The other day my 9-year-old nephew broke into tears when he was sketching in Sharpie and felt like his drawing was less than perfect. I told him this was a good thing! That the way he feels is the way all true artists feel – and that his tears meant that he was a true artist. (Then I questioned whether I was perpetuating the starving / suffering artist story to a child.)
It got me thinking about my own path as an artist. All the tears I shed while in art school and during my time as a junior designer at the ad agency I worked at. Tears because I couldn’t figure out what “grid” my teacher was referring to. Or because my logo sucked. Or because the printer kept jamming. Or because the gap between the stuff I loved looking at and the stuff I was actually designing was just so. damn. big. I used to study the spreads of Emil Ruder’s Typographie, pictured above, for hours on end. It felt magical and heartbreaking all at the same time. It just felt so out of reach – it was a language I understood but couldn’t speak.
A decade and 10,000 hours later I don’t cry about graphic design. I speak it fluently. But now I have to decide what it is that I really want to say.
P.S. Check out our blog post over at Braid Creative on what Creatives Who Attract Dream Clients Do. (Hint: it’s not just about inspiring or becoming BFFs with your customer.)