Teaching others can be key to continued education and bringing fresh perspective to your work. When you find yourself at a standstill, you can always find someone who needs your expertise. Even if it’s not in a teaching capacity, there is a wealth of knowledge inside us that we take for granted, and can be useful to others around us. We also find the time to truly contemplate our direction and methods by giving in to the [potential] peace that impatience can force upon us.
I’ve been listening to the podcasts produced by Chris Oatley, a
former Disney character designer turned teacher of illustration and storytelling concepts. He offers two shows in one, interviews with notable and inspiring creators he calls the
ArtCast, and a creative ideas show titled Paperwings which features a few colleagues and guest speaker in the industry that covers getting started on your own creative
endeavors. I highly recommend this channel as inspiration, but more than that, as complementary to your creative pursuits.
In the last episode I listened to, we hear from Adam Westbrook, a video journalist, and creator of The Delve Video Essays, notably The Guy Who Painted This Was a Loser: The Long Game Pt.1 in which Westbrook points out that Leonardo Da Vinci was a “loser.” I suggest watching them on Delve.tv, they’re only less than 10 minutes, but they spark some good questions about ones career. Mainly, it states that patience is almost a requirement of ourselves when thinking about our work and its success.
In being patient, we find a real metamorphosis of our thoughts and lives. Inability to act further, doesn’t have to be viewed as a negative or “block,” but instead could be the universe’s way of telling you to slow down and let an idea marinate. We also find answers to questions that, without waiting, we probably would’ve given up on. There is a reason that oil painters love the slow drying process of the medium, because it allows time for thought and careful action. Long after a piece has been drying, it still responds and blends to new information. With time and patience, a masterpiece emerges full of careful study, deliberation, and soul.
We ask too much of ourselves at times. We are expected to have the answers now. In this age where genius, and subsequently fame and fortune, are “discovered” and prized in youth, we forget that these are often exceptions to the rule. It is so easy now to become the next “it” thing and despite some of our best efforts to be noticed, some of us can feel neglected and unappreciated. I’ve often thought this is great because the underdog is often highly valued in stories, and the longer you suffer and strive, the better your story and possibly the more sweet your success. Imagine how much more invested and rewarded we feel after watching a character on screen struggle for so long and finally achieve their dream to a waterfall of tears and joy at the end.
Our stories may not be so dramatic but Hollywood tends to make us feel that they should be. Perhaps though we should leave that to the talented writers who end up telling our story for the masses. My point is that the formative years are important and should not be discounted. In those years, we are yet defining our voice, gathering resources, and preparing our work to stand the test of time. In that time we also find others along the way who are struggling with us, and those that are just starting to, and it should be no surprise that we find ourselves wanting to help. Build community and support, after which, any falls your career may take, you are cushioned by those around you. In patience, we find strength and clarity. With continued movement forward, we find others who need a hand and a patient teacher to guide them. Both often become crucial to success.
Back to Basics
Not to mention, mentoring reminds us that fundamentals are essential. Relearning them as a mentor can be just as beneficial and rewarding. Not only do you discover them with fresh
eyes, but you come to understand the reason behind what you do. Why you choose a particular composition or style, becomes even clearer. I’ve recently found myself mentoring my
significant other as well as a co-worker in my day job. I find that immediately you notice how far you’ve come in your own work, and retracing your steps to your current thought pattern can
reveal alternate or missed opportunities for growth. And watching others developing a passion for what you do, ignites your own.
In the end, we’ll be grateful for having established a network of contacts, admirers, and students that will aid us on our continued journey as artists. I’m sure we can agree that we wish for more than 15 minutes of fame. We should also agree that comparison is futile. Another person's success has nothing to do with our own. We are each unique, and have something to say, and an experience to share. The person next to us has just as much to gain from our attention and time as the world someday will.
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About the Artist
I would call myself a Jack of all Trades, but mostly because I'm interested in many areas of art if not all! I graduated with a BFA in Fine Art from the University of North Texas with a focus on Watercolor. I always had dreams of creative writing, and in 5th grade I wasn't too bad! Art clearly won out for my attention, but writing will always have a place in my heart!
What better way to write, I say, than to share a blog, and practice my second love while talking about my first! :D