Often, as creatives, we see other people’s work and we say we feel inspired. Well, that’s only sometimes true. Inspired is something that happens when you see someone’s work and it motivates you to create something. But when you see an artist and then get the feeling that you want to be like that someday, do you take action to make it happen?
More often than not, when a trend emerges people will dive in and try it. Trying new art trends is good because you are exploring your creative side. What makes it harmful is when you blame yourself or others for not achieving what you want to achieve.
Why did your lettering still suck even after 4 years of practicing and doing it?
Are you trying to compare yourself to other artists in your field?
Have you ever wondered, what makes these artists so good that you can’t catch up to their level?
Let’s step back and talk about a successful basketball player. What do you think they do to become a better player? Do they go out to drink all the time? Do they sleep most of the day? Do they binge-watch Netflix?
Most of the those who are paid higher to be in the court are the players who invested their time to practice and develop their game. How they shoot, how they run, how they maneuver around the court…it’s muscle memory.
When you do something for a long time, you become accustomed to it. It becomes easier to do and it happens naturally.
It’s the same thing with creativity. Every creative needs to continuously develop and hone their skills. If you create for one day and stop for a week and decide to go back to it again, how does that help you? The days you spent not creating will result to your creative muscles getting rusty and you will have to start over again to get back into the groove.
If you do things repeatedly for a period of time, you get better.
“Every learning process is best done repeatedly, even as a child.”
When you were taught to write, read, etc. You were asked to do it over and over and over until you got better at writing and reading. And boy, did it pay of!
So many times we neglect our practice time because we think we can already do it well enough. But are you happy with the way things are? That’s something you need to ask yourself. Am I happy with 2-3 clients a year? Am I happy producing artwork that I am not proud of?
If something feels wrong, you are doing something wrong?
It’s time to audit yourself and look closer into what you are doing differently than those artists who you think are successful in the business:
Here are some ideas to ask yourself:
- How many hours a day do I spend practicing?
- How many days do I practice every week?
- What matters more to me- practicing once a week for the whole day, or practicing daily for an hour?
Getting better at something does not come easily.
People see my lettering work today and they are amazed. What they don’t realize is that when I was starting, during the 2-4 hour nap time that my son had, I didn’t rest with him. I practiced during those times and I arrived at a point where I had to put band-aids on my fingers because of the calluses I had. They were the worst!
But seeing my work now, it was worth all the calluses…which thankfully are now gone on most of my fingers. Some remain on my ring and middle finger, but let’s just call them battle scars!
The calluses are proof that I worked to achieve something I’m proud of.
These battle scars remind me every day of how I started, and how hard I worked to get my lettering better.
Repeatedly doing things on a daily basis worked for me because of the consistency. I have built a habit that will last me through the years and even during my downtime, I will letter something as simple as a plain doodle so that I can get my hands to work.
I have become so used to lettering that I find myself immediately having to find a pencil and pencil to execute something even if it’s not pretty, and even if I will not be posting it on Instagram. That is what you want to build…something that will last and sustain your hunger for years to come! It is not easy to work on building it, of course.
You need discipline to make it happen.
Now, if you’re telling me you cannot do it because of this or that, then you’re just giving yourself an excuse. Whatever our circumstances are, if we commit we’ll find a way to make a difference. Being a parent doesn’t make it any harder for you. I’ve been there, other parents have been there, and if you keep telling yourself `no´ because you are a parent, you will only miss out.
Thank you so much for this article. It is so true, and I have been practicing more these past few weeks, and the more I practice, the better I have become. I have noticed that as my skills as a letterer have increased, so has my desire to continue. It’s become an encouraging thing to have my family ask me to write out something for them in calligraphy because they think it looks pretty. Thanks for your encouragement,
Hello I am from India, I am 14 years old and I am not a parent it’s ok but I loved this article it was really helping , thanks for sharing your beautiful thoughts with me. Now I have build my mind to do more practice and to get better and better.