Lifestyle Paper Tiger Press

the artist’s equation

September 2, 2010

I recently made the decision to illustrate parts of our product line myself – which is a huge change from using purchased graphics. It turned out to be a hard decision to make and accept…not because I can’t draw, but because I tend to take things personally. Basically, I ended up spending days worrying that my illustrations will appeal to no one and I’ll have ultimately ruined a great product idea by using my own drawings instead of professional ones.

That was crazy, of course, but it took me some time to realize that the only difference between my illustrations and professional ones was that the people who created the professional illustrations had the guts to sell their work (thus defining it, by default, as professional work.) They didn’t start with a guarantee that people were going to like and buy their work – they just created something, took the plunge and put it out there. I finally got over the hump by doing some simple math:

1. People are either going to love your work, or hate it.
2. Since there are only two options, that means your work has an automatic 50% “like rate”.
3. Yes, that also means your work may also have a 50% “dislike rate”, but right now, those critics are imaginary. And you shouldn’t let imaginary critics hold you back.
4. You can’t predict the public’s likes and dislikes – who knows? Maybe your work will be 100% liked.
5. The only way you’ll lose out completely is if you don’t put your work out there, because nobody will know about it, which will make them unable to like it.
6. If you need to, re-read points 1 & 2 till they sink in.

It may not be mathematically sound, but it made sense to me – and it was all I needed to finally kick my insecurities and get started on a line of hand-drawn stationery. It’s in the works now, unfettered by my own weird, unfounded and highly illogical hangups. Watch this space!

Photo via weheartit

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