Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Goals

It frightens me when I speak to art students and graduates who don't have any concrete goals for where they want to go with their art. It terrifies me how many of them end up serving coffee and barely doing any art at all. I try to tell them to look around at what other people are doing successfully and model their approach on that.

Set a lot of short term, achievable targets, and one or two nuttier ones. Just make your mind up, no one is going to put you in prison for falling short. When you're working during the day, throwing mud at the wall and seeing what sticks in the evening will soon use up what little energy you have left. Making a decision, and knowing roughly where you're going, lets you spot specific opportunities when they arise. What's the worst that could happen?

11 comments:

Gebimble said...

As a professional barista with a masters degree in physics and philosophy I can tell you YOU DON'T NECESSARILY WANT TO USE YOUR DEGREE TO MAKE COFFEE. Saying that, drawing pictures in the foam will forever satisfy me, and I'm still considering entering the UK Barista Championships next year.

Go figure :\

glenatron said...

Not just applicable to artists either. If you don't have a goal, how on earth can you tell if you have achieved it?

kriskrosapplesauce said...

An artist's career always begins tomorrow. ~James McNeill Whistler

Kat R said...

You wouldn't believe (or maybe you would) how many of my old highschool friends are shocked by the fact that I do freelancing and have worked on iPhone games and such and don't have some other job too. They have no idea how I do it and can't seem to grasp that I just didn't let other things get in the way of what I wanted to do. A plan and goals can really open up the doors

Pete Ashton said...

Spot on. I'd only add, don't be afraid to fail. Just make sure you fail interestingly and learn from it.

Melissa said...

I agree with your advice. I'm in a curious position myself, I currently have a full-time job at a publishing company but am also a full-time comic artist and web serial novelist (and yes, I do expect my life will be considerably shortened by this insanity). But the most important thing to me is to KEEP WORKING AT MY ART. Even when I was working at a horrid law firm, I kept doing my art. I never stopped, and I never will. One day, maybe it will get noticed and I can subsist on it. :)

BTW, I sent an email to you recently describing in greater detail just how much I love your work, and I also requested a link banner for my site. Is john (at) scarygoround.com the proper address?

John A said...

Hi Melissa, I've been so busy with Christmas orders for the last 6 months that I've developed a huge backlog of email. I'll dig yours out now.

John A said...

6 weeks, not months, see, I've lost my mind.

Andrew S. said...

I am currently working on that whole commitment thing, but I think it's also a funny thing to think that if you DO have serious commitment and goals, you already have an edge over 95%* of your potential competition.

*Completely fictitious.

Stephanie said...

I'm trying to work on the transition from full-time employment (while I do not make drinks, I can assure you that managing web sites is no more glamorous) to full-time working on comics.

I've been doing self-published stuff with a friend for a few years now and have been drawing since my days as an awkward, flannel-wearing youth. The goals have always been there, the time/ability to pay bills has not.

Though I think I am at my turning point. Come on 2011, we can do it!

smutki said...

ouch.
I am an artist, and I have made up my mind to make books and I am halfway to my goal - I am making books - but nobody wants to print them. Also, nobody seems to be happy to hire me an a coffee maker, graphic designer or whatever.The problem is, I am rather hungry and broke, and my mamma and pappa can't really afford to sponsor me on the way. So it seems to me I will have to find some peacefull carehome or coffee shop or maybe something else and work full time

here in england everything is so big, scary, and expensive ;]

~