|© Holly DeWolf|
“The inner fire is the most important thing mankind possesses.” -Edith Sodergran
Think back when you were younger when you had a deep love for someone or something. It's all you thought about, focused on and wanted to be part of. Your mind went there freely. There was no way you could be distracted from what was clouding your brain. Eating was optional and sleeping wasn’t necessary. Your heart felt like a separate entity. You were consumed inside your personal happy bubble… and you're not even paying attention right now, are you?
Creative goosebumps are like an inspired light that never goes out. On the bad days it can feel hidden. On the good days, we go large and make things happen. Illustration offers the chance to stretch ideas and notions we have about ourselves and the world we live in. We really cannot be micromanaged or controlled because we are the business and what we make is the product. We are our own bosses and some days we’re cooperative and some days we can be real jerks!
Illustration is different from other careers because the work we do is personal. Just like your signature and the way we dress, our work is our own unique fingerprint on this planet. It’s the centre of everything. Your mind starts the day with ideas and ends the same way. If your lucky, you’ll even dream about it like an illustration crush.
When I say an illustration crush, I mean it lightly. Like most crushes there is a HUGE love however it doesn’t always treat you fairly back. The creative drive is a tipsy relationship. We can get lost in flow one day and then want to tear our hair out the next. Sneaky things like perfectionism and comparison can step in and wreak havoc on your visual environment. For some of us we love it but we can feel uneasy and often scared of it.
Then there is this funny little thing that happens when we love something-fear of success. We want it all but we fear not being able to follow through or keep it up. Remember (write this down): No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you go, you are still ahead of everyone who isn’t trying!
Typically most people do not love their work. They punch in and log out. Many tolerate a career for many reasons and many hardly find a career they love that supports their lifestyle. Either they love it and it pays peanuts or the pay is great but it’s sucking the life out of them.
“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” -Vincent Van Gogh
Even with illustration, there are downsides. However, if you cannot love the whole career then try a section of it. Love the illustration career you're in or love the way you do it or both! It will make EVERY JOB much more enjoyable and rewarding. Shift the idea of how you perform in your work this way:
1. Try focusing on creative challenges you can give yourself.
2. Create something to look forward to daily, weekly and monthly.
3. Take more chances. Say yes more to opportunities that scare you and say no to the things that drain your time and energy.
4. Socialize more with real live folks!
5. Ask for what you want and need more of.
6. Remember opinions are relative. Good advice is gold. Criticism is like rain. It should be gentle enough to nourish your growth without destroying the roots.
7. Make more time to let ideas incubate. Daydreaming and random moments of silence lets the good stuff come out.
8. Put in 150%. What else would you be doing? You’re going to be making something anyway.
9. Consider it all a great big experiment!
Most important: Treat your career like a best friend. Always be kind to your work, your ideas and to yourself.