I was recently turned on to this illustrator Chris Bishop‘s work by my friend Todd. Fun, chunky & bright colors.
This guy’s work was a nice helping hand for Todd as far as chiseling away the erroneous notion that your work “needs” to be “better” than what comes naturally and what you enjoy doing. We had a long discussion over some food the other night about this phenomenon that he & I both share. For years I struggled with the idea that the artwork I produced needed to be more than the fun cartoon stuff I love to create, something serious, something ‘heavy’.
College didn’t help much. After drifting from the graphic design program (or ‘visual communication design’ as they now call it) and into the fine arts program, I found myself easily swayed by the dominating meme of each clique. I wonder how much of that was me reading into things though.
It came to me a couple years ago – am I going to spend the rest of my life trying to discover my niche? I decided, after reading a helpful small biz book, Getting Business To Come To You, to go with their suggestion: do what comes naturally, easy and that which you enjoy the most. I would add to this ‘that in which you can shine in comparison to others’. I learned this directly after signing up for a Guru.com account under graphic design. I soon realized that while there may have been more work in that category, my real talent where I could stand out was in illustration. And getting to the point where I made the decision to be a cartoon illustrator/cartoonist was another hurdle. It seemed so specific, but it was what I did best. Especially after all the years I have been with (and still am) the cartoon company Fineline.
Sure, I still have ideas and projects that are non-cartoon, and I still do corporate & non-corporate design work, but I was really surprised at how happy I was to make a stand and go with it. I have been getting an exponentially larger response rate from my website for illustration work as well. I am sure all my Google optimizing didn’t hurt, but I think when people go there and see a defined style, it helps them make the decision.
When Todd saw Chris Bishop’s work, which Todd’s work is reminiscent of, it helped him get one step closer to being comfortable with doing what he loves, and not having exorbitant expectations of himself that go against the flow of who he is. It was hard for me to get to that spot (or at the least closer to it than I have been), but man is it a nice place to be. I look forward to seeing Todd there as well.