Whether it’s about not having enough art, enough time, or enough confidence – fear tends to be THE common denominator that keeps many artists stuck at the beginning of their surface design career. And the fear I hear most often in my conversations with artists is…
“I’m afraid to start my career because I don’t have enough knowledge of the surface design industry.”
What often happens is we get caught up in a cycle of procrastination: creating another pattern collection because we’ve convinced ourselves we need more art, taking another course to learn about another new program that launched on the iPad, or adding a “Following” comment to any surface design related post in the many Facebook groups we’re in. Sound familiar?
Now there’s nothing wrong with portfolio building, education, or community – I’m definitely not saying that! In fact, those are all very important ingredients to any well-rounded design biz.
But when you use them as an excuse for why you can’t get started, that’s when it’s a problem because you aren’t getting yourself any closer to a career in surface design.
Because here’s the rub: You’ll never truly learn how the industry works if you don’t immerse yourself in it.
And although I give out lots of advice and inject as much real-world experience into our surface design classes as possible to shorten the knowledge gap in our industry, the real magic happens when you actually put things into practice and start pitching your art to companies. Because THAT’S where you’ll gain the most knowledge of the surface design industry: doing the work and making mistakes.
I know that terrifies a lot of artists though.
Especially if you’re a perfectionist who wants everything you do and create to be flawless and feel 100% prepared for every scenario possible. That’s not realistic though.
Believe me, I know. I’ve been a recovering perfectionist for the past 10 years, so I know the never–ending struggle!
But you’ll learn FAR more from your own experience (especially what NOT to do) than you will from trying to learn everything ahead of time without doing any work.
So as scary as it seems, if you’re a designer who feels like you can’t get started because you don’t know enough about surface design, truly the single best piece of advice I can give you is: Just get started, sending out your art to companies and realize that knowledge will come from both your effort and time.
And with that in mind, I’ve got a little assignment for you: Choose 1 task that you’ve been waiting to do until you’re “ready” as a surface designer.
Maybe it’s registering a domain so you can finally start the website you know you need.
Or submitting the forms necessary to become an LLC.
Or sending your very first introduction email to a company.
Whatever that one task is commit to crossing it off your list this week!
And if you want brownie points, post the task you plan to complete in the comments below so everyone can see how brave and committed you are to building your career as a surface designer.