Wednesday, 1 July 2015

The Best Tips

Sometimes I'm interviewed (oh, it sounds so nobly) by magazines, e-zines and/or curious students. Almost always a question like "The Best Tip/3 Tips/5Tips for Aspiring Artists" appears.
Here are some tips which were especially valuable for me. I'm not sure if they're truly revealing, but here they are anyway:

1. "Everything you do proves who you are"
These were words of a professor from my faculty, which really stuck in my memory. At first glance it can seem obvious, but acting according this rule is extremely important (especially in the Internet Age). The way you contact with people interested in your works, the way you comment other artists' works, the photos you submit to various social media, blog entries you write - all it shows if you are trustworthy, diligent, meticulous, respectful towards others etc.  

2. Beginnings are usually hard, so be patient 
and do not lose your enthusiasm. During studies I was told that after 2 years of an everyday drawing, the results begin to become bearable. After 5 years you can call yourself a professional. After 10 years you have a chance to become a master (supposedly).  

3. No excuses!  
Have fun with your artistic activity but... if you treat drawing/painting/designing seriously, you should be a severe reviewer of your works. Being over-enthusiastic about your achievements can only prevent you from being better. Compare your works with pieces made by your idols and strive to achieve their level (even if your gradma and mates tell you that your drawing is REALLY GREAT, it may be not enough...yet).

4. Expand your "comfort zone"
It's very good to have a specified specialization, but try to deal with various themes. Illustrations usually consist of many elements (people, animals, interiors, exteriors, machines etc.). Besides, when you don't face new challenges, you don't get new impulses and, in consequence, you stop to develop yourself.

5. Don't work for free just to expand your portfolio 
Personal works are much better for this purpose and you won't feel "used" after all. At the very beginning of my career I had a few profit-share "works". Not only there were no profits, but also these illustrations weren't revealing my real potential, which (hopefully) can be seen in personal works.  

6. Pay attention to the right work-life balance 
Being a freelancer can be very time consuming. It doesn't only mean doing commissioned jobs. It means searching for commissions, preparing your portfolio, writing blog post, tweets, facebook posts, developing your artistic skills, trying to fix something to eat (even if you haven't bought anything for a week) etc. 
The good news is that initially it's surprisingly easy to work 16 hours per day/ 7 days a week! The bad news is that it actually may cause a physical exhaustion and professional burnout... and your friends will totally forget about you. When you see that your eyes weaned themselves from sunlight and your neighbours doesn't know who you are, it may be the right time to take a break.

With this being said, I think I'll make a few more sketches...