarily in colored pencils and enjoy playing with texture and atmosphere.

Anything from a bout of artist’s block to a story rejection can trigger my self-doubts. Sometimes all it takes is a feeling that I haven’t made enough progress for them to come creeping in. Or too much time spent on social media! The voice in my head starts telling me that I don’t have what it takes, that I don’t work hard enough, or smart enough, and maybe I should just stop trying so hard. It’s difficult to shut that voice up, it doesn’t like to listen to reason. But I try to drown it out by focusing on making something that I really enjoy. If I’m in the middle of a project that I’m stuck on, or one I don’t feel inspired by, I start something new that is just for me. Maybe a little bit of fan art, or a scene from one of my favorite books from my childhood. Something fun with no pressure to produce a finished piece. But if that’s not working, it’s time to take a break. Sometimes I just need to clear my head with a walk outside, or reading a book, or going to a museum. Also, talking to friends, especially art friends, about my doubts can help. When I doubt myself, someone else is usually better at encouraging me than I am. Also, I find that hearing others’ experiences with these same doubts makes me feel less alone.

When addressing self-doubts I try to remember that I’ve dealt with them many times before and come out the other side. This is a normal part of being an artist that everyone goes through. I remind myself that even the most accomplished artists feel this way sometimes. I have made work that I’m proud of, and I will make more work that I’m proud of. It’s okay to struggle with self-doubt. It’s hard to see it in the moment, but these feelings will pass. They will inevitably return, but each time I struggle with them I get better at dealing with them.

You can find more about Julia at:





Juliet Schreckinger

Hi!! My name is Juliet Schreckinger and I am an illustrator / artist living in Long Island, New York, US. I am twenty-two years old and I currently attend the School of Visual Arts college in New York City for illustration with a focus on fine art. For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to create art. There was no question for me that this was the career path I wanted to pursue, and I was very lucky to have a family that believed in me and pushed me to explore this creative path. My mother is a photographer, and I grew up looking at her black and white photography. This really inspired the type of work I do now, which I like to believe shares similar qualities to old, grainy black and white photographs. The main thing that makes me want to get up and create every day is my love for animals within our world. I am so drawn to all creatures, and I am very passionate about their protection. I hope that through my work I can express the true beauty of these creatures, and their absolutely magical existence. 

I am someone who has struggled with intense anxiety and self-doubt. I have had extreme social anxiety my entire life, which made school (especially high school) a very difficult place for me. These days, as I gain more traction in my artistic career, I find this anxiety manifesting itself in my work relationships and in the way I view my art. I am constantly wondering if I am good enough, if the next piece I create will be good enough, and if the people I work with will think my work is good enough. I find that a lot of these thoughts are triggered by moments outside of my control, especially with regards to social media. When the dreaded algorithm is not on our side, or when I feel the pressure to get a bunch of likes and comments or the piece is not “good” enough, I certainly feel anxiety. I do find, however, that the number one cause of my self-doubts actually comes from moments when I feel successful (I know, this sounds counterintuitive, but it’s true!) I find that when a piece sells in a gallery, I get offered a solo show, or a piece does well on my media platforms, I am not entirely happy, but scared. Scared that the next piece won’t sell and this was just a “lucky moment”, scared my work won’t live up to the expectations for a solo show, or scared the next piece I put out into the world will do poorly on my media platforms.

I think that success for a lot of people is a sort of benchmark, it sets a new standard for yourself which is both wonderful (as you will inevitably try to push that benchmark forward and get better) but also very scary (as you are stepping into new territory where you may have not thought you were capable of). When I have these moments, I try to remind myself that hard work and hours spent on my craft will never be a waste, and that a lot of these opportunities have come out of the many hours of work I have done (I usually do not feel this way, and it’s almost impossible to convince myself of this, but I do try). I really feel that a lot of my “successful” moments are just purely luck, which can be scary because it totally removes the future from our control. The way that I am able to move past these inner demons and continue to work is to always remember why I started creating in the first place. In these moments of doubt I concentrate on my love of animals, my goal of being a voice for them when they cannot speak up, my true passion for creating, and I put my head down and just keep drawing. I find if I focus on the “why” rather than the “what-ifs” I am able to stay true to my craft and create work that is genuine, which I guess is the goal of any artist. 

 If I was tasked with stepping back and talking to myself in the moments where inner demons can be overwhelming, I think the main thing I would tell myself is to remember the moments of inner success, rather than success measured by other people’s opinions. I would remember thinking I could not walk into art school and show my work during critique out of fear, but I did. I would remember when I thought my social anxiety would win and I couldn’t even walk into a gallery opening with people there, but I did. I would remember when I stayed up until 3AM to finish a drawing when I thought I couldn’t. I would remind myself of every time I stuck with this career when academic teachers would make me feel like I am a waste of a smart brain (yes, someone actually said that to me), and every person who said I was silly for actually believing art was a worthwhile pursuit. Most of all, I would remind myself of every moment these demons tried to stop me from creating in the past, and every time I shut them out and created something from the heart. I wouldn’t look at financial, social media, or any other type of “outside world” success. I personally feel that to defeat our inner demons, we have to kill them with personal achievement. Even if no one ever knows how hard something is for you, you know, and you won’t forget the strength it took to keep going. I hold onto that

Marta: When you look back at this passing year, was there a situation that stands out, when you experienced those self-doubts and inner demons really hard? What those voices were screaming at you and how did you attempt to quiet them?

Juliet: A specific situation that really prompted my anxiety and self-doubts in the past year was getting invited to have a solo exhibition. I was so deeply honored to have this opportunity, but at the same time, it was incredibly scary because I show at these galleries already in their wonderful group shows, and I feel comforted by the other artists participating. Having a solo show means that all eyes are on you, and if the work is not good or the show gets harshly criticized, you alone are the one who has to answer to that. I have been trying to combat those feelings by using my chalkboard trick. I have a large chalkboard in my studio, and I write out all of the upcoming pieces I have to make in little boxes on the white board. If I have five upcoming group shows, I have put in between each of those pieces I want to do for the solo show with my own made-up deadline for myself. As I finish a piece, I erase it off the chalkboard, and if I get invited to something I add it to the board. By mixing them in with the group show invites or other things I am doing in life, I find that they are less daunting than if I waited and did them all in one block of time. Spreading them out and creating tiny deadlines for myself throughout the year seems to ease my stress, and makes me feel more comfortable working on them. I think looking at it as one giant show for me personally would make it almost impossible to find a place to start.

This for me works with everything in life, all larger projects need to be broken up into small hills instead of mountains. My brain has trouble when it gets overwhelmed by work, and even if I am capable of doing the work it feels as though I cannot. If I don’t have the timeframe to break it up over an extended period, I still use the chalkboard and make a ton of tiny deadlines, even if they are only days apart. Having one giant deadline for all the pieces is scary, but having ten small ones is for me less so. As I finish and erase each one off the board, the rest flow more easily. However, you get into your best workflow is in my opinion a wonderful way to make it all a little less intimidating. 

Where you can find more about Juliet:

Instagram: @julietschreckinger


Twitter: @schreckingerart 

Ethan Price

I’m Ethan Price, an artist currently living in Lexington, KY in the U.S. I typically work in drawing-based mediums, and acrylic paints, focusing on creating atmospheric, ethereal subject matter. These works tend to explore ideas of impermanence, attempting to capture in some way on paper, the ghosts of old memories and half-remembered dreams. Professionally, I’ve been in the creative field in some variation, for about five years, but I’ve been drawing and making art much longer than that. 

The funny thing about all the self-doubt and self-deprecation is that it doesn’t tend to manifest until you’ve committed to becoming an artist. I decided I wanted to make a living from drawing when I was thirteen. Before then, I was just making art for myself. After committing to being the real deal, the self-doubt began to creep in. Each new drawing became a reminder that I wasn’t where I wanted to be as an artist, and I felt that way for a long time. To this day, actually.

With that feeling of inadequacy comes the imposter syndrome. I’ve wanted to give up a lot. I can safely say though, that every creative person feels this way. I’d even go as far as to say that having that feeling is the only way you can get good at doing this.

The self-doubt, for me, is a sort of barometer that shows that I still care. If I didn’t doubt myself, then there would be no way forward. The doubt is the trade-off for knowing your work can always be better, and that there’s always room to advance.  Vision will always exceed your execution. Good art requires regular discomfort. Doubt is just one of the many voices you may encounter trying to drag you into complacency and convincing you to pursue something easier.

Self-doubt needs to be put in context to be overcome. Doubt can overtake you, and it can put you in some dark places. Especially in the beginning of your artistic pursuit, when you’re just stepping out on that tight rope. It’s daunting, and when not put in check, is overwhelming. Occasionally it will best you, but you just have to keep showing up to do the work regardless. And doing that consistently makes it a little bit easier each time. Understand too, that all the failures you make are essential to being an artist. Not every piece will be a good one. We all have pieces that we don’t like, no matter how skilled you get. They’re all just the next stepping stone to something ultimately better.

Truly, the only thing that has consistently worked for me to overcome self-doubt, is a habit. You need to always be honest with yourself and make sure you’re consistently showing up to make new art. The further you get from the work, the more space doubt has room to grow in. Time compounds the potency of doubt and can extinguish the creative spark completely.

There are countless artists who came before me. Most of them quit. The others though, they kept going in spite of any success they may or may not have had. The fear of succumbing to quitting altogether always brings me back to the studio, despite all the doubts I regularly have. 

That’s my last prescription against doubt: fear of quitting. I’d rather live with a constant sense of doubt, than a life-time of regret knowing I quit something I put so much of my heart into. Aiming for perfection leads to paralysis. Art is inherently human, and humans are inherently flawed. Don’t overthink every part of the work you’re creating. Uncertainty is part of the process, and shouldn’t be feared. It’s usually at its worst when you’re at the halfway point of a piece, the antidote is to push through it anyway.

No one can critique your work and cut you to shreds quite like you can do to yourself. Take all the pessimistic inner thoughts with a very massive grain of salt.

Marta: When you look back at this passing year, was there a situation that stands out, when you experienced those self-doubts and inner demons really hard? What those voices were screaming at you and how did you attempt to quiet them?

Ethan: I don’t have anything unique to this past year where it was particularly harrowing for me. In general, though, self-doubt often becomes particularly potent when I finally finish the piece and let other eyes on it. Whether it’s a gallery, social media, or even a just friend, there’s almost always a gulf of self-doubt — when the piece is no longer just mine to be with. It’s always hard for me to judge whether to keep an artwork to myself or share it. I’ve nearly given up on trying to decide and almost always share what I make. I’m often surprised to find that the pieces I like the least get a lot of adoration, and pieces I am happy with sometimes get the least amount of response. The nugget to glean from this is that you’re often not the best arbiter of the quality of your work. You experience your work so much differently than the audience. After the work is completed, my involvement in it is over and it’s time to hand it over. Making the work is for me to experience, but the final product is for everyone else

You can find more about Ethan at:



Julia Lundman

My name is Julia Lundman. I grew up in the United States in a military family. We frequently moved all over the United States and Germany. I ended up going to art school at the American Academy of Art in downtown Chicago, where I learned so much about becoming an illustrator and working commercial artist. Shortly before I graduated, I began working as a traditional background painter at a commercial animation studio. I did that for about ten or so years. After moving to San Francisco, I started working in games. I’ve art-directed games and animated tv series but not had much time for my personal art until recently. 

For a long time my self-doubt revolved around skill. I felt like I wasn’t skilled enough to really pull off the ideas I had. The way I dealt with that was to dive into classes. I studied nights and weekends at Sadie Valeri’s atelier here in San Francisco for about four years. It was truly a life-changing experience, not only for learning but also learning from her a lot about women’s issues and all the ways we are conditioned to doubt ourselves. Having grown up in a very strict male-dominated atmosphere in the 70’s and 80’s on military bases, I began to realize how many ways I absorbed the subtle and sometimes not so subtle ways that, as a woman, my role wasn’t to be a leader or voice my opinion but to have a comforting and supportive role in life, in the background, always. So, classes for me felt very empowering. I also took a lot of online classes through CGMA and studied at Pixar’s local school, Animation Collaborative. The class there that was really helpful to me was Armand Baltazar’s class on composition and storytelling. 

These days I feel better about my skill, even though I still have more to learn. What concerns me now is what, specifically, I am painting. I find myself drawn to certain fantasy subjects a lot. I am constantly fighting myself internally to follow through on ideas no matter what they are, and the voice inside my head that is screaming “this is so stupid”. Self-judgment haunts me. For instance, I’ve been in love with fairy lore since I was really young. I’ve learned through social media interactions that there are a lot of opinions about how fairies should be drawn, what people expect to see – everything from creepy dark fairies, to Brian Froud style fairies, to Disneyesque fairies, to more feminine traditional fairies. It is quite a loaded subject. It can be difficult at times because I myself don’t know what I want out of the subject, so I try to explore all of it, little by little, drawing by drawing, painting by painting. Maybe some of it feels right to me, maybe some of it doesn’t. After I complete each piece, I know a little more about where I want to go next. Other subjects are pretty much the same, with similar expectations and self-doubt.

One way I have of dealing with self-doubt is usually one of three methods: 1. sketching  2. a more refined drawing/study, and 3. a painting. Sketching in particular feels really liberating to me. That’s where I play with ideas the most, and allow anything to happen. I try not to worry too much about how well I’m drawing, but instead, just let the ideas take the stage and come to life. I like to sketch in the very early morning hours while I’m still sleepy having my morning tea because my brain is sort of caught off guard. What ends up on the page is so often surprising. I really don’t know where the ideas are coming from, somewhere, down there. Like they’ve been there this whole time, asking me to bring them out for a while so we can play. 

Sometimes I like a particular sketch, so I make it into a more refined drawing. If I like the drawing, I’ll make it into a painting. I only bring this method up in a conversation about self-doubt because I am constantly reminding myself that this process starts with me, my ideas on a sketchbook page. And if that’s where they start, then the times when I’m being critical of myself, I am denying myself, too. I’m not allowing myself to have thoughts. I’m not allowing myself to express parts of me and I’m too old now to do that. I have to live, and I have to paint what is there, no matter how silly, sentimental, dark, creepy, or whatever. And I do remind myself, I am a woman, someone who grew up extremely introverted and shy, believing that my voice was unimportant. So now I am battling that, and hopefully, I am winning even if only a little bit.

What would I say to myself? Boy, this conversation is difficult. I would simply say to myself if I were outside of myself talking to me, don’t worry, I love you no matter what you draw. And that is the hardest thing to say of all. The shame that exists around what we make is so real. I don’t understand it. I think it comes from our culture having a lot of opinions about what we do as artists, what is “real” art and what is “low” or “high” art, what is pop culture, what is legit or not legit, who likes our work and who doesn’t, all of it. So again, I would simply say to myself to turn off that noise, just draw, and continue to explore the rag and bone shop where the ideas are lurking.

Marta: When you look back at this passing year, was there a situation that stands out, when you experienced those self-doubts and inner demons really hard? What those voices were screaming at you and how did you attempt to quiet them?

Julia: The thing that stands out the most for me was the lockdown/pandemic, George Floyd being murdered in Minneapolis (where I was born), and the election. It was such an incredibly turbulent and disturbing year. All of a sudden I felt so useless as an artist. I wanted to somehow help, but I couldn’t do anything. When the pandemic began, I emptied our entire fridge and drove to a food pantry to donate it all because I didn’t know how else I could feel useful. I barely slept the first few months. All of the work I had planned felt so dumb all of the sudden. I had all of these happy paintings planned about spring and nature, but we were locked inside. I saw one of my neighbors cleaning all of her groceries with sanitizer and gloves before she brought them into the house. Another neighbor started screaming at people for wearing masks at all. It was so difficult. And seeing the protests online and the horrible treatment of protestors shook me to my core. The lying by the former president, all of it was awful and deeply shocking. So instead of painting anything in color, I made a lot of graphite drawings because that’s how I felt – numb, devoid of color, scared. This year has been a little better, but I’ve strangely had a few months where I wasn’t able to connect with ideas at all. I don’t know why. But the way out, as always, is to just keep working. The alternative is worse. 

You can find more about Julia at:





I hope that you find many things you relate to, as well as new ways to deal with all that on your own journey. What’s beautiful about opening up and sharing our thoughts and experiences is that even if we struggle with the same issues, our perceptions and perspectives might be different. Other people’s thoughts might open new horizons, lead you in directions you haven’t thought of before. It definitely happened for me with all the wonderful guests.

Ethan made me think that maybe we shouldn’t look at self-doubts in a negative light only. Not being satisfied and doubting our own works may push us to constantly keep improving and crossing our own limits. As he said, self-doubt can be a barometer that shows we still care.

Julia Griffin’s advice was to focus on something we enjoy when those harder moments come. Make something that is only for you, with no pressure at all, something that no one has to see. In the business of life, clients, gallery works, and deadlines we forget to create time and space just for ourselves.

Juliet reminded us of focusing on inner success, rather than this measured by the outside world. Remember all those moments when despite all those inner demons you took an action, you decided to keep going and face what scares you. Those personal achievements should be cherished.

Aria shared with us her personal rituals helping her to set on the right path and creating this sense of stability. Look for those little moments in your own practice and remember that the art itself is a gift and could be medicine.

Julia Lundman talked about self-judgment and the kind of shame that comes around what we make. “Is this good enough? Oh, this is stupid…” I think we all relate to that. In her case, sketching for example is very liberating and helps to quiet those voices.

I truly hope that after reading all those beautiful insights and perspectives you feel much less alone with those internal struggles. I surely am 🙂 Please feel free to write in comments your own experiences and ways to deal with inner demons. Let’s share and support each others 🙂

Marta Witkiewicz

Bringing magic into life.

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Marta Witkiewicz

I invite you to take a walk through parts of my world. I hope you will take a spark of magic with you 😉