I fancy myself as being an okay artist. I love to sketch and have begun to dabble in some graphic design as well, having recently made a t-shirt inspired by a very rambunctious dog.
Creating artwork is both a very relaxing and very stressful activity for me. I don’t do it as often as I should, but when I do, I try to make the work something special.
Recently I have begun to notice similar trends between how my sketching process plays out compared to other projects I get involved in. In fact, the similarity is so much so that it’s kind of scary. There exist parallels between projects of different kinds, and by understanding my own sketches I’ve come to see how I handle most projects.
Here are some of those similarities.
The First Half of the Work Looks and Feels Stupid
I can’t help but look at my project in it’s first stages and just think of how stupid it seems to feel.
The head looks tiny compared to the body. The article I’m writing seems silly. The email I’m sending out to my coworkers sounds corny.
It’s always an uphill climb when it comes to getting a project off the ground. To see something through to the end takes willpower, determination, mental prowess, and most importantly, energy. We criticize ourselves before we get too far, not only because we want the end product to be fantastic but also because we are wondering if it’s even worth it to continue.
Too see things through to the end means taking a personal stake in how the project plays out. Giving up on it before it gets too far can actually be a good idea if it’s just going to be a waste of time. Getting all the way to the end and having it turn out badly leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth, or worse yet, can ruin your reputation.
However, you can’t let this gut feeling dishearten you. You have to keep an imaginary eye on what it will look like, if given the proper treatment.
Omitting A Line Can Make A Better Picture
Minimalism, a school of art (and philosophy for living as well) attempts to do the most with the least. It asks the question, What are the most basic ways we can get the point across without adding in a bunch of filler. The idea itself is currently popular in the field of graphic design, where elaborate and fancy graphics have a tough time adapting to the many different screen resolutions offered today between smart phones all the way up to gigantic monitors.
Sometimes cutting out something makes the project more clear and concise, even if you feel it might be a necessary addition. If the particular thing you are wanting to keep is getting in the way of the goal of the overall project, it may be time to let it go and not look back.
Erasing a line here or there, editing out an entire paragraph, or getting rid of a section of your presentation can help make things move more smoothly and will help your overall goal, whatever it may be.
The Details Make The Picture
When you get to certain point in the project you will inevitably meet the dreaded point where you must focus on the tiniest of details. A little extra shading here, a darker contrast here. Does this word really get the point across? Could a different one fit better? Should I measure exactly how much I’m eating to fit my diet?
The details are the easiest part of a project to ignore. The project itself can be completed without even so much as glancing in their direction.
However, it will severely hinder what sort of potential greatness the project has. While most of those who look, see, or hear the results of your project won’t pay attention to the details themselves, if you have shown no interest in making them matter, they will notice without even noticing.
Taking the time to ensure the details are cleaned up will work exponentially in your favor when it comes to the final product.
Use Math Wherever Possible
The study of mathematics is an interesting one. We are taught from a young age that we will need to use it all throughout life so it gets drilled into our spongy minds.
Who knew, however, just how many applications it had!
Behind any project we set out on lies some math that you may be missing out on. In art, proportions and ratios matter greatly. In writing, taking time to consider how many characters are on each line may work dividends for readability.
If there is some math to use with your project, use it, even if you don’t quite understand it. We are a species tied to math. Finding the relevant patterns in our work and exploiting those patterns for creativity is a noble task, allowing us to create truly special products.
Chances are whatever project you are working on has been done before and the math has all been sorted out for you. Seek it out, even if you don’t think it exists. It will do so much work for you.
Great Finished Products Should Be Showcased
Those works I feel most proud of I try to hang up somewhere around my house. It feels good to pour yourself out over something and to see and know you did good.
It doesn’t have to be artwork. If you got that big sale at work, brag about it a bit. Go on, you deserve it. Create a portfolio of the things you feel most proud of. We go through life engaging in all sorts of things it can be nice to go back and reflect upon what he have done in the past.
However, dwelling on past projects can be a detriment as well. While I hang up artwork I am glad to have done, it serves as more than just something to look at. It reminds me of what I can do if I just put my mind to something and dig deep.
Great works are both ends in themselves and means to something greater. When we complete a tough task, it means we have forged our self into a tough person, capable of handling such a task. To keep the growth going we have to find something even tougher to take on.
While the different kinds of projects I take part in do have many similarities, they are not all the same. Each one tests me in a new and exciting way (or frustrating).
However, without these tests, these projects to involve myself in, living itself would kind of dull. The daily grind would only be a grind, not progression towards something greater.
Do you have any projects you feel proud of or have noticed any similarities between the different things you involve yourself in? How do you handle your projects?