Trying to find out a success formula for ordinary professionals, more specifically people in the design and development industry, one has to understand how some of the greatest creative men did it. Life threw the same kind of challenges to them that it does to us but they were eventually successful. How?
I tried to develop an understanding of how some of the great personalities kept their belief and enthusiasm alive in the face of extreme hardships? Based on what I could gather, I will try to put down some thoughts on the kind of traits an ordinary designer, developer or animator should acquire to be different from the crowd, more importantly, to be successful!
Self-belief: Feel positive and confident about your abilities and your work. If someone else can do it, you too can do it; probably in a much better way than many others. Having said so, don’t stop learning. Be on the lookout for things you can learn from every situation and every other piece of art. Learn from your mistakes, if you make them. This is how you build your experience. Successful people make mistakes, but they don’t surrender to them. Instead, they keep moving and learn from them.
Remain a learner: Without being repetitive, let’s emphasize the need to continue being a good learner. Even the best of artists and professionals know they are far from being perfect or ultimate. They may be masters of one specific art or field but there are many others to be learnt and mastered. Keep building your armory of knowledge and skills and you would wonder how you have been managing without a specific skill you have just learnt.
Don’t give up: There will be times when you will feel like giving up in the face of adversities; probably an over-too-demanding customer, an irksome boss, a tough deadline, and limitations of your own abilities. However, stick to it and keep trying as perseverance is what can come out with startling results. Irrespective of challenges and limitations, keep thinking, keep trying, and keep creating. Even if you feel you have explored every corner of your mind, keep searching for new ideas and your mind may well come out with pleasant surprises. Try to explore other’s work. Watch the television. Read the magazines. An idea may suddenly pop and you are done.
Take it very seriously: If animation is your career, take it as seriously as a doctor takes medicine or an athlete takes his sport. Plan your career in a professional manner, and do the hard work. It cannot be a casual or accidental affair. Be very specific about the path you are going to traverse and work hard to proceed smartly. There are millions of people who can do something but only a few thousand you can do it perfectly. Aim to be the best of the best and try to be in the later group. Modern world of animation can not just be mastered by a pencil and a paper. It is getting sophisticated and technologically very advanced. Lack of proper training of modern animation techniques and software would deter your chances of being a successful animation artist. Formal education of graphics and animation coupled with exploratory experiments with associated arts would help in you laying a strong foundation to a glorious career.
Be artistic and creative: The field of animation is not like any other profession. It is based on creativity; a special ability to generate something new. It is not very common. If you are an animation or graphics artist, you are lucky to have been blessed with the gift of creativity. Never shy away from using your best creative ideas. Some people save their ‘best’ ideas for the ‘best’ projects but this approach is flawed. A ‘great idea’ today may become an ‘ordinary idea’ tomorrow. Use it NOW and let your mind come out with more. We, creative people, tend to underestimate the capabilities of our own mind but trust me, it can surprise you.
Ironically, just being creative would not do much good if one is not able to convert his/her ideas into tangible art. There are millions of people who have great ideas but have no means to put life into them. Such ideas don’t mean anything to the world and can be categorized as daydreaming. Develop artistic capabilities and strengthen them. Practice drawing as much as you can. Learn to use colours in innovative and fresh styles. Learn and master the use of pencil and brush even if you know most of your work would involve working on computer screen only, as it does help.
Having an eye for detail, being a team player, developing a tendency to comprehend others’ expectations, having a child-like enthusiasm for work, enjoying the process of creativity and building experience are a few other traits you may like to develop in order to become an accomplished professional.
Last but not the least; learn to view your work from the eyes of a neutral spectator. Examine your work without any fascinations, attachment or prejudice. Before handing it over just ask yourself if you would like to add it to your portfolio? If your answer is a firm ‘yes’, then congratulations, you have just created a marvel.