Getting that blank stare when you tell people what you do?

getting that blank stare when you tell people what you do? blog post @twoeasels

Motivational pep talk time!

I wrote this as a Newsletter first, but then I decided that I see this way too much. Artists, or beginner artists being embarrassed or just plain angry when they get that blank stare from people after they say what they do for a living.

Whether it's painting, drawing, lettering, craft making or anything else in the crafty category. Some people just don't know what it is that we do. But why should that be our problem?

So let's get to it.


I’ve had my own business for a little over two years now. But only recently, like a couple of weeks ago, I finally realized that I’m comfortable telling people what I do. And not being embarrassed by it.

Ever been there?



The dreaded question "What do you do for work?"

People always ask, it’s a normal question people get asked every day, nothing special about it. But when my answer is “I do hand lettering” I’m met with blank stares. Oh how I hate the blank stares. Or all the questions that follow, usually asking if I do portrait painting. Ugh no.

I'm tired of the blank stares

Let me tell you a little story, that still lingers in my mind.

Here’s what happened about a year ago, and when I think about it now it still makes me mad.

I ran into this girl I used to work with about 8 or 9 years ago. We were just talking about random things and of course, the subject of work came up. She asked me what I do and I told her I do Hand Lettering, mostly teaching it with courses and such.

Cue in the blank stare.

So I proceeded to explain a little about what it is, she asked if I do wedding invitations, I said, no. She asked if I do calligraphy, I said no, it's different, and a couple other questions.

By this point, I was feeling embarrassed about what I do. Like, I had to defend myself and my choice of work. Feeling like I was not good enough or up to her standards. 

So, feeling flustered and awkward, I just told her that I make the same amount of money as I used to at my day job, while basically being home with my kids all day and not having to answer to “the man” and I just showed her my Instagram so she could get the picture.

Still, blank stare and an “uh huh”. 

Let’s just say, when I left I was pretty angry, at her, at me and at everyone who thinks I don’t work, who thinks that I just play with markers all day, at everyone who thinks that working a dead end job is better than following your passion. And even making a living with it is somehow not enough for them. 

UPDATE: She opened up her own crafty Etsy shop, (insert eye roll).


Starting the year of right

Recently I’ve been proudly telling people what I do, when I say Hand Lettering or Art, I don’t explain, I just move on with the conversation. If they want to know they can ask or look it up on their own time.

I’m done being embarrassed, because while they’re sitting at work hating every minute of it, or coming home after a day of not seeing their kids, I can proudly say I loved every second of my day, spending time with the little ones, no matter how much of a mess they make, and getting to do what I LOVE. 

3 Things to keep in mind
before you get angry at the blank stare giver

1. For every blank stare there is someone who will love your art

Have you had people be truly interested in your art, or compliment you or even ask a bunch of questions, in a good way? Think of them and those conversations instead of the blank stare.

2. You're doing it for you not them

If you love what you do, do it. Don't be discouraged by the haters out there. They are like those middle school bullies, looking for attention and jealous. 

3. Don't let insecurity cloud your judgement

Just because you feel insecure or not good enough, doesn't mean they think that about you. Sometimes we feel like we're not good enough, so we shy away from being proud about what we do. Remember that you are your worst critic, and not everyone around you thinks you suck, lol.



Don't be afraid to tell people you're an artist

So if you’re ever in that position just remember that you are worth it, you are on the right path and don’t be afraid to shout it out with pride.

Creativity is important to this world

Even when the other 90% don’t even realize it. Can you imagine a world without greeting cards, paintings, simple t-shirt designs, those pretty floral prints on dresses or pillowcases? That’s all art, someone had to design it, paint it. That’s what people don’t see. They just see us playing with paint. But if artists were to go away, they would be singing a different tune and their homes would look pretty bare.


Stay strong

Don’t be sorry

And do what you love, always.


Leave comment below with your silly story of when you were embarrassed, let's work on being more confident together.