What Does Your Inner Critic Look Like?!!

8:02 AM

Have you noticed it gets kind of crowded in the studio or in your head, and sometimes it's rather hard to hear yourself think from all the noise? It's our Inner Critics!! Critics can keep up a running dialogue for hours, spewing negativity and making us feel lousy about ourselves, our art, just about everything. Would you like to silence the Inner Critic?!! How you ask? By drawing and painting your critic!


This critic happens to be mine. Some people have monsters for critics. Mine is a very real looking person. (I wish she looked more like the monster that she really is—then it wouldn't be so hard to ignore her!) She spends a great deal of time looking down her nose at everything I do, making hateful, hurtful comments. I've added some of the hateful things she says. You may recognize some of them! I've also included a quick shot of what she look's like on the inside should anyone be fooled (note the fangs)! She seldom smiles and her lips are almost always compressed into a thin line (note the frown lines). She tends to where her hair as if it is a tiara or crown. You'd think she was a queen. She sure thinks she is!

So think about it....what would your critic look like? Monster or person? Male or Female? Normal or not? What voice do you hear when your critic speaks? What do they say? Is it a voice from the past or from the present? These are all clues to what your critic looks and sounds like.

Once you have your critic painted, TAPE their mouth SHUT! Literally. With a piece of tape.


Then prop your painting in an area where you can see it while you're creating your artwork and every time your critic opens their mouth, point to the image and say, "Nope, sorry, you've been silenced! I don't want to hear it!"

This is an assignment we are using in the Artful Journaling: Foundations class, to overcome the clamor of voices from the Inner Critics that would hold us hostage from our creativity. I think you will find this exercise fun as well as wonderful therapy. I disappeared for a couple of hours to create mine. Chris had to come find me and when he looked at what I was doing, he broke into a big smile and said he needed to do that too!

Play, have fun, and make sure the critic has a mouth so you can tape it closed! I invite you to share your critic and link back here!

UPDATE: Some folks have a difficult time taping the mouth of their critic closed. An inverted glass or glass dome works just as well!

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14 Creative Thought(s)

  1. Your inner critic DOES have a nice hairdo, Laure. And I LOVE the idea of taping the mouth shut! Haha!

    Here's one I did in March 2009 ... I'm not sure what it would look like today ... might have to give that a go!

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/the_happy_learner/3395928192/in/set-72157604070931602

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  2. I remember this! Very cool! And you bring up a good point.....inner critics change or at least mine does! They seem to be able to change to whatever is most effective at the time!

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  3. Totally brilliant, Laure. Your IC looks like an evil step-mother. My inner critic tells me there is no way I can manage to paint HER (yep-it's a she)so I may just have to prover her wrong.
    This could catch on! x

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  4. What a fun assignment!!! I may have to think on this a while...I've never envisioned her before! I know she causes me to become immediately down and feel I can never attemp again!!! Then the next thing I do, if the critic likes it, I am the opposite...ready to go again. She seems to be honest, in my case...at least I think she is! Oh, heck, I really don't know...but I feel I do listen to her maybe too much! She may need a taped mouth, actually!!! Hee hee hee! Yours is so interesting! I love the whole composition, Laure!!!

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  5. Perfect description, Gillian! She's definitely evil!

    Julie, I think you would do well to sketch her—just because you are conflicted about her! And taping that mouth shut is a wonderfully, freeing thing to do!

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  6. You DO have such an imagination! Love the tape... although since I live in the South it would have to be duct tape not brown tape ;-)

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  7. Teresa, if I would have had some duct tape, I would have used it! No doubt, that's what Chris will use!

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  8. What an inspired post and assignment, Laure! I'll have to think about my inner critic...I've never pictured her--and yes, I think mine is also female.

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  9. That is an awesome assignment....your critic does appear very stern, good thing you taped her trap shut! Good suggestion! I may have to think on this one myself.

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  10. I can't actually "see" my inner critic. I can feel her. Definitely a female behind that big black curtain that she pulls across my mind from time to time. I would love to see the results of this challenge. I will think about it. You see. There she goes again.

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  11. Hahaaa! I love it, Laure! Well done. I should do this. I think tape might not be enough, though--I'll probably have to muzzle mine. Touche (with an accent, which I don't know how to do here!)

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  12. GREAT idea, all tho mine works overtime and I never really knew others had the same critic in their heads. Mine isn't just around during creativity, mine lives with me more than I would like to admit. I am definitely going to work out a painting and glue staple and tape the mouth opening CLOSED for business.. I really believe my life is grand and wonderful so where this voice that never ends comes from is beyond me. Thanks for the the heads up. your blog is wonderfully full of useful info ( like the distilled water)
    peace n abundance,
    CheyAnne
    http://cheyannesexton.etsy.com

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  13. I just love this exercise - especially the taping the mouth closed. But how do we quiet the voices in our heads? :)

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  14. Lori, the best way I've found to quiet the voices is to make friends with them. As odd as it sounds, the voices are meant to protect us, but over time they get out of control. Acknowledge the voices' fears and then tell them you're going to do the activity—ANYWAY. And then do it. And each time you push through, whether you succeed or not, you'll quiet the voices just a little more and a little more.

    Mistakes are how we learn. Do not fear them. Good luck!

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