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Christoph Niemann: How to Overcome the 3 Fears Every Creative Faces

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Published on Sep 3, 2015

About this presentation

In this 99U talk, illustrator Christoph Niemann shares his three biggest fears: the fear of not being good enough, the fear that our work will be irrelevant, and the fear of running out of ideas. Each of these cripple our process in different ways, but as Niemann explains (complete with hilarious illustrations), there are solutions we can apply to each.

Push yourself to learn new things, embrace the grumpiness, and realize that there’s nothing wrong with you when you feel anxious or nervous—it’s just part of the job.

Watch more: http://www.99u.com/videos

0:35 Why did I become a creative?
2:19 What's wrong with me?
3:14 Fear separates in 3 grand themes
4:20 People will always judge you by your best work
4:43 "I'm not good enough"
4:48 Solution - Practice and become better
5:55 Through sheer craft, you can create very good work
6:32 One thing that's dangerous about focusing on craft
7:00 "My work is predictable, soon I will be broke"
7:51 Solution - Worry, doubt and agonize!
8:25 How do you focus on work when you have to worry about money?
9:01 Impact on creativity
9:54 Where are you heading creatively?
11:04 Social media is designed to mess with insecurities
12:51 "I'm out of ideas"
13:03 Solution - Create.
13:40 Goal of a creative
14:20 The 20% Rule
16:15 Play as work
18:18 How important the process is
18:43 It's not about the "a ha!" moment


About Christoph Niemann

Christoph Niemann is an illustrator, artist, and author. His work has appeared on the covers of The New Yorker, Time, Wired, The New York Times Magazine and American Illustration, and has won awards from AIGA, the Art Directors Club, and The Lead Awards. His corporate clients include Google, Amtrak, Herman Miller, and The Museum of Modern Art. He is a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale.

Since July 2008, Niemann has been writing and illustrating the whimsical Abstract City, a New York Times blog, renamed Abstract Sunday in 2011 when the blog’s home became The New York Times Magazine. For his column he draws and writes essays about politics, the economy, art, and modern life. He has drawn live from the Venice Art Biennale, the Olympic Games in London, the 2012 Republican Convention, and he has drawn the New York City Marathon—while actually running it.

Niemann is the author of many books, most recently Abstract City. His latest project is an interactive, animated app called Petting Zoo. In 2010, he was inducted into the Art Directors Club Hall Of Fame. His artworks have been subject to numerous exhibitions, most recently at Gallery Max Hetzler in Berlin.

About 99U


The 99U delivers the action-oriented education that you didn't get in school, highlighting real-world best practices for making ideas happen.

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