HOW TO GROW AS AN ARTIST WHEN THIS IS NOT YOUR MAIN JOB ...

… AND NOT YOUR ONLY PASSION.

Lately, in a conversation with a friend I said: My problem is that I’m interested in so, so many things. Too many things!
My friend replied: it’s not a problem. It’s a blessing.

I agree. It’s great to be curious and interested in a lot of different things.
It keeps life very exciting. Though, it comes with a challenge in my eyes.

Are you one of these people who are interested in tons of things at the same time and wonder how to deal with it? How can you get the most out of it?
Are you even a creative yourself and a very curious soul who wants to become a better artist/creator whilst flourishing at your day job?

Everything is about growth. Growth of mindset. Growth of revenue. Growth of reach. Growth of strength. Growth of a lot of things.

So what about the growth as an artist?

During the past few weeks, I took proper time to reflect on how do I want to grow as an artist. I came to realise that I’m “all over the place” as such and create pieces in way too many different styles. I’m aware that I’m already judging myself by using the words “way too many”. I also know that my followers and friends admire this versatility. The desire to become and be an all-rounder, again comes from how I approach life and my life is full of curiosity. It can be a blessing and a curse at the same. Let’s see the positive in it!

Greek Gods

I love all the diverse illustration styles out there. I’d like to express myself in multiple ways and rarely see something great in limiting that. I write, I sing, I illustrate, I dance, I paint… Painting. I love to paint abstract but also naive and photorealistic. Sometimes, I read three books at the same time. A novel, a non-fiction book on creativity or the art world and something completely different on top of it. My interests range from topics of modern art, AI, gallery business, writing, social media, history, religion, sports, neuroscience, nutrition, psychology, politics, philosophy, astrophysics, leadership development to spirituality … and so on. I can apply this to almost every single sub area of my life. I’m not joking. I’m interested in everything, want to try out and know everything that in the end I face two big challenges: TIME and FOCUS. Because the “achiever” thinking (thank you Capucine) kicks in.

To drive results I believe focus is one of the key ingredients to make best use of time, especially when also working in a full-time job and having limited time available.

Here are my 3 TIPS to grow as a creative, be productive and feel fulfilled. I will use the example of me wanting to grow as an illustrator but you can apply those tips to any other area or goal.

One more thing! Take some time whenever you have to think about what type of singer, cook, painter, illustrator, coach or even mentor etc… you want to be. The clearer your picture and vision the better. Let’s start!

1 ) SPECIALISE
Although I love myriads of styles, I believe that finding my niche will help me creating more successful, outstanding and authentic pieces of illustrations. I have listed 5 styles for instance and I’m giving myself a “testing period” to find out what style of illustration gives me the most pleasure. I’m in that phase right now. Then, I will narrow it down to 2 styles or for you it would be 2 areas, 2 niches. The one that resonates the most with me in the end, and that requires to really listen to myself, will be the one I go forward with and use for my creations.

2) BRIEFS AND PROJECTS
Only doodling and sketching, yes that is a great way to keep improving illustration skills. However, I believe that working on a concrete project with defined goals and outcomes will bring me to a next level. You and I should not wait until someone else gives us a project or brief, let’s find our own, let’s go and grow with it! Let’s make creating purposeful.

3) WRITE A DEVELOPMENT PLAN
When you are clear about the purpose and what you would like to get out of your project, write down a development plan. What do I mean with that? Sometimes I think, I don’t need to write it all down but when I actually do it, it helps me to stay on track and progress continuously.
I make sure I have a clear picture of what I want to get out which could be to publish an illustration book, get in touch with a brand for collaborative work, ask a gallery to exhibit the work etc. I’d give the project a timeline and deadlines. What should be accomplished by when? For instance in 4 weeks I want to have 4 illustrations ready, in 6 week’s time I would need to learn how to create animations with these 4 illustrations and so on. I write down what tools, courses and other trainings I would need and source them.

Last but not least, know what drives you, what motivates you! If you are only driven by becoming an Instagram celebrity or by money, you won’t enjoy the process very much. You want to learn something and really push yourself to the next level. You want to add skills and transfer those to your job and other areas in life. Create purposefully and have fun!

Greek Gods

About the illustrations: I was inspired by an artist and painter I found online. Sometimes I can’t even remember where I found what as it’s always a bit of a trip from one webpage to another. I then mixed it up with coloured backgrounds and added a flower illustration I did a couple of years ago. In the end it’s a mix of collage, water colour drawing and digital. I hope you enjoy it!