If you’ve followed me online or taken any of my classes, you’ve probably heard me stress the importance of sharing your work online.
It may seem like an obvious thing to do, or maybe not even important, but it is VITAL to your development as a sketcher! Here’s are 5 reasons why:
1. The Internet is Forever
Putting your work online is a way to make it live on longer. You can keep your work in sketchbooks on a shelf, but there are some major drawbacks to keeping your work ONLY in physical formats:
- Sketchbooks take up space, and they’re heavy. I’ve moved a fair amount and my my book boxes are always my least favorite to move and pack!
- Sketchbooks can be lost or damaged. A sketchbook of mine somehow slid out of my backpack on a plane and I never saw it again. I’m sad I don’t have the physical copy, but I’m not too upset because I posted pictures of every sketchnote on my Instagram. The physical book is lost, but the photos I took are not!
- Keeping your work in a digital format can be easier to search through with tags, labels, and galleries. If you’re diligent with your documentation, searching your past work can be a breeze!
2. Posting online forces you to be regularly confronted with your strengths and weaknesses
No one likes being confronted with their shortcomings. We hate being reminded of our failures and try to ignore them as much as we can. Do you go back and study your old work? Do you look at your old notebooks to learn from your mistakes, try something new, or get better at a skill? My guess is “no.” It’s easy to ignore a closed notebook on a shelf… it’s not easy to ignore a social profile full of past work. It’s like a regular confrontation with yourself! I don’t know about you, but I am motivated to improve when I look at my past work. We’re our own worst critics, but we’re also our own greatest motivation!
3. You are an inspiration… yes, YOU!
You may not think so, but someone out there thinks your work is amazing. They want to sketch like you. They want to be as good as you, and looking at your work makes them believe that they can do it.
You’re probably thinking “Yeah right. I can barely draw and my calligraphy is beginner-level. NO ONE is inspired by me.”
But you’re wrong! You are an inspiration to people who don’t draw at all and have never tried calligraphy. They see the pros and it feels unobtainable, but they see you and think “I think I can try that!” Being inspiring is not just for long-tenured professionals… everyone is an inspiration to someone. When you don’t show your work, you miss out on the opportunity to be that inspiration for someone else. Don’t hold back!
4. Practice Bravery
Sharing your work is a vulnerable act, whether you’re confident in your abilities or not.
One time I went to an author’s workshop and took sketchnotes. It wasn’t my best work ever, but I was proud of it, and my friends encouraged me to show him. Afterward, I got in line to meet the author and show him my sketchnote. The author didn’t say anything positive like “Oh neat! Thanks for showing me.” He just looked at it, grunted, and gave me the once-over to see if I had a book for him to sign. I felt like a pile of trash after that interaction… like an inconvenience. Most speakers think sketchnotes are cool and love to know that their audience was listening and engaged and created something out of their content. but this guy was a huge grump. Experiences like this are pretty few and far between, but they still happen. It’s important to share your work with others, even if they don’t get it or don’t appreciate it.
Sharing your work on social media might feel like you’re inviting criticism, but I’ve found it to be the opposite. Most people online love to encourage and compliment. There are always a few rotten eggs, but it’s also important to learn how to receive criticism and know when to block a troll. You don’t share for affirmation, you share for growth.
5. Stay top of mind
Sharing your work regularly helps people remember you exist. We’re bombarded with posts, reels, tweets, images, likes, notifications, emails, ads, and videos every day. If you post once a month, how likely it is that anyone will remember you with all of that noise? Creating work regularly and sharing it regularly helps people remember you. If you want to grow your audience or become a professional, staying top of mind is one of the most important things you can do!
Hopefully, you’re convinced that sharing your work is important to you AND to others! I hope you can get out there and share your work! You’re always welcome to share in the free Sketch Academy Community, and I also feature a sketch from the community in every newsletter, which you can submit here.