What are your next 3 steps to move your creative practice forward? (Go!)
Happy weekend, I’m experimenting with a discussion post (thread). I was wondering what the next 3 steps you have planned for your creative career/practice. It doesn’t have to be a great plan. I just though it might be a good way we could see how all of us are moving forward and I’m hoping it would be encouraging.
My plans 30 months ago were
1. to draw every day
2. Post on Instagram everyday
3. Hope for the best
It was a crude plan, and though I see it as naive now, at the time, it was the best I could do, and it lead to the nexts steps :)
Maybe I’ll share my next 3 steps. Last year was about finding an agent and getting work. This year is about
1. Delivering the best work I possibly can. I want to make the people who hired me look really good!
2. Continue to develop as an artist and illustrator through classes and self study. (Sometimes a book makes the difference)
3. Play some small part in helping as many of you reach your creative goals by sharing my notes.
I had a similar plan to yours about two years ago, but feel I slowed myself down a lot with endless experimentation (with style, medium, and subject) and constant soul-searching. This year, I've decided to focus my efforts on children's books, though it's so easy for Instagram to steal attention away. I'm easily swayed by IG Challenges and prompts because then someone else gets to decide what I work on and because of FOMO and the good feeling of community. I am also easily distracted by classes because taking them feels productive while actually keeping me from sitting and doing the work on my list. So...this is my plan for the rest of this month and next:
1. I will produce a polished character sheet for my main character and work on facial expressions and capturing movement.
2. I will finish a second dummy of my manuscript.
3. I will finish Lilla and Tamisha's Redrawing Black History class assignments and the assignments for my Storyteller Academy Illustration class that will add at least one finished piece to my (currently) meager portfolio.
Thanks for encouraging this dialogue. It helps to put it in writing for accountability's sake. Now, off to work!
I have a pal to chat to after a House of Illustration course, so I am thinking in much smaller weekly steps as she and I check in with each other.
By Friday I am:
1. Sending draft PB out to my final couple of literary agents;
2. 1 x colour portfolio piece (have to get an animal in there - last week was more than 2 kids (as am lazy and work too fast without thinking!)); and
3. 1 x b & w portfolio piece for mid-grade (this will involve some thinking as will be my first thought through go).
Realise that 2 portfolio pieces is a bit much in a week but at least going to try and plan the pair.
Ok I had this big plan to be 2 months ahead with all my content but that didn’t materialize. Maybe it’s too big of a goal I dunno so I decided to work towards it instead of diving in.
So my plan is to :
1. Create something every day with the aim of being at least 1 week ahead of social media ( progressing towards my 2 months ahead goal). From here I’ll pull something to blog about
2. Paint with watercolor only for the rest of the year. I can hardly decide on a medium but I think mixing too many of them is getting to confusing for me and I’m not enjoying it at all or learning enough. For now watercolor is the most convenient so the path of least resistance is what I’m taking here
3. Paint in plain air every month. I need to find a spot that I go to where I can park up safely and get this done.
1. Continue to spend a few minutes doing observational sketches every day from my planned out list. Creating lists when I'm in a goal mindset helps keep me inching forward in my creative practice when I'm in my easily distracted state the other 364 days of the year, lol. If I draw something on this list, I've at least done something related to my main project.
2. Taking industry-related classes and continuing to read and study picture books every day. This will help me understand the industry I am getting into, as well as make my own writing and illustrating better.
3. Set up a properly lit diorama photography area in my studio so that I can get comfortable with photography, as that's a skill I'll need to photograph my 3D work.
I enjoyed how this prompt got me thinking~
My plans are all over the place and so
1. Get my plans organized into a plan~ I also need a better online presence (not my favorite thing to do)
2. I started a daily sketchbook where I sketch what I eat, activities, what I’ve done that day, gratitude. (This has been a good place for daily drawing practice and slowing down in mindfulness)
3. I’m also setting out to paint in nature more
1. Market to book and magazine publishers, including creating new personal pieces until current book in progress publishes.
2. Build up passive income with Patternbank, so I can keep doing pattern work without focusing on marketing it, too.
3. Get a book agent by the end of the year (researching in early part of year and then contacting once the current book in progress has published).
thanks for sharing this post and to everyone who has joined in! I think saying (or typing!) helps you be accountable for your goals too so that is great!
Experiment and continue working on my style - to not be afraid to make mistakes!
To build up my portfolio ready to find an agent ( I would like to say find an agent by the end of the year .. bbuuuuuuutt.... baby steps!)
To complete classes and reading to support me developing and learning in this new creative world.
Another great topic, Adam! I admit I have been struggling in finding new goals for 2022. I knew what I wanted to achieve by the end of last year. I manage to reach a lot of those goals. I felt stuck lately on choosing what will be the next steps.
Since I have signed a new book deal last week and I’m planning to do several MATS courses in the next few months, I don’t have clear professional goals for the first part of 2022. I want to put all my energy into those two things. But here are three thoughts I want to keep in mind while working:
1. Write how much time I spend on each step of each project so it becomes easier to know how many projects I can do at the same time.
2. Don’t sign for jobs I’m not really into.
3. Don't let social medias influence your style.
And here are three things I want to eventually work on:
1. Organize my texture library and create/explore some more.
2. Work on the way I draw objects. I may give myself some exercises later this year. I feel I’m all over the place these days and I want to develop a clean style about this.
3. Crowd scene!!!!
Eventually, I’d like to work on some postcards to send to publishers and to work on my Etsy shop.
Thanks for your topic, Adam. It really helped me clear my mind!
Love your Substack, Adam! Thanks for sharing your creative processes and thoughts. Keep it going! :)
My 3 next steps (some are already current):
1 · Drawing every day. Creating a consistent practice. (I am an architect and designer)
2 · Writing and publishing weekly in 'The Sketch Club' as a way to learn, improve my creative skills and build a community of artists and designers (have a look, perhaps you find it helpful!) https://thesketchclub.substack.com/
3 · Exploring more of London, the city where I live
It’s so fun to see everyone’s plans! Thanks for creating this thread, Adam. I’m a writer and abstract painter. I really love seeing the work of so many incredible illustrators. It makes me curious now about maybe one day collaborating to make children’s books full of amazing art and rhymes.
My next 3 steps are:
1. Write and send two newsletters a week
2. Set up an author website
3. Finish my book proposal
The following are my next 3 steps:
1. Hone into my style even more, and develop strong pieces that fit with my style and the market I’m interested in. Do at least one new portfolio piece a mont (or every two months).
2. Work on my PB ideas. Finish my first picture book dummy and submit it to art directors.
3. Work on my social media presence so I can get more jobs I truly like. Create a blog/substack/other. Market my work as well as possible and create a real plan for it.
I would also looove to do a MATS course but I’m not sure I can afford it. Do you think its worth the investment?