Illustrator and designer, Matthew Taylor Wilson, explains why finding a community is such a crucial part of creative development for artists.
For artists starting out, building a creative community can be easier said than done.
Matthew Taylor Wilson discovered the importance of sharing and promoting work alongside his daily creative process. He writes about how he achieved this balance and why finding a creative community opened doors for him.
“There was a time early in my career when I thought hard work was all I needed. Work hard, and it’ll happen. As it turns out, that’s not really the case.
“The truth is, hard work is relative. Ultimately, you have to be really specific with your goals. As the industry becomes more saturated with talent, it becomes increasingly more difficult to break through the noise. No one will see your hard work if you don’t put it in front of them.
Photo credit Bryan Lemon
“Find a community. You’ll be better for it.”
“Platforms like Society6, for example, gave me a way to put my work in front of others. Through the platform, I suddenly had a high traffic hub for my personal portfolio, a way to generate passive income, and a chance to be a part of an awesome creative community.
“I’ve talked to a few aspiring illustrators, and they have the same reservations I once had about putting work out there. I get it. I hate being vulnerable.
“There are concerns such as criticism and art theft, but you have to weigh the pros over the cons. I’ve had my work stolen multiple times, and it’s infuriating. However, no one will see your work if you don’t put it in front of them. Share your work and share it often. Once I got over being shy and fearful about my art, I started to see results.
“If you have a problem with following-through (like everyone else), participate in a #dailydrawingchallenge online and get to know other people who are struggling through it, too. Find a community. You’ll be better for it.
“Make a lot of stuff.”
“Of course, you can’t become proficient at anything without doing it ALL THE TIME. You’ve gotta be obsessed. If you’re a person that won’t stop—like you physically can’t stop doing this art and design thing—then GOOD. You’ve got a chance.
“Making work is how you refine your process and your personal voice. Making is evolving. Make a lot of stuff. Draw every day. Do it.
“I know this seems elementary, but I’m serious. You’ll learn really quickly how you work best, what conditions don’t produce results, and what you love about working (and also what you hate). Honestly, learning what I hated was more of a revelation to me than everything else. I know what I love, and you probably know what you love, too.
“These days, I have a routine consisting of a whole lot of drawing and a whole lot of sharing. I’ve learned to pace myself, but that first initial sprint gave me a good head start.”