Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Make Art For You

Only show stuff like this to your clients if they happen to be some of your best friends.

Often time as we're first setting out to become professional artists, we fantasize over realizing that dream. We imagine how amazing it would be to just get paid to create. However, when the reality of paid illustration jobs or concept art positions sets in, you need to remember to keep making art for yourself.

Now don't get us wrong, it's a great privilege and amazing to be able to draw/illustrate/print for a living. However, when you spend 8-10 hours a day drawing stuff for other people, or printing t-shirts that you didn't design, you also have to remember to keep creating for yourself, lest the art you do for a living becomes "another job."

If you don't have time to create for yourself (although we guess you probably do, but that's another story), then you need to make the work you're doing for someone else for yourself as well. If you get hired to do an illustration, you need to make sure that there is something about that illustration that you're doing for yourself. Yes, you have a brief that tells you what needs to be in the illustration, but make sure that you're finding ways to enjoy the revisions and feedback. If anything, sometimes we will do a quick draft of the illustration in a completely experimental style (that you never have to show to your client) as a way to quickly inject the fun into the assignment, even if you might not be 100% enthusiastic about the illustration.

An example of this is the above Save the Date. Monkey was honored to be asked by his good friends from Berkeley to design their Save the Dates and the invitations for their wedding. While Monkey likes to do more non-traditional wedding invitations, they were looking for something more parent-friendly. Monkey was happy to oblige, but the patience and attention to detail with the typography and designing is not Monkey's strong point, and thus for the Save the Dates he created this crazy, over-the-top monster bunny-as-a-weapon design to keep things fun. After that, he was able to really focus and design something that his friends could love and he could be proud of. As a side note, to show how awesome Monkey's friends are, they actually sent this digital save the date to their close friends!

The lesson to learn here is that with art, just as with every job, assignment, or task, is to figure out a way to do it for yourself. Find something fun and exciting and new to learn or try, and keep it fresh. It makes for much happier creating.

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