"Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality." - Dalai Lama
Tell me if you've heard these before:
"Aren't you afraid that someone is going to steal your ideas?"
"Doesn't it bother you that they could make money doing that?"
No, I am not worried about the ideas that I share for several reasons:
• I'm not the only one sharing-
There are many people such as myself who write and talk about illustration, creativity and the business side of things. Sharing is good for illustrators. The more we chat, the better it is for everyone. There once was a time when the Internet was not there to close the gap and help the world feel a little smaller. We created alone with little interaction. We lived in the freelance bubble. Now we can interact, mentor, discuss all the aspects of illustration freely and openly.
• It has nothing to do with being an expert-
I'm not an expert and I've been sharing ideas since I graduated from Art school. There is no written code that you have to be the best this or that or have million followers. Just jump into the idea pool. The water is just fine.
• Ideas are everywhere-
We are a resource. Believe it not, as illustrators we are equipped with immense knowledge on skill, ideas, good creative habits and experience. Our trials, errors, screw-ups and successes are totally interesting. These experiences are so vitally rich to share that it's the number one question during interviews and spotlights. Questions that highlight your advice to newcomers is always a big focus.
• There are no new ideas-
Let's break this down by starting with how ideas happen. Ideas are random and what rocks your imagination will be different for someone else. Most of the time, ideas come from the TV, books, music or something we saw online. If you're like me, ideas come to you in vividly rich dreams. We think so many thoughts in a run of a day. Our ideas as illustrators do stretch beyond the average day to day thinking. We are hyper in tuned with gathering information as a way of exploring our world. It really is part of the job. The ideas may not be new, but they are new to us. From there we can put our own personal spin on it in our own personal style. In essence, we twist and reshape ideas as needed. The original idea is still there, it just took an interesting creative turn.
• We live in a sharing society-
We can thank the Internet for a very tight knit sharing community. Never before has knowledge sharing been so easy. I'm pretty certain this is the general purpose of Pinterest- to share everything. It's all there online 24/7. Need a hand reference? Google it. Need advice? Email a pro. Can't get your ideas across to a client? Skype them. Can't afford to go back to school? Grab a class on skillshare. The only problem we face is fitting all this great stuff into our already tight-knit schedules.
• It's not about awards, credit or accolades-
For me, there is no need for awards or labels suggesting this or that is the best or most respected. That's not for me to decide. If my ideas help, then I have done something positive. Quite simply, I'm a contributor in this fast-paced energy idea driven society we live in. Say that ten times and there might be an award in it for you. But seriously, we all want to be appreciated and discovered while leaving our mark. Do the work and be present in your career. Forget the trends and just do what you do best. Believe it or not, there's an audience for you. If there is an audience for reality TV then we'll be just fine. I think this quote sells it- "Be a good steward of your gifts. Protect your time. Feed your inner life. Avoid too much noise. Read good books, have good sentences in your ears. Be by yourself as often as you can. Walk. Take the phone off the hook. Work regular hours." -Jane Kenyon
• It's just the way it is!
I'm hardwired to help. I once read that as tourists (because we are always exploring) on this planet, it's our duty to help, to lift up others and to spread knowledge. Sharing has an interesting integrity to it.
"Integrity is doing the right thing even if no one is watching." - C. S. Lewis
Ideas are always contagious because one idea leads to many. An idea becomes something with many actions and cups of coffee. We can have all sorts of ideas in our heads, in our notebooks, sketchbooks but if we don't do something with them then they are just floating in limbo.
"Ideas won't keep. Something must be done about them." - Alfred North Whitehead
In a way, ideas are like a type of farming. In order for them to grow they need attention, appreciation and constant nurturing. Ideas take time and work. It's like Picasso said, "I begin with an idea and then it becomes something else." This is true and this why we need to talk about them and share them more often.