Terry Runyan builds artists’ confidence as she shares her own struggles with self-doubt.
Kansas City–based artist Terry Runyan facilitates a worldwide community of creatives supporting one another in their unique, innovative pursuits. While Terry herself is a visual artist, she’s created a platform on YouTube and social media for everyone who needs encouragement while pursuing their dreams in various creative fields. Part of Terry’s appeal is her willingness to share her own struggles with self-doubt, which every creative can identify with, while encouraging them to set those aside to bring their creative visions to life. In an interview, Terry shared how she discovered her meaningful work as a creative encourager.
What was your early intro to art?
I had a very rocky start to my career as an artist. I had a voice going off in my head that consistently said I’m not good enough. Even with this voice and years of doing everything else besides art, I found the career of illustration and thought I would give it a go. I knew I was sort of okay at drawing, so I submitted a portfolio and went back to college at the age of 25.
When did you first consider making a career of art?
Mostly I think I backed into art as a career because nothing else seemed to call to me. I worked hard through school and got recognition for what I was doing. This started to build a (shaky) bit of confidence, but the bigger changes in how I see myself as an artist didn’t start happening until later in my career, although there were glimpses along the way.
What helped you build your confidence as an artist?
It was about 2011 that I started drawing on my iPhone with the Brushes app and found it pretty fun and quick. I then moved into using pencils on paper again just for fun. (I was mostly doing digital art by that time.) Doing art just for fun was pretty new to me. I’d done most of my art to please others. The shift to doing art for fun opened up all sorts of new ways of seeing myself as an artist and creative person.
How has your approach to art evolved?
After I retired from a 30-year career to pursue an interest in nonobjective painting, I went through many stages of learning and experimenting with larger-scale paintings, but I didn’t feel settled with this exploration. I was confused and feeling like my work needed to have a purpose, so I found myself in a bit of a jam…again.
This is when I came across a new understanding around where our experiences in life were coming from. I’d been a “spiritual seeker” most of my life. This new understanding I was having merged with what I’d experienced in the past with innate well-being and peace. Since that time I’ve expanded my exploration to include deeper understandings of who we truly are.
How did you find your niche as a creative encourager?
I had a sense that I might have something helpful to share with others around seeing art and life in a new way. I made a decision to start talking and sharing on video even though I had all kinds of fear around being on camera or speaking in public. Something in me wanted to move forward anyway because I knew, whatever happened, I am fine. I was no longer being stopped by my old habitual (negative) thinking. This is not to say it doesn’t chime in—and often. The difference is that I don’t believe it or listen to it like I used to. It comes and goes without my having to do anything with it. Fleeting…and not me!
As I continue exploring and sharing on YouTube, I’m mostly surprised with what comes forward. It seems to come into focus as I create, whether it’s an artwork and/or video for YouTube. What I’m sharing is expanding and deepening as I go along. There’s no end to the amazing insights and experiences that present themselves in the moment. More and more, I experience life as a mystery unfolding!
You can find ongoing art inspiration from Terry on Instagram, and watch more of her inspiring videos on YouTube any time you need encouragement. To access many free resources for creatives, be sure to visit her website, where you can also find merch featuring her whimsical work!