Why I sucked at being an artist!
This statement is not quit accurate. I was and still am a good artist when it comes in modeling shapes (plasticine and clay) and drawing (pencil, coal, etc). My weakness are water based painting materials, I don’t have the patience to wait for the final result to show and my strengths, in the other hand, were drawing in only one color with light and dark tones, mainly with a coal pencil. The last piece of work I made was like 3–4 years ago, a digital drawing of a lonely girl crying, in my opinion it is cute and colourful, but it’s one of my favorites because it was the first and last one I made after 5 years without drawing anything.
So my skills haven’t been lost in that time and I know for sure I can still pick up a pencil or my Wacom table and draw some neat stuff for real.
Then why did I write in the title that I sucked as an artist? Well I failed as a professional artist, as a job title, I did managed to win some money with it but never enough. Most of the things I bought for the job (my Wacom digital table for example) was with the money I’ve earned in order to improve my work and my art. But as stated before it wasn’t enough.
While I was studying in university I did some gigs. Every work I’d get came from recommendation, which is wonderful, it meant there was a need for illustrators and designers back then. I thought I would get out with my degree and work as a industrial designer and/or as a digital artist, but I didn’t know how quickly the market changes! This was 5 years ago and the market now changed again and more and more designers are being recruited. I’m very happy for my fellow designers, I really am, it means people are giving us back the value we add before. Although the market was different back in my days it doesn’t mean my failure was it’s fault.
Actually I’m the only one to blame. In my current career I’ve been having more work and more challenges but this is only because I’m practicing what I’ve learned with my past mistakes and they do reflect my present.
So here’s some of my mistakes:
Patience and discipline
I wasn’t patient enough and lacked the discipline to move forward. I didn’t accept that I should give time for introductions, to people analise my work, to accept or understand criticism and to instruct my clients about the benefits of working with me. I could win the trust of people but that took time and time was something I didn’t take easily. People need to process every information they gather when they first meet you and if you show them impatience it will feel like you are trying to force them to buy your products/services. Give people the time they need and let them feel they are making their own decision by wanting your work over another’s.
Gift vs Hardwork
As there are people gifted with speech skills I was gifted in seeing objects in a three-dimensional space.
I was easy to me to visualize an object in a set space and make whatever I wanted with it, transform it, rotate it, re-shape the full object, etc. Afterwards I could draw that object on a paper with the given volume, shape and dynamism that I made inside my mind. This kind of skill wasn’t good just for drawing, it did helped to be great at geometry, woodcraft and clay, it also made me understand and work better with some softwares like AutoCAD and SolidWorks. It was easy to create a kind of pre-product in my mind and set beforehand the tasks I need to do in order to make it. Were I was going to start, what would be the first shape and which details should I left for last.
I was gifted alright but my problem here was the lack of hard work. I used my gift as a shortcut but never tried to achieve perfection as most artists try to do their all lives. I also undervalued the need of scalability of my projects, I didn’t manage a way to break a complex project into smaller pieces in order to avoid overworking myself and get stressed with the time I was taking to finish it.
I tried lots of careers: Illustration, Graphic Design, Industrial Design, Digital Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Music (acoustic guitar), etc. All of these wannabe careers gave me good and bad moments but the real mistake was the loss of focus or, better to say, a lack of direction that I wanted to take.
I never set goals or milestones, didn’t know why I needed them and so to say I never measured my growth in any of these crafts. It’s very important to keep track of all our growth, understand were we get more productive and what makes us lose the pace of our workflow.
Now I’m totally focus on web development, keep a deep track of my achievements, goals and milestones.
You can check some of my late digital sketches in this link here. I haven’t drawn any think for like 3–4 years, but feel free to give me some feedback.
I also recommend video about acquiring skills that we are bad at, just click here to see it. Hope you had a good reading.