Judge your Art based on the Worst Day Possible
|Richard Anderson (Flaptraps)|
Your stove is on fire. Your pet hamster is sick. You stubbed your toe on a table leg. Worst of all, you have to finish a concept environment in 3 hours!
We often see our art idols as infallible immortals. Everything they create are masterpieces! The reality is very rarely do they actually create work they deem as the highest display of their skill. It’s just that they’re so honed, their worst is still better than a lot of people’s best.
This is something a lot of schools don’t teach. The real work environment and life are ripe with many variables you don’t see in school. The factor of cutthroat deadlines, having to pay bills, the stress of dealing with bosses, and literally anything that occurs in your daily life will play a part of how you perform. Thus, it is imperative you are able to make professional artwork on any given front.
I liken it to a weird analogy with video games. In gaming, a lot of times weapons have a damage range of, let’s say, 1-10. That means on any given attack, you are just as likely to hit a 10 as a 1, and your strategic decisions have to based around the worst possible scenario or, at least, the average outcome.
Now, let’s say another weapon drops and it’s 4-8 damage instead. I think anybody in their right mind would agree this new weapon is the better one from the previous one, on the basis that on average you are able to deal more damage consistently.
Apply this with art. At any given point, we aren’t really looking at when we can create a 10 quality piece of work. We should be looking at what we are able to do when inspiration is at its least. This is especially true when you are working in a studio job, having to grind hours upon hours of work. It’s a hard ask for anybody to hit a 10 consistently throughout a day, through weeks, through months, through years.
Truth be told, working in a studio is more about consistency. A studio isn’t going to hire you if you have an off-chance at creating a completely inadequate piece of artwork even if your best is better than anything they have. They want to know that no matter what changes in your life, you can deliver.
Understand your own “minimum”, raise it, and believe in it. This comes from simply practicing and knowing what your potential is. Many times, you’ll find yourself dumping an artwork because it’s not up to par. However, you have to take a harder look at just what it looks like when you do trash a piece. That piece is invaluable; you now have hard evidence of what something that even you don’t approve of looks like.
Keep in mind that others may still be happy with the result. That’s the important part; you now have solid evidence your worst work can be professionally presented. Be proud of that!