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Two Birds, One Stylus
Creating illustrations that served multiple purposes for my business.
Something good happened by accident (again).
As I developed each new Photoshop brush, I had to figure out if it worked as intended. Part of this process was drawing lots of repetitive lines while varying the pressure, tilt, angle or direction of the stylus, but this quickly became boring. The obvious solution was to have those repetitive marks add up to some kind of picture, so I could have more fun putting each brush through its paces. (Continued below)
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I have written about the importance of fun in the overall scheme of things when it comes to creating a product, brand, or service. Here again, we see that my desire to make the brush-testing process more entertaining led to an unexpected benefit. In fact, it led to several:
All these stylistically varied illustrations allowed me to experiment with style and grow as an artist.
The art showcased the brushes better than random brush strokes on a blank page.
I could turn some of these illustrations into prints, apparel, etc. for my shop.
Some drawings made their way into promo emails to art directors and landed me new assignment work (a few examples below).
By recording some of the process of creating the art, I had more video assets to use for social media posts and could show the brushes in action.
I was building a library of images to pull from later when asked for practical examples of how different individual brushes, or groups of brushes, could be used.
Once again, I stumbled onto a successful business practice while merely trying to keep myself amused at work. To this day, I believe injecting more fun into any part of my process can lead to unexpected benefits.
This can happen for anybody but the key to increasing the likelihood of such discoveries is to make a habit of pausing to really notice the effects, both direct and indirect, of whatever you are choosing to do. Notice the choices, themselves; these choices, over time, are what carry you forward or set you back. Either way, if you have been paying attention, you can more easily point to the key decisions that led you to the present moment.
How do you do this? By making it a habit. Old habits are hard to break, but new habits are pretty easy to start. There is some good writing out there about this. I recommend the book, The Inner Game of Tennis, by W. Timothy Gallwey. “Kyle,” you say, “I don’t play tennis. I play unicycle hockey.” It doesn’t matter– the ideas in this book will transform the way you think about navigating any challenge in life, big or small. And, you will learn tricks for building good habits, no matter your age.
Okay, so how can you make your work WORK for you? Some ideas:
If you do anything creative for a living, record the process. Just keep the camera going all the time. The resulting content is fantastic for showing clients how you think, demonstrating the quality of your craft, justifying the price (people need to see how much effort goes into what you make to really understand it), and lastly, it’s just pure gold on social media.
Apply a recycling mindset to whatever you create. Can you resell editorial drawings through your own personally managed stock art collection? Can you build an instructional course around the process you went through to build your latest public sculpture?
Always be considering and exploring new markets for existing products. Did you design a pattern for fabric? Surely, that pattern can be scaled up or down and applied to other surfaces. Instead of the home goods market, could the pattern work for a hotel? How about taking several of your patterns that share a theme and selling them as a background graphics bundle on a site like Creative Market?
Do you have some other ideas on this topic? Please share them in the comments. Let’s help each other grow.
Next time, some thoughts about visualization and the very real role it plays in bringing your ideas to life.
Thanks, as always for reading- your time and attention are valuable, and I respect that.👇Resources are found below the line break.
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Resources for You
Marco Bucci makes excellent art instruction videos for FREE on YouTube. Here is a great example.
That book again (it’s great): The Inner Game of Tennis.
Children’s animal drawings turned into ‘real’ animals by Photoshop master, Tom Curtis.
Take care of yourselves, take care of each other, remember to be kind, and I’ll say, Ciao for now.