how to handle rejection

How to Handle Rejection as an Artist?



You submit your art for a show or publication. It takes ages to hear anything back, and then finally, when you do — your art is politely but clearly rejected.

Ouch! No one likes to be turned down and it’s easy to take it personally. But despite the pain of rejection, there’s a lot to be learned even from rejections.

What to Do When Your Art gets Turned Down

When one of the members of the Sketchbook Skool community was recently turned down by a gallery’s selection committee, a lively discussion ensued. Here are ten tips that emerged that can help you to get over the rejection.

1. Remember: You weren’t rejected, your art was.

2. You made the art, so you like it. You’d buy it if it wasn’t yours already, so it’s good. It’s just not for this particular show.

3. Shows and judges are often looking for a certain thing. One day your work will be that thing. Until then rest assured there are other people who love your work. And they matter more!

4. This may be your first time, or it may have happened before. Print and save all your rejections, like a badge of honor. Or maybe when you do succeed you can say “See? It only took x number of tries!”

5. Without your artwork locked up in an art show, you can keep developing and growing as an artist. And that’s what’s important.

6. Next time, before submitting, try to do more to analyze what they are looking for in the art show or exhibition. Make sure your goals align with the gallery’s.

7. Keep submitting.

8. You may be scared the next time, because perhaps you struggle with confidence. But submit your work anyway – it’ll feel better than not trying at all.

9. If it doesn’t kill you, it only makes you stronger. View rejection as making you strong enough to manage spectacular success lurking around the corner.

10. Get your pens, paints and brushes out again, and keep going.

Being an artist means taking risks and putting yourself out there. But you don’t have to do it alone.

  • Join a creative community in your town or online so you can share resources, experience and support.
  • If you’d like to be part of our group of thousands of creative people of all levels from around the world, you can enroll for a kourse at SBS.
  • Or just apply to join our supportive Facebook group.

Hang in there, keep sharing your work, and we can’t wait to see what you are making.

2 mins

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