Confidence for Creatives: replacing imposter syndrome and self doubt with gratitude and compassion | Kristina Hultkrantz | Skillshare

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Confidence for Creatives: replacing imposter syndrome and self doubt with gratitude and compassion

teacher avatar Kristina Hultkrantz, Illustrator & Surface Pattern Designer

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Welcome to Confidence for Creatives


    • 2.

      My confidence journey


    • 3.

      Self doubt and imposter syndrome


    • 4.

      Is fear holding you back?


    • 5.

      Practice gratitude and compassion


    • 6.

      Tips to boost confidence


    • 7.

      Confidence Boost Mad Libs!!!


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About This Class

Hello Everyone!

Wouldn't it be nice if we all woke up tomorrow and felt 100% confident in ourselves, our work and our careers? What if everyone on the internet was supportive and positive? Crazy right?! Now I can't guarantee that this will happen overnight after watching this class but these next videos should in the very least give you some food for thought and give you some great tips to add a whole lot more positivity, happiness, gratitude and compassion for others around you and most importantly yourself.

If you would like to join my Facebook group for Illustrators and Surface Pattern Designers or other creatives you can join here. We would love to have you!


This class is geared towards everyone on the entire universe. We all have periods of self doubt or dealing with imposter syndrome. This is completely normal and we could all use a happy reminder.


• An open minded, happy, optimistic attitude.

• And a pen to fill out the fun Mad Libs for the class project.


In this class I will be sharing my thoughts about confidence.

We will cover the following:

  • My personal confidence journey
  • Self doubt and imposter syndrome
  • Fear and is it holding you back?
  • How to practice gratitude and compassion
  • My quick tips to boost confidence

I am so excited to share my tips with you and to see what you all come up with in your super fun class project filling out my Confidence Boost Mad Libs!

xoxo Kristina

Follow me and share your work on Instagram @emmakisstina with the hashtag #emmakisstinaxskillshare

Meet Your Teacher

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Kristina Hultkrantz

Illustrator & Surface Pattern Designer

Top Teacher

Hello Everyone!

I'm Kristina Hultkrantz an illustrator and surface pattern designer based in the super quaint small town Mariefred just outside of Stockholm, Sweden. You might also know me as EmmaKisstina on the internet. I've been working with illustration and design since 2007 and have worked full time as a freelance illustrator since 2010 and now a teacher since 2018.

If you'd like to learn more about me or see more of my work or just would like to say hi the best place to find me is in my private Resources for Creatives FB group, EmmaKisstina Insiders or on Instagram! You can also check out my YouTube Channel for free video content or visit my Portfolio Website if you really really want to know all about me :)

More about my work:

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1. Welcome to Confidence for Creatives: Hi, everyone, and welcome to another class with me, Kristina Hultkrantz. I am an illustrator and surface pattern designer from Mariefred, Sweden. I was thinking, wouldn't it be nice if overnight you felt 100% secure with yourself, with your work, your craft, your talent, and your career paths? It would also be super nice, don't you think, if the entire Internet was completely positive and supportive and fun again? Now, I can't say that this video is going to cause that to happen overnight, but it's definitely a nice step in the right direction. With my tips and tricks that are going to be going over in this class, I hope that it will help you to shift your mindset a little bit or to think slightly more positively towards others and definitely towards yourself. As a fun exercise at the end of the class and as your class project, I have created a super duper self-confidence boosting bag lips for you to fill out, and it should give you a major confidence boost and maybe a few giggles, too. Let's start on a journey of letting go of impostor syndrome, saying goodbye to bad self-esteem, self-doubt, and start giving ourselves and others compassion, gratitude, and positivity. Let's go. 2. My confidence journey : To start off with, I always like to tell my side of the story of my journey. I'll make videos that you can kind of get my experiences and know where I'm at. It's self-concept, self-confidence, I think I've always naturally had it a bit, but surprisingly, I was cripplingly shy when I was little. I was so shy that in one I think it was third grade or second grade, that my teacher thought that I was deaf, because I wouldn't answer her when she asked me questions. I was so shy that I didn't dare speak back or answer questions. I guess ignored him because I didn't know what to say or felt awkward. That's my story, my entire childhood through school, I was always that shy girl who never said anything and people would be like, Oh, she said something, you know, and that would make me blush, super be red. I hated it not being able to speak and not feel comfortable in front of a group. If there was ever a project that I had to speak in front of the classes, I was going to pass out and my voice would crack and get only like shaking and I hated it. When growing up, I did ballet and I didn't have to speak. That worked out. We did performances in front of hundreds of people and that didn't make me freak out as much as if I had to speak in front of the audience that would be horrible. But since I was in a group and I knew all the steps and all that stuff. I think that was different confidence boost in another way. I had it control over my body and I knew that the steps and all that steps that really boosted my confidence and I felt very empowered in that way, but still had to work on this public speaking. You'd think that's funny because I am putting myself out here as a teacher online and stories and all the stuff that we do now, but it's kind of different. I'm just standing here talking to myself even though I'm talking to you and many of you as a filmmaker, it's just me and the camera. To boost myself confidence I had always been aware of it being something that I want to work on, that I wanted to be confident when talking to others. I've put myself in such situations where I've had to work on that. I always say yes to when somebody invites me to coffee. Or I always say, I will do a different country, even though I had no friends here in Sweden. I also take steps in my career. I like to do teaching like this, even though I'm not in front of a group of people, but that could happen in the future. I always make sure to not let the fear of public speaking, I guess that's my biggest fear when it comes to self-confidence that I don't feel comfortable with. Something that I always think about and my shyness definitely has worn off as I get older and older, and I noticed that I'm way more comfortable with myself and how I am, as years pass. I wish I was like this when I was a teenager. But everybody's awkward for this when they are teenagers, so it's no big deal. I can only imagine as the years progress, how I will feel more and more empowered and myself and not care what other people think and just want to do my own thing. I think a lot also is tied to how we look and feel. I tried to take good care of myself. I eat right and I exercise and I make sure to take care of the outside. Two, I like to put on nice clothes and I like to put on make up because it makes me feel sexy and feminine and that makes me feel more empowered. Then it makes me feel a little bit more like I can conquer the day. If I'm just going to the grocery store. I think working on your inner self and your own herself it's quick fixes If you just say put on your favorite dress, do kind of [inaudible] boost. When I was younger, I was always incredibly jealous of the kids who act out in class. I thought that that was so impressive and so brave of them that they could just like speak out or be silly or be themselves, or at least do something. I was just so afraid to even answer a question, raise my hand, put myself out there. Now I feel grateful that I was so shy and timid, I guess, then I was very observant. When I sucked up information like a sponge and I noticed how other people were and that's just my personality and I involve it I become more and more okay and comfortable with that. I'm never going to be that person who just walks into the room and talks to anybody and everybody. Just like sparks up conversations like it's is so easy like that comes so difficult to me, but I am working on it and I had acknowledged that and I have accepted that I am who I am. I think that's a pretty big step. I'm always trying to push myself to do things that make me feel slightly uncomfortable and as I do that, I have been boosting myself confidence and it's coming with ages while I felt more and more comfortable with myself and who I am and that feels really great. 3. Self doubt and imposter syndrome : So let's talk a little bit about self doubt, self esteem, all that stuff. It can be connected to many things. You can feel self-conscious about your looks or where you're from, or how you speak, it can absolutely anything, and most of it is arbitrary. It's just things that you have in your own mind and thing that you think other people will notice, but nobody does really. It's hard to tell yourself this when you are feeling down, and you can also feel self-conscious about your creatives, it's a very large part of our identity. So if someone says something bad about your artwork, it's like they're saying something bad about you as a person. You have to have a disconnect with your art and yourself. It's also something that you definitely have to practice and work on. It's difficult. You could also feel self-conscious about where you are in your career or your career path, that you're not as successful as you wish you were, or you think you should be. What about comparing yourself to others? This is quite silly because you're definitely never going to be like them because you are you. If we're going to be super cheesy like that, but it's true, it's a cliche, but it's true. You can strive to be like they are in certain areas. Are they super prolific? Are they always positive when they're talking to their followers or something like that? Do they use beautiful color parts? You can use beautiful color parts too. But their career is never going to look just like your career, and you should probably don't want it to either, because you want your career to be your path. But yeah. There are tons and tons of things that you can feel self doubt around from yourself, your art and your career, your family, your life, everything. So there's a lot of pressure to get a lot of that in check. But if you take small steps and I will be discussing that later, sure we can get to a place that you feel a way more comfortable every day and it's going to feel awesome, I promise. Now I also hope that you're not in a situation where you are surrounded by people who are pushing you down. I hope that you can surround yourself with people who are lifting you up, supporting you, not putting you down. You should be in situations and relationships with peers, loved ones that are positive. It's really important. If you want to change one thing immediately to help you have positive thoughts and radiate positivity and happiness, and gratitude and confidence, it is to surround yourself with other people who also do that as well, or are at least trying. That is a major step one, I'd say. Now we're going to talk about Imposter Syndrome because this seems to pop up all over Instagram or Facebook groups, and it's something that we all definitely have felt at some time or another, depending on different reasons. I felt that the Harvard Business Review had a really good definition of Imposter Syndrome as well [inaudible] know. Imposter syndrome can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success. It doesn't matter, it seems how successful someone is, how many accolades they get, how many amazing projects that they work on. Their work is always not good enough in their eyes or their success is not good enough in their eyes, or they are not good enough in their own eyes. Feel like an imposter like you're thick, it's like me. I can take myself as an example. If I'm feeling really low about myself for whatever reason, sometimes you go into a little dark hole. You've got beliefs up out of that. But anyways, I can think why am I a teacher, I don't know anything. I haven't been doing this very long. My success isn't as good as this person so, so and so and so. I don't make as much money as they do. I don't get as many cool projects. I've never worked with these huge brands. But I had to stop myself and think, what about all these other brands that I've worked with and all these other amazing projects, and then I get to create earn for a living, every single day. Pretty being lucky, I'd say. So you just have to go to constantly pull yourself out of these thoughts. Yeah, sure it's going to be human to have these thoughts on occasion, but it's also incredibly important that you make sure to constantly pull yourself back to reality, that person's success isn't what you want. You want their success to look like this and this and this, and every day you're doing this, this and this to get yourself there. It's time to give yourself a little perspective and context that what you're doing, even if they're small wins to other people, that they're huge for you, or if you do have find huge success, if you invent something, if you create a piece of artwork that is bought by a huge company, come on. Celebrate those wins, celebrate yourself, you did a good job. They liked it. They reached out to you and they enjoyed your artwork so much that they wanted to put on this product. So and so or work with you who knows. It's time to give yourself a pretty good pat on the back, and just enjoy it for the moment. To go back and look at all your achievements, even if they are teeny-tiny, that you learned how to open up an Illustrator file, or if you learn how to post onto Instagram stories, or they're all huge wins if you add them all up and after years and years, you can start to maybe enjoy bigger and bigger wins if you sell an artwork, a favorite artwork, maybe, to your favorite company, how amazing would that be? I think it's important to admit to yourself, that you have these kinds of thoughts, and I think it's incredibly important that you either share it with yourself internally and go through your thought processes, or even better share it with a family member or a peer group if you are in some kind of Facebook group where you feel comfortable telling other people that you are dealing with this because I am a 100 percent sure that we all are dealing with it at some point as well. 4. Is fear holding you back?: What about fear? Fear is a big one. Being afraid to put yourself out there, being afraid that someone is going to be putting your work down or you down. Now, I try not to be fearful of these things because there's always going be rude people on the internet who are going to say nasty things, but unfortunately it's going to affect you and effect your day, but you can't let that brew. It has nothing to do with you, it has all to do with them. Why are they taking their time to put you down? What is wrong with them seriously? They need a major reality check and they may need your help. That's all I can say to that. I would say, don't feed into drama, and don't let fear hold you back. The majority of the time, only good things are going to happen if you put yourself out there. You are going to share your work with the world. You're going to share your prospective with the world, and lots of great things can happen. In the creative world, you can get tons of compliments. How fun is that if people loved the newest artwork that you created, and think it's so beautiful. What if somebody wants to buy it? That's the biggest compliment of all that they want to adore on their walls with it on a beautiful wallpaper or they want to have it on a t-shirt or whatever. Something like that. Pretty big compliment. For the most part, only good things can happen. It is scary enough to take like a little boosted bravery to press that post button sometimes, but just do it. The more that you do, take seconds to put yourself out of your comfort zone, share, put yourself out there or feel more and more comfortable, and you're not going to always create work that's 100 percent perfect. You're not always going to get 50 comments saying that your work is amazing, some days maybe you'll just get one, and it will just be your mom. That's pretty nice too. I want you also to realize that failure maybe isn't failure, or mistakes aren't just mistakes, but they're opportunities for you to learn and grow. Everything that you mess up on or fail at, you actually have completely learned something new and you're working towards building your experience and yourself up, and that's very important. It would be very weird if you never messed up ever. It's important to fail, but make sure that you fail forward as many people say. Make sure to fail upwards or to use what you failed at or you made a mistake at and actually learn from it so you don't do it again. That seems pretty smart to me. Do you get where I'm going? For with this video, I just want you to think positively. I don't want you to hold yourself back. I just want you to try new things, put yourself out there, and self confidence is a major practice. You have to practice at it. You have feel positive, you have to force yourself maybe to think positively. Might feel uncomfortable at first, but once you start practicing being happy, trying to be happy, being happy, having positive thoughts, radiating confidence, trying to radiate confidence at least, it will naturally start taking over your life, and you will be positive, and you will be happy and you will be confident. It will happen. 5. Practice gratitude and compassion: I want you guys to start practicing gratitude and compassion not only for all the people around you. Your family, your peers, just random people on the Internet, but definitely 100 percent for yourself. If you are grateful for where you are in your journey with art, if you're just starting out, how cool is that you're going to be going in a career path that you are dreaming about on the success ladder, think about all that you've already achieved and all the possibilities and opportunities that you have to achieve. Compassion for yourself and others is also super important. If you're working really hard, you are doing what you love and you're sharing it with the world, that is pretty huge, you're doing a great job, don't be so hard on yourself. It's something that you're going to have to practice every day and all moments of your life. My dad once told me that you should never use don't or not in a word. You should always word things in a way that's positive and I thought that that was really good because instead of writing a sentence that is negative or apologizing for yourself all the time. Instead of saying, I'm sorry, I'm late, say thank you for your patience waiting for me. Stuff like that. Just changing your outlook so that you're always on the positive side, always happy, compassionate with yourself. I also really want you to start accepting compliments. Stop saying no, no. If someone compliments you on what you're wearing, say thank you. No, not this. This is the old shirt. What everybody always says, or if somebody compliments you on your work and the amazing colors you use or the way that she drew a certain item in the illustration pattern, whatever it is that you're working on, say thank you or say, "Yes, exactly" that, "I was really into this col-our palette" or "I was inspired by this and this", it's way more exciting for someone who gives you a compliment to find that you enjoyed receiving the compliment rather than, "No, I don't deserve it." How lame is that? Accept compliments and give genuine compliments back. 6. Tips to boost confidence: Then to end this class about self confidence, I thought that I would give you some quick tips on ways to boost your confidence. Number one, I think you should be keeping some kind of pep folder either on your computer or on your phone. Take screenshots every time someone sent you a beautiful message or a positive comment, or you get an email from somebody that says something nice to you, or they're just makes you feel great. Every time you feel a little bit low, down on yourself that a pattern isn't coming together, or you just can't find inspiration to draw today, go into that folder that you have on your phone or computer and read through some of those and see if it just helps you snap out of it a little bit. Second tip is to journal or talk to somebody. Journaling is something that I have enjoyed doing. I don't journal a lot, but I do have like a five-year journal where I write a few lines per day about what I've been doing and what I've been grateful for. I talk a lot about gratitude there just because I am so grateful for my situation, my life, and my family. If you are going through something, it's great to put it out on paper, if you just want to sort through your own thoughts. If you are feeling like an impostor in your industry or you can't figure out something, and you're starting programs, I mean, you are just so frustrated that you're never getting anywhere; the stuff that we tell ourselves, and you feel like you're in a pit and can't get out, then I think journaling, writing it all out, what you're thinking is going to help you sort through the thoughts. You'll get it out on paper at least. Next step would be to bring it to other people in your industry, in your community or family, somebody who understands what you're going through, has been in the same situation is really great. I actually run a Facebook group called [inaudible] in the Insiders. If you are interested in joining, I have Monday discussions where we share our Monday struggles and we get help if there's anything that we're struggling with, either personally, professionally, with our business or like technically with a drawing, anything. That's a great way that you can share with the group and get support. It's incredible. Also on Fridays, we share our highs and lows of the week. So we share our wins and we cheer each other on, and those are important to share too. If we can continue to cheer each other on, that is not so bad, you can do it, all those things. I'll leave the link in the description below if you would like to join us and join that conversation. My third tip is to master a new skill. If you are aspiring to be pattern designer, learn how to make the best patterns that you can. Constantly practice that skill, and once you learn the skill, once you master it, celebrate it, share it with everybody you know that you create this pattern or you learned how to do this kind of pattern, or you learned how to do this kind of thing. Constantly try to learn new things and then try to be as good as you can't at it, and then try to learn another thing after that. Tip number four is to surround yourself with like-minded people who are positive and cheer you on. I touched on this with my journaling and talking to a group, but I think it's definitely important to have friends in the industry or even just people on the Internet that you don't really know, but you still can talk to you because we're in the same situations. Again, I'd love to have you in my Facebook group if you'd like to join and hang out with us and chat about all of the fun things that have to do illustration and service pattern design in this industry. How crazy it is and how fun it is, and rewarding, and incredible. So great to have a group of people that will cheer you on. You can also start accountability groups with your peers so that you can cheer each other on, and if you have questions that you have; like a small group of people that you can really be open with and sharing good advice and support, that would be incredible. I recently started a small group with two other teachers and illustrators, and it's going to be so helpful to have their support, advice, and friendship. Then my last and final tip, number five, is to treat yourself to a "me day". It seems vain and silly, but taking care of yourself has huge effects on your mood, and how you present yourself to the world. If you feel good about yourself on the outside, and then you feel [inaudible] yourself on the inside, it's all going to come together and you're going to be superhuman, wonderful person that radiates positivity wherever you go and causes smiles and the rainbow is going and you're [inaudible] so just everywhere. It's magical. We can strive for that at least. Maybe just a pinch. We don't want to go overboard. We definitely don't want to go to the path of narcissism and being mostly strictly on that, its still important to be humble. But little bit more positivity, little bit more feeling good about yourself is really important. Buy yourself a new pair of shoes. Put on a little makeup if that makes you feel empowered and beautiful. Fix your hair, maybe brush it. Anything that causes you to feel a little bit better about yourself, do it, it's important. Take that Me Day. T [inaudible] that's it. Those are my five quick tips for boosting your confidence, and I really hope that they help. It's a practice, you got to continue to keep putting yourself out there, pushing yourself to do things that you are fearful of. Remember to admit to yourself that you are having troubles comparing yourself to others or feeling like an impostor. Remember to keep practicing taking yourself out of those situations, those thoughts, and replacing them with lots of opportunity, gratitude, and compassion. 7. Confidence Boost Mad Libs!!!: Alright, everyone. That is it. Thanks so much for watching this class and I really do hope that it has shifted your mindset, even just a pinch. That you are going to take some of these things with you later on as you develop your career, and your talent, and work on your craft. It's really important that you feel confident in yourself and your work. Then that's going to help you move forward. Be a better person and all that jazz. As a fun exercise, the class project is to fill out the Mad Libs that I've created. It's a super-duper, mega confidence boost, pep talk for yourself. You can fill it out, have some giggles. Share it in the class project if you feel comfortable. We're all going to be cheering you on in the comments. That's it for me. Thanks so much for taking this class again. You can hang out with me on Instagram at MKristina , also in the Facebook group that I run, MKristina Insiders. I'll leave all the links below. I would love to have you there. Get to know you, support you, cheer you on, and help you with your creative career and your creative competence. I'm so jazzed. This was so fun to film. You should see all the cuts where I was radiating like unicorn rainbows. Bye