Working in the world of Animation is a wonderful occupation. One where we get the opportunity to be creative and use our imagination to express ourselves, bringing characters to life on the screen in all their splendor. Yet even with this fun and exciting art form, there are times when artists can go through the dreaded feeling of self-doubt and pressure.


At times it can feel as though what was once a dream come true can start to feel like a nightmare. The same thing that inspires you can be the same thing that intimidates you. Surrounded by exceptionally talented artists, you can start second guessing your own abilities. Doubting that you belong, questioning your capability to produce the work that is required.

How do you overcome this mind game and create the work that is being asked of you?

You are more than capable, if only you could see beyond the pressure. 

When we put so much pressure on ourselves to hit a home run right out the gate, to be perfect with no mistakes, it opens us up to feeling seriously overwhelmed. We break down and feel like throwing in the towel, over-thinking and spinning the wheels in our mind saying, “I’m not good enough”.

Sitting there thinking, “I can’t do it”. Everything starts feeling heavy as though you are sinking in quicksand.

Move, get up and stretch that body. Step away from your desk and walk outside. Let the cool breeze kiss your cheek as you breathe in the fresh air. Take a moment to realign and clear your head. Allow yourself to calm those overwhelming thoughts.

It is in this space where we begin to let go of the fear. Where we see that the challenge is no longer scary but is something that we can do, and not only can we do it, but it is something that we are excited to sink our teeth into. We go back inside refreshed and feeling more inspired, remembering why we chose to be an animator in the first place. Looking around and acknowledging our colleagues and teammates, the people that chose to play in the sandpit of animation too. We realize that we have allies beside us, here to walk with us on this journey. We can look to them for guidance, show them our explorations and ideas, and ask for feedback. We learn from each other and that is when the pressure starts to lift. There is always someone who is willing to lend a helping hand. Everyone around us is going through the pressure and dealing with it in their own personal way. When we bond together and see that the challenge is a team effort and not a solo one, then the situation feels like it can be accomplished. No longer a nightmare, the dream becomes fun once again.

When we stop falling into self-criticism, judgement, and negative opinions, then we can begin to be at peace with ourselves and start to think with a much clearer outlook.

We may not have the confidence and knowledge right now, but when you know in yourself that you are here to learn, that will bring out the curiosity in you. Enabling you to open up and expand your knowledge, which in turn will build your confidence. Remember you are a work in progress, a sponge absorbing what works and filtering out what does not. Understanding that perfection is an illusion that can feel paralyzing. Allow for trial and error, learn and take action.


Look at how far you have come, what you are afraid of today will soon become an obstacle of the past. You are ambitious and with that pressure will no doubt rear its ugly head from time to time, just remember that it takes pressure to make a diamond.

Pressure does not have to be a showstopper. It can feel heavy, yes, but when we see pressure for what it is, a self-imposed fear of messing up and being ridiculed. We can try and turn things around and do our best to contribute from a place that is not focused on how we look, but more about “How can I bring value and joy to those that will experience this work?”, then the pressure feels more like a signal that you are prepared to take your knowledge to another level. And with that, it can feel far more rewarding.

Happy Animating.

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Michael Morgan is an animation industry veteran who has worked as a CG Animator for over a decade for companies like DNEG, Cinesite, and MPC. He also has extensive experience working as a Character and Creature animator and is highly regarded by many as an expert in his field.

If you’re interested in finding out more about Michael please visit his Twitter and LinkedIn profiles and learn more about SyncSketch on our blog.