8 ways to escape your artistic comfort zone
Mondlicht Studios’ CEOs pool their wisdom to bring you 8 ways to escape your artistic comfort zone and challenge yourself…
Stay at the same level. Never gain more skills. Make your art a routine. Sounds terrifying, doesn’t it? But that is precisely what happens when an artist stays in his comfort zone. To become a better artist, to develop the skills you have to face challenges. It’s uncomfortable, it’s frightening, but it will help you grow and find opportunities you never thought about. Are you ready to push yourself to the new limits? Then step outside of your comfort zone!
Try something new
No, we are talking not about switching from Maya to 3ds Max. Think bigger and try something you always dreamed about but never had a chance or time to do it. Guitar classes, parachute flight? Anything might work! New experiences provide you not only with a story you will share with your friends, but it also gives you strong emotions, which transform to inspiration and creativity.
Start using new software
Working in 3D? Then switch to 2D and attempt some matte painting. That will help you to gain new experiences and understanding of how other specialists work. What’s more, you will get a possibility to broaden your skillset and create more complicated artworks.
The CG industry never stops. Every day you can get new experiences, face new challenges and broaden your skills. Which is why it’s so important to be ready for any changes – and software might help you a lot. Try new programs, learn more tricks, but do it very consciously. Otherwise, you will become a person who knows about everything, but knows nothing.
- Maksym Khirnyy, CEO at Mondlicht Studios
Start sharing your work
That’s a tricky one because your work might get some unexpected criticism. However, that shouldn’t prevent you from sharing artwork with the world. Even if you get a little bit of criticism, use it to improve your work and become a better artist. Every specialist you admire had a bunch of bad projects, especially at the beginning of the career.
Work in a different environment
All of us have created a small oasis around our working zone, which strongly associates with the working process. Change it and make yourself create something in an absolutely different place – go to the park, to the café, or to another city. Yes, if you are 3D modeler you won’t have a possibility to create a model without your powerful workstation, but you can think about new concepts and draw a couple of sketches for future projects.
Connect with a person you admire
Often, CG artists are open to new people and ready to share their tips and knowledge. So, don’t be shy and try to reach the person you admire – he or she can give you much more than you ever expected. However, try to be very polite and not too persistent. Remember that this person spends his private time to help you and it’s very important to appreciate it.
When I started my career in CG 10 years ago, there were no tutorials at all. However, we had a community, which became an incredible driving force for everybody who was ready to develop in this direction. The team and people I met during my career helped me to become better in what I do. And this works perfectly today – find a master, who is ready to help you, soak up all knowledge and advice, try your best, always find a solution, and you will succeed.
- Dmitriy Glazyrin, CEO at Mondlicht Studios
Participate in a contest
A lot of beginners are afraid of participating in any contests because they are sure that there will be many more skilled and talented people. We’re not going to lie to you – yes, there will. But it’s not an excuse to lock yourself at the same level – try as hard as you can, and even if you don’t get any award, you will gain experience and meet new people, which is even more fulfilling than the first place or money you can win.
Create a personal challenge
Challenges will never be useless. Think very profoundly and decide what you would like to improve in your artwork. Probably, you want to become a better modeler? Then spend 100 days in 3ds Max in a row! Interested in sketches? Create at least one sketch per day for a year. When the challenge is over compare your work before it and at the end – you will be very amazed.
Why are some people as good as they are? I know an automotive designer who was drawing for 10 hours each day, some of them with two hands at the same time. In the beginning, it was almost undoable, but he got hooked pretty fast and just did it until he couldn’t hold a pen anymore. The result is that he is incredibly skilled today. I met a concept artist who gave himself the task to make one speed painting each day, one hour max. He showed me some of his early works (which were already great and you could see so much skill and talent), but compared to what he does now – working at DreamWorks as a concept artist – he is still getting better each day
- David Schaefer, CEO at Mondlicht Studios
Change your mindset
If you feel unhappy about what you do, try to change your way of thinking. That’s a long process, and you should be ready that you won’t get up early each morning with entirely different thoughts in your head. Even if you are a beginner and all your artworks are obviously horrible, you shouldn’t be too critical about yourself – you need some time to develop your skills.
Trying to gain new experience, do not forget about the balance. You should understand and divide your comfort zone, your growth zone, and your panic zone. The first one gives you nothing, the second one will make you face new challenges and gain the experience you’re looking for, but the last one will provide you with nothing but the state of terror. Start small and push yourself very consciously – only in this case, you can get what you want and become proud of your new achievements.