Monday, January 14, 2013

Turn The Comparison Habit Into Research


Too often we get caught up in what other illustrators are creating and it takes our creative energy away. Before we know it, we begin the comparison game! Typically many focus on the work that has been created. What is often overlooked is the process that goes on behind the scenes that we're not paying attention to.

The Reality:
• There are always going to be many many illustrators. 
• There will always be competition.
• There will always be many illustrators who do great work, have agents and    
   get dream clients. 
• We are always going to see a lot of work online everywhere we look! 

“The simple act of paying positive attention to people has a great deal to do with productivity” -Tom Peters
The idea of this exercise is to pay attention to the right things and to stay informed about what works for professional illustrators. Never second guess your talent or the effort you put into your career. It's true-we are always evolving, reinventing ourselves and growing as as artists. Focus on your strengths and work on the challenges. Never diminish your efforts but instead research what works for other illustrators and apply it to what you do. 


Best Advice-Take your focus on what is being created by other illustrators by putting that energy into how they are making their illustration careers work!

Success leaves clues! 

The Clues:
1. Look at how they are managing their careers.
2. Research how they are getting their information out there.
3. How are they finding work? Where? 
4. How does their work go viral?
5. What is making them money?
6. What ways do they advertise? 
7. What ways do you think it made them appealing to an agent?
8. Have a look at their client list. 
9. Are they working on their own or do they have help? 
10. How well designed is their website? 
11. How often do they send promotions? 

Some of this information will be obvious and some of it wont be-the idea is to really look and ask yourself a lot of questions when looking at these ideas. Quite simply, it's another form of critiquing but the focus is on the business method of an illustrator. 

The Biggest Reality Of All
We want to look at what's going on out here-what's trendy, what's being talked about and spotlighted. It's hard not to get caught up in the that. We're a curious bunch! Just remember- that really popular illustrator didn't start out that way and it took work to get them where they are now. 

Never be finished! 
"Art is never finished, only abandoned." -Leonardo da Vinci 


We are always going to feel a sense of discontentment when it comes to our work and our careers. This does not mean we are unhappy to be in the industry nor does it mean we do not love what we create. We often use that discontentment as a motivator to continue day to day on our work. The idea machine never stops! Lack of satisfaction definitely does not have to be a bad thing- it just means we want more from our careers! When we focus on what works and what doesn't then we can put our creative energies into the right place. 

"Life is pretty simple: You do some stuff. Most fails. Some works. You do more of what works. If it works big, others quickly copy it. Then you do something else. The trick is the doing something else." -Tom Peters

Have a great creative week all! Next post will focus on: The Creative Hour! See you then! 

~Holly 

6 comments:

Leif Peng said...

A great post, Holly - thank you for defining an effective plan of action. Very helpful for both new and veteran graphic artists.

Holly DeWolf said...

Thank you very much Leif! Cheers!

Brian Bowes said...

Great job Holly,

I really like how you take something that can really be negative influence and re-frame the questions so that becomes a tool for positive growth.

Well done!

Holly DeWolf said...

Thank you Brian- I really enjoyed writing it. Thanks for reading it, sharing it and commenting. Have the best night! Cheers!

Kristi Taggart said...

Thanks for the great post. It is amazing how much we can learn for each other, it is a great reminder not to compare my artwork to others, I am just starting out and this is a very useful way to look at things.

Holly DeWolf said...

Thanks Kristi! I really appreciate the comment! All the creative best! Cheers! :)