The last couple of months have been a time for change for me from a personal development perspective. It's been quite the roller coaster, & it's basically all stemmed from the MATS course I recently completed. It was the shake up that I so desperately needed, yet had no idea how overdue I was for it. I entered the course feeling relatively confident with my current work & my abilities. I knew my work definitely isn't the best, but I also as happy that it was far from the worst. I knew that my style & quality of work needed improvement, that is a never ending journey every illustrator knows. To think it didn't would be a complete lie to myself.
As much as I loved every moment of it the course, it has literally put me in a tail spin. I was pushed out of my comfort zone, being asked to create a different design each week, which force a new style, which you all saw. After the course I really felt like I was in a bit of a funk. I learnt what I have to do to improve & push myself to the next level. I proved to myself that I can create new work with different mediums. I also know that I can draw non children related topics. Sounds all positive yes, but for the first time in my life I feel like I had been hit with comparison paralysis. Sounds terrible doesn't it?
I was so completely in awe of the talented artists that where doing the course, there were around 450-500 of us...I know! The work submitted in the private gallery each week was so incredible I started to completely psych myself out with negative thoughts of, "oh my goodness I am never going to be able to do this". Every week after I submitted my work, I would look at everyone else's & study & ooh & ahhh at SO many of them. By the end of it I was feeling so flat again, the comparison paralysis hit again, & was feeling blah about myself & abilities.
Thankfully the lovely Lilla Rogers was so nurturing throughout this course, & brought this topic up several times. You have to remember although she is a well known agent, she is first an artist, so she has been there & done that. She gently reminded not to compare, your work & your style is unique, & it is well suited to your market or clientele. Art directors, clients & customers are all different too, & are all looking for something to suit their brief. Basically there is room for everyone's work and style.
The last couple of week have been a time of reflection & hard work. I have been working really hard behind the scenes trying to develop my unique style which seems to be changing in a positive new direction. The confidence of learning new techniques has been a positive for sure. However starting to move forward again has been a great challenge. For a good week or two I just felt like I had stage fright to create. Such silly inner demons that can really cause you some grief. I feel like I am coming out the other side, I am focusing on my own style & developing. One thing I have realised I love is creating positive affirmation typography prints with hand lettering, it so much fun!
Comparison is a natural way of life, we all do it, however learning to accept it & see the positive from it is a empowering feeling. In my case look & love & enjoy the beautiful creations of others, & strive to keep creating my own. This post is not finishing with a happy ending, as there will still be days when I freak myself over these thoughts.
But I am only human on a never ending journey.