There are so many tools each within our respective industries, fields of expertise, our hobbies and our passions that make whatever you choose to do so accessible to anyone. If you don’t like one tool, you can simply try another until you gel with something and create a process with it. For designers that would be the difference between using Photoshop, Sketch, or Affinity Design. if you don’t like one, there are more you can choose that essentially do the same thing.
There are millions of artists, designers, videographers, photographers, animators that are sharing their hard work. The work in which they have spent years developing a style, learning the practice, the theories, the principles. All of which are competing in the same space, not against each other, but against the user, the consumer on the platform they are sharing their work on.
Competition is a mentality, where you choose to view someone who does the same thing as you as a competitor or see them as a partner, someone who is an advocate or the craft or skill, like you. A lot of the letterers I know would never consider another letterer as competition. In fact, letterers I know have reached out to me, and I to them, in a bid to meet up, share ideas, tips and have conversations about the artform.
There is no animosity between people who do the same thing unless you choose there to be.
Building an audience and gaining attention allows you to make money, become renown, be seen as an expert, and to make a difference. These factors play a large part in why an artist would want to build an audience and continue sharing the work they love to do. Everyone likes to be seen as good at something. But how do you create this audience ad cut through the rest of the other artists whoa re doing something similar to you. There are two ways;
- Develop your own personal style.
- Create so much that you can’t go ignored.
Developing your own personal style comes with years of working in the same field, experimenting with various tools, artforms, and inspiration that you sponge from over the years of creating. We all have our inspirations and our heroes in the field we pursue. All of the work from the places we consume them from rub off on us. They leave an impression. I know I certainly have browsed Pinterest boards of lettering and have introduced a certain style after perusing for inspiration. You pick up pieces as you go. And go, and go, for years. But this isn’t limited to just consuming inspiration from your passion. Life events, travel, information and values shape the work you create over your life.
Creating so much work that they can’t ignore you is an excerpt from a Steve Martin interview, in which he says, “Be so good they can’t ignore you”. This is the sentiment in which you have to create so much high quality at such a high volume and at a consistent pace. An extremely tough trifecta of challenges, that if one of them was taken out, the whole thing crumbles and you don’t gain the traction needed to grow exponentially. You will grow slowly over time, but not to its full potential.
When you start to gain traction, more users will see your work, more will the message it offers, the service you offer, the information and knowledge you are giving. It’s when people resonate with the message of your work is when you start to gain traction. When people resonate with it, they are more likely to attribute you as the conceiver of that knowledge, as an expert of that message and an expert in that field. They are more likely to share that message when they feel as though it has spoken to them directly because it is a direct reflection of themselves. Why else does anyone share a message unless it speaks to them and reflects their own values and what they stand for? No one is going to advocate something they are against.
How do you think you follow the people that you follow now? All the photographers, the designers, the painters, the musicians. You have heard of them because they are good, because they have consistently been good, and because they have created so much quality work that you have heard of them. They can’t be ignored. There is a reason you know who about them. They deliver high quality in a high volume on a consistent basis.
More than likely they are on social media, engaging with fans and followers. If they aren’t now, then they are too big to possibly message everyone back. But at one stage they did. Think about how you can reach that level. How can you change your habits to produce more high-quality work, or deliver it more often? What are you focussing on right now that is distracting you from this goal? How can you become one of the greats? The great work gets noticed and doesn’t stay under the radar for long.
You either want it or you don’t. Think about what season you are in right now in your career. Is this the season where you want to explore your options or learn a new skill or experiment with styles? Or are you taking a break, to focus on more personal aspects, your health, family, travelling, making friends, trying new things, etc.?
But if you’re serious about becoming one of the greats a leaving a legacy. You have to make a decision on what you want to do with your passion when your aim is to build an audience. Do you just want to share casually, or do you want to build and maintain an audience for it? Because it you do, then there is one state of mind you need to adopt;
You need to get to a level where you are posting high-quality work on a daily level.