It’s interesting how easily us creative people tend to get seduced by technique, when starting out in an industry that’s new to us. And how sometimes we believe that finding that one technique, or that one perfect tool, will single handedly shed light on us and make us successful.
It’s a pattern I noticed with myself initially, and then noticed many creative people, when starting out, tend to focus on the things you see on the surface of someone’s work. And putting most of their energy towards that.
For instance I’ve had talented, aspiring illustrators ask me what software I use to draw digitally, or what types of brushes I use – because they like my style. Which is great, but almost nobody asks about the concepts I started from, or why I decided to go one way or the other. They don’t see that. And I, too, used to believe that the color palette and drawing technique is what defines your style – and it took me a long time to get past that idea and just start doing my own stuff, focusing on what’s underneath all that.
I’ve seen new designers (like myself, back when I started) subscribing to all the design magazines and reading them cover to cover, in search for the perfect tools, obsessing about whether to use Photoshop or Illustrator, reading about trends and colors of the year. And yet never quite getting design problems solved, because that would imply flexibility from a designer, and how can you be flexible when you insist on creating from within a box?
From the same category, I know of young film makers who believe that certain filming techniques or editing tools or high performing cameras will help them achieve a recognizable style – and therefore will make their work successful. But what they don’t see is that a powerful story can overcome the limitations of technology, if told right. And chances are, a short film with a good story but poor technique will be more appreciated than one that respects all the rules, is shot in HD and perfectly edited, but lacks meaning and emotion.
Is it possible that all this continuous research for the perfect technique is just procrastinating, because we are afraid to start experimenting and find out how good we actually are at something?
What do you think? Have you experienced that, too? Leave me a comment and tell me about it!