Happy Holidays, folks!
I don’t know about you, but this time of year, I tend to be a bit more retrospective than usual. I like to look back at the previous year and see what I’ve accomplished, what I enjoyed, what I struggled with, and what I need to learn. A new year approaches, a new chance to start fresh to set new goals, new objectives (but hey, you can do that any time you’d like). This year, especially, the last full year in my 20s, I’ve thought a lot about what I’d like to accomplish, where I’d like to see myself in the future, asking myself the classic job interview question, “Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?” That’s a question has always been a little tricky for me to answer. It’s easy to identify what you’d like to be doing at that point, but what actionable steps are you taking now to reach that?
I have a note on my laptop that I reference pretty often called my “lofty list of goals.” I’m always thinking of things I’d like to achieve and accomplish within the scope of art, such as publications I’d like to be a part of, projects I’d like to work on, and skills I’d like to develop. For instance, from the time I was in college, I’ve always wanted to be a part of the “Spectrum: The Best of Contemporary Fantastic Art” annual. This is basically the who’s who of illustration, featuring another of my end-goals, to create the card art for a MTG card. These are both terminal goals. I am far from reaching either of them with my current body of work and skillset, but they’re goals all the same. So when I answer the “Where do you see yourself…” question, the answer is easy, but how do you get there? Well, I try to set intermediary or tertiary goals to achieve to set a sort of “path” to reach them. Too much of a disconnect between where you’re currently at and where you’d like to be and it’s easy to become overwhelmed, frustrated, and give up. Even with all of these things in mind, it’s an issue I’ve battled with a bit lately. I was watching an interview with my current favorite draftsman, Kim Jung Gi, and it gave me a lot of perspective. For reference, the following video is a drawing from Kim Jung Gi. He’s a world-renowned draftsman, known for his ability to draw massive compositions, in ink, without sketching, with remarkable likeness. It’s easy to look at it and thing, “Sheesh, I can never get to that point. The guy is just too good.”
So in the interview, he says that he draws, constantly, every single day. His memory is no more spectacular than anyone else’s, he just spends so much time practicing his craft, learning about as much as he can to dedicate to his visual memory. If he wants to draw a lion, he’s probably drawn a lion enough before to know how they work. By extension, a tiger likely works similarly, so it’s not a far stretch to draw a tiger given his practice with lions. Years of this practice leads to mastery, and leads to meeting those goals you’ve set for yourself. Finding those small steps that lead to the larger goal makes them much more feasible. Instead of winding down at the end of the day, instead of going directly to Netflix, put on some headphones and draw instead. Of course, this can be used for much more than art. Maybe you’re trying to write a new character. Maybe they’re from a different culture, with a different background and upbringing. How do you write them? Meet people that you can draw reference from. Have conversations with them, learn from them, and commit it to memory. The more you experience, the easier it will be to write more naturally. It’s the same way with drawings like the one below (Also from Kim Jung Gi). Looking at this, I am completely overwhelmed thinking about planning a composition such as this, but these are composites from years of experience, studying, and observation.
So as the year winds down and comes to an end, spend time with folks you’re closest to, immerse yourself in things you’re inspired by, and let’s go into the next year full of creative energy to work on A L L of the goals. I’m excited to see what you all create, and what you send to us. What kind of goals do you have for your work in 2019?
From all of us at The Ginger Collect, have a happy, safe, and creative holiday season.