Photo credits Edu Lauton

How to Overcome Fear of Failure Just by Finally Doing It

There are so many talks about designer’s problems procrastination, impostor syndrome and more. I’m personally familiar with those issues because they are often guests in my design life causing pitfalls now and then. One of such curveballs is fear of failure that paralize you entirely. Moreover, your are stuck and your own mind is your biggest enemy at that moment. Yes, terrifying feeling. But it is temporary that is what I’ve learnt through my life dealing with this issue and here is a case in point.

‘Design Makes Everything Possible’ sticker by InVision

A lot of designers are using some sort of graphic tablets (aka Wacom). I was presented with some a few years ago. Yes, back those days when I was just trying myself in the field of website design. Things went the way where my Intuos and I didn’t get along. And it was moving from one shelf to another for years. I’ve never been a big artist and have never attended any art school, though (but would like if I were back into the past — another story for another article). Eventually, I’ve decided that tablet doesn’t work for interface design. Oh, I was so wrong

Rough doodle (Wacom Intuos 5 Touch)

Dear tablet, I’m sorry for that, you don’t deserve to be abandoned, sorry for figuring out only now.

Sincerely, your owner

You know what —it was just an excuse to hide fear — fear to fail, fear to deliver low-quality results because of the lack of skills and experience with this device (yeh, you caught me on perfectionism — one more skeleton in my closet)

Surely, there were new attempts occasionally but everything ends up the same way — putting tablet aside assuring myself it is not for me.

This week, I’ve completely dwelled in the project of wrought fences, gates and stuff like that. When the product itself is all about tendrils and antique it just felt right to add some classy illustration to the call-to-action area. The goal was clear — to add a visual emphasize and set the right mood for the whole user experience on this website. Normally, I’d take magic mouse and craft visualization with shapes in Adobe Illustrator and result could be pretty cute and delightful. But this time, there was something different. My hand was leaning toward to the drawer in my desk to get rejected Wacom. The demons of fear and misery were shocked and shouted

Rough doodle (Wacom Intuos 5 Touch)

What are you doing? You don’t suppose to touch this! Have you forgotten all the bad feelings you had the other day? What’s going on we are losing our power and influence on your mind?

Yeh, the mind was free and crystal clear. The reason for that was confidence. At first glance, it might be cheesy to tell you about self-confidence when so many articles endorse you to find it and stick to this shiny thing. But stop — it is not that type of confidence I’m talking about. This time it was a true belief in what is right for the product, for the task you’re trying to accomplish. Genuine care about something external made that moment so remarkable and meaningful. Stepping aside with your own ego for awhile is such a blessing for your own mind so it grants your personality with extra powers to defeat fears, struggles, insecurities and more.

Rough doodle (Wacom Intuos 5 Touch)

The motto of this enlightenment is ‘Yes I can!’ (like Obama once said, you know that historic moment, right?)

Yes, I can draw it with my own hands no matter what hurdle may come out on my way to the final result. Surely, there would be some. It is a natural process of learning and personal growth.

It took me one evening to figure out the basics of how graphic tablet works and a few hours next day to have some results.

There was an idea in my head that seems to be a right feet for the top of fold area and I was definite about implementing into design of this page. First, I made a rough paper sketch to see it outside-my-head perspective. Surprisingly, in my imagination it looked prettier :D

But these mismatches don’t stop me. I’ve already known from past experience that keep going is the best way to do things. So here I’m enjoying how everything seemed easy and thrilling this time. Even if the first drawings were shitty it was okay because it is a beginning.

Shitty first draft :D that makes me laugh

Any of great artists doesn’t deliver marsterpieces within their first drafts. There are numerous iterations. This is what I was telling myself to keep going drawing-deleting and so on to get something worth showing.

Somewhere in the middle of tackling vector paths into shapes I came up with this fence covered with grunge texture. It was close to the vision I head in my head and the paper sketch you saw above.

But still this is an in-between illustration that goes well for a foundation of something better. And it was. It was obvious what’s missing here — details. Hence, next step — add some fine touches here and there making illustration alive. Objectives were floral add-ons and bricks refinement. When fence required Illustrator shapes to keep everything straight, tree above was completely different story. Floral part was a free flight of imagination that resulted in hand-drawn leaves and blossom. Quirky style of the branches and flowers made a good balance of straight lines and restrained shapes of the fence beneath the tree in the final outcome. Btw, here is…


You know what… still there was a gap and strange feeling that can’t be explained. Everything pointed that this illustration still was missing something, some sort of the final period in the end of the sentence. Such metaphor brought me to the vase with a plant. Circles give you a hint about other possible circles :D

This is how the vase appeared on the top of the brick column. And a texture of dots showed up in the top of the header. It was a final touch, the period I needed here to end up the story.

Support this shot on dribbble

Having all that said, just would like to sum up everything into the final message. Keep going with your stuff and pursuits even if it frightens you or if it causes pain. It is temporary. The efforts you make will pay off evenly and above that.

Btw, mouse is not an option for me anymore.

Have a similar story of your own how to overcome fears or design challenges share it with the rest of the world 😉

Thank you for reading!

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Maker. Designer. Developer.