I think it’s important to continually challenge yourself as an artist. It helps you develop new skills and ways of thinking, while keeping things interesting. Though I also have noticed challenging one’s self can be a double edge sword. Before I get in to the details of that I want to talk a bit about my past at Savannah College of Art and Design that will tie in to this topic.
While I was studying at SCAD I always did my best to turn in the best work I could do and often tried to be really creative and unique. It’s only upon reflecting back over the past few years that I realized two things. First I really didn’t put in as much effort or time that I could/should have and second I usually bit off more than I could chew or was in my ability to achieve. Logically I know I was doing the best I could with the knowledge I had at the time. I was a naive person and there was just a lot that I couldn’t have known so while I’m disappointed that I didn’t do more, I understand that was just the circumstances of the time.
When I returned to college in 2016 I was determined to push myself harder and focus on turning in top quality work and not just take the easy path. The assignments we’ve been given could be approached in a way that would take me minimal effort to do and they would still look great, but they wouldn’t really stand out. So almost every time I try to develop the project further than what is required. The box above for example, we just needed to do a design that wrapped around the box. We could have done anything, but since I want to get a job doing product or packaging design I wanted to make something that would fit in to my portfolio. So I designed a Gatcha Makeup product box. Which means I had to come up with a logo and other extra stuff causing myself to work more than my other classmates. Yet it was worth it because now I have a great portfolio piece.
When I approach my projects as a new challenge I almost always feel I turn out better work than if I just played it safe and made it easy on myself. Sure I would likely still have high quality work, but I think it wouldn’t be as rewarding. The above Raise the Dead bottle was actually executed easier than I thought it would be, but by going through the process I learned how to apply vinyl to glass and can use that in future ideas. I also seem to “win” our competitions by going beyond the standard requirements. This bottle was a winner as well as the following tshirt design.
I actually barely finished this in time for the presentation because I was working in illustrator up to the last minute because of all the detail. BUT the idea and effort paid off and it didn’t even matter that I used white and blue, we were supposed to use different colors because they thought white and blue (the school’s current colors) were a little over used.
The reason I’ve been thinking about this the past few months is I always focus on these complex designs/ideas and end up stressing myself out and sometimes I wonder if it’s worth it. I know it is, but sometimes I just want to give myself a break and not so much stress.
Here’s the most current project I completed that stressed me out because we only had a week to complete it.
This is just the first prototype I did in class and it was actually looking pretty good except the flimsy paper was making it hard to trouble shoot the design flaws and where it needed to be corrected. This was given to us on Tuesday and we were to finish it up by the end of class on Thursday. I was only able to work on it Wednesday night because I had other things come up that kept me from working on it and I was a little worried I wouldn’t be able to have something that functioned and looked good with such little time. I might would have to settle for something that just functioned.
Before we get to my final design, let me explain the project and what most other people were going to turn in. We had to turn in a box with a design on top that would interlock and close the box and complete the image, say two halves of a heart coming together to make a whole. While the professor was showing us the examples the thing that stood out to me was that they were all flat (except for one that used more of a cut out design). I didn’t really like that because other than the top all the boxes looked the same until you picked it up and tilted it so I wanted to come up with a 3D design that could be actually be used as a real life product package so I decided on a Christmas tree for special holiday packaging. This is the final prototype:
These aren’t the greatest pictures and this is after it’s been man-handled a bit, I wanted to post the video I took right after I completed it, but I just have a basic account and it won’t let me… boo. You can see the video on my Facebook page if you want.
I don’t have a final version of this because I thought we were going to laser cut them that Thursday in class but he told us to start on our next project and we could cut them another time…. so this is the best I have. I still think it’s awesome for only two days of work. I was really happy with it when I finished that night.
My point of all this is to keep pushing yourself and don’t just take the easy path. Of course you have to take in to consideration your abilities and time, but don’t let something that seems hard deter you from pursuing an idea you have it might just be something amazing that’s never been done before and it’s building your stats!