“You are responsible for the talent that has been entrusted to you. Go work with it.”
I just read this quote on Facebook. It’s an interesting thought…destiny of sorts. That are souls yearnings, and our natural talents are given to us so we can share them and make an impact on the world in a specific way.
I often wonder if art is a natural talent or an idea that I want to place myself into…an image, I want to become. I have this idea of who I want to be and it’s quotes like this that make me wonder if I am ignoring what I “should” be doing, or if I am trying to achieve just that. I mean, where does the image, and the drive to become that image, come from if it’s not an innate need. Or is the fear I feel telling me that I am indeed not good enough to achieve this image, that the talent isn’t entrusted to me? All the training in the world is not a substitute for natural talent. Do I have enough natural talent to do what it takes? Can I succeed?
There are people who believe in me and believe I am talented. Maybe, in this current state of confusion, I should just trust in them. Haha, I was just reminded of this song:
Natural talent eh? I just want to be an artist. To explain my emotions and thoughts visually. And yet I have this huge wall that keeps me from doing it, and thus making me question myself. I have no artistic style, no idea how to transform my emotions on canvas. I mean, I am a graphic designer by day and that’s all well and cool since I am designing for someone else. It’s not me. I don’t know how to put me on a canvas. I want to put my fear on the canvas and yet am paralyzed and have no idea how to do it. It feels pathetic. I’ve even gone so far as to ask ‘K’ to draw something on a canvas that I can then add paint on. Super lame.
So I am responsible for the talent that I was entrusted with…what the hell am I talented at? And is it talent I have, or an image of what I want to become?
It’s a goal of mine to produce more artwork. I continuously peruse the internet and see amazing pieces and get quite envious that I am not creating amazing artwork. Granted, I think my designs are great for what they are and for the conservative company I design for, but they aren’t what I see everywhere else. I’m the type of designer that gets lost clicking on links on twitter to all the “20 amazing…” “Inspiration of the day…” and whatnot. I click from link to link to link sinking further and further into my chair of inadequacy. I literally can spend hours just checking out other people’s stuff and feeling like the world’s worst designer since I am not as accomplished, and I don’t produce as much work and as much quality work as everyone else.
And let me tell you, I’ve been doing this for years.
I had a birthday a couple of weeks ago, and I do as I always do and reflected and meditated on the current state of my life. And obviously I was less than impressed with as much time as I waste in a day. I was quite disgusted in fact. So I decided that I would stop spending so much time looking at others’ work and start creating my own. Even if it’s crap to begin with…who cares? At least I am creating and trying to grow my skills instead of just wishing I was.
I was super stoked for the next week and all I was going to accomplish. And then that week happened, and I was decently busy at work and home and did absolutely nothing. I had so many projects planned for this weekend and nearly none of them happened. My apartment was so hot I could barely stay there let alone be productive. Not a great excuse. I know. But at the time it made perfect sense. The heat yanked all my energy from me and placed me in a dreary haze.
So today was going to be the day! I brought a picture of an oil pastel I had done last month thinking I could photoshop the crap out of it. And I actually started it! I was super impressed with myself. And then I had some work to do and then I saw all these amazing links on Twitter I just had to click on and articles to read and suddenly, I was back into the same old routine. And worse, I decided to blog about it instead of just opening photoshop back up and continuing to work on it. I think I am ultimately still afraid of producing the crap, even though I know I shouldn’t care. One of the articles my lack of focus brought me to was on Tiny Buddha. And I realized, that in a way, I was clinging to the want of perfection the first time I produced something. Ultimately, I lack patience and focus and just want to be good right away. It sounds elitist, really. To want to be instantly good without putting the time and dedication into it. It’s a bit humiliating to admit that, but it’s true. I’m lazy and want to be good…now. I want to produce epic pieces of work and I’m not. Mainly because I am not even trying. It does me absolutely no good to bookmark a ton of tutorials if I’m not going to do them. If I’m going to cling to the fear and the lack of focus that prevents me from trying them. It’s literally insane to expect myself to get better without even practicing or putting time into my art.
And while I was still bouncing around the internet, I came across this article. And I was blown away by the obvious and yet somewhat elusive idea of focus. I mean, I do think Satya speaks to more than just mental focus, although that is part of it. But an energetic focus…your entire self being focused.
Superfocus is that rare state of being, in which whatever you focus your attention on achieving gets completed with near effortlessness. In the example of writing, as in creating this post, it’s as if a divine essence is channeled through you, and the output flows easily and without resistance. ~ Satya
I’ve never been that focused before. Well, maybe I have but lacked the awareness to bring it to the forefront of my memories right now. And you know, being a yogi teachers always talk about setting your intentions and all that. And I normally can’t even focus on one idea so end up without one. Come to think of it, that should be another goal of mine, to set intentions in my yoga classes so aid me in setting life intentions. Setting intentions/focus’s during meditation instead of just trying to quiet my mind and focus on the nature sounds I downloaded to my iPhone. At any rate, to be a channel to the divine…well that just sounds blissful. If I can become that, me and my ego don’t even matter. If I can superfocus, then I can create.
So now my focus is superfocus…hopefully by the end of the week something will have come from the oil pastel I want to photoshop. And hopefully I’ll start creating epic work that inspire other people.
My job consists of designing invites, signs and programs for the events my company holds, amongst other things of course. But these projects are a few of my favorites. They really provide me with the opportunity to explore new design approaches and get creative. I go through the whole process of sketching out ideas first. It feels good to be able to go outside with my iPod and sketch. I let my intuition flow and detail whatever comes to mind. This particular event is surrounding an individual, so the first step was finding out about this person so that the theme could relate to them. All the details I received were that she is a quiet lady who lives in the mountains and likes to read and needlepoint. Here are some of my sketches:
Two of these options were chosen. The next steps for me were to commit the chosen ideas to the digital environment. This helps the rest of my team (and myself) see what they would actually look like. The transition from pencil sketches to digital sketches often surprises people. I usually get an, Oh! I had no idea it was going to be so pretty, or Oh! I had no idea it was going to look like that! Now, I don’t know if that says something about my sketches, or that the digital environment really brings something to life, especially with color, that alters someone’s opinion so much. Here are the options in the digital environment:
I wasn’t sure how they were going to turn out, myself. Especially the needlepoint options. But I am glad to say I think they turned out relatively well. And for a conservative company, I think they are decently innovative and cool-looking. The book option was chosen so I will be moving forward with that idea for this event, but since it was such a close tie in votes, I think the needlepoint idea may become the holiday card later this September/November.
Overall, I am pleased with these options and am excited to see how the book option continues to play out.
I love when a new project starts. It is so fresh and unadulterated. Some days, there is nothing better than grabbing a cup of coffee, a pen, some paper and brainstorming. Allowing consciousness to stream herself (yes, my brain undoubtedly is a female) onto a sheet of paper, just a plethora of ideas coloring and forming the new project.
To be able to combine creativity with results, to design a piece that is not just aesthetically pleasing, but (and I hate to say it, but more importantly) achieves the desired goal is a fun challenge to undertake. So many factors have to be considered (in no particular order):
1. Demographics of Target Audience
2. Goal of the piece/Desired results
3. Scope of the project, what all is involved, what are the many pieces?
5. Die cuts, paper choices, foil embossing…what is the best approach to achieve the goal?
6. Deadlines: what do we have time for?
7. Tone of project/event/company
8. Alignment with branding
9. What has been done in the past? How was it successful?
10. How can we differentiate the new piece?
So many things to consider. It is a great process I shall be starting now. I hope to present at least 10 ideas for consideration. And once I present the ideas, the sketch phase begins!