The Art of Professionalism

Talent and a polished portfolio are only one part of being a professional artist. Your fantastic work will only take you so far if you are unreliable or difficult to work with.

You may be the best writer, modeler, draftsman, painter or designer, but if you can’t take critical feedback, work collaboratively with others or meet a deadline, you will find difficulty in maintaining longevity in your career.

This crucial tidbit of advice holds true across disciplines and creative industries.

The most successful artists not only possess refined artistic ability, but also understand the need for being a productive and reliable professional, fostering positive relationships and reputation.

So push your work to be better and better. Learn new techniques and diversify skill-set, but don’t neglect the art of being a professional. Your career will thank you for it.

 

Give Thanks!

It’s easy to become jaded in a professional setting. Employees do their jobs, and they are financially compensated for it.  Money however, is often not the most important component in keeping folks positive and engaged.  Let team members know how much you appreciate them going the extra mile to do an exceptional job.  Tell them you’ve noticed how they are giving of their time, helping other team members to grow or execute against a challenging assignment. Give thanks!! Let your team know their contributions are meaningful and appreciated.

 

Contrast Counts

We talk a lot about contrast in the process of art production, but it's usually mentioned in the context of value. At its core, contrast is about differentiation, making elements separate from one another to bolster visual clarity. In order to stimulate the eye of a viewer, you need that push and pull.  If everything is the same, boring right?  So taking the notion of contrast further, consider it in the context of not only value, but also contrast of form, scale and silhouette. Think about dynamic color schemes with contrast in hue or contrast in your levels of saturation. Play with contrast in texture and levels of detail too! Bottom line is contrast is not only about value, but about pushing and pulling with all of the tools at your disposal to create amazing visual content that will stimulate and excite your audience.

Embrace Discomfort

Taking on a task you’ve never done before is uncomfortable for most people. As creatures of habit, we prefer the safety of the known and familiar, but growth often requires venturing into unexplored territory. You’re not alone in your discomfort. Welcome that feeling as a required vehicle to your final destination. The more familiar you are with discomfort, the less it will affect you each time you encounter it!

Responsibility

Leaders are responsible for establishing tone, owning vision and getting buy-in from their team. They’re responsible for setting team members up for success, cultivating engagement so folks can do what they do best. A leader should be that second set of eyes, responsible for helping a team fight through blockers and guiding improvement to the quality of work. And if something goes south, a leader is responsible for taking ownership to address issues in a constructive manner. Oh, and you’re responsible for buying the team drinks at Happy Hour. Oddly, that one is often the most appreciated. 

Ask Questions!

Asking questions is your quickest route to gaining clarity when kicking off a new task. It’s important to comprehend the fine detail of your discipline, but it can also be enlightening to understand how your work fits into the bigger picture. Another useful tool is to not only inquire on the “yes", but also identify what you can rule out as a “no.”  Having clearly outlined parameters can save you hours of wasted cycles and will direct you to a more successful outcome!