Jul 29, 2013

Finding The Perfect Bait

I've just finished reading Bobby Chiu's book, The Perfect Bait, a really good read that can be likened to a collection of chunks of knowledge and experiences that have been learnt by Bobby throughout his career as an artist. To see more of Bobby's work please refer to the following links here & here.

Anyone who knows me knows that over the past few months since graduating from a university Honours program in Animation, knows that I have been struggling with finding not only paying work but also my place in the industry and my personal centre and self motivation as an artist. Chiu's book has been helpful in structuring this search and in identifying the process to becoming a more confident and successful artist. Chiu maps out his suggestions for five steps that he believes are important in not only kick starting you artistic career but (I think) more importantly maintaining the drive and hunger for success- regardless of how that success is defined.

The five steps that Chiu outlines on page 6 of The Perfect Bait are:

1. Increasing your skills
2. Motivation
3. Exposure
4. Attracting big clients
5. Financial security

For me, the first and second ones kind of dictate how the rest of them will play out. Luckily I subscribe to the notion of life long learning and am more than keen to learn new skills especially if its art related- my biggest problem, like so many other people, is procrastination. Procrastination is the asshole at the party who drops an inappropriate joke and grinds the flow of conversation to a shattering halt. When procrastination moves in, motivation and the desire to learn moves out and slams the door. So I've decided because I feel like I'm in this creative rut that I'm going to build my art career upon this five step structure- it may not work for everyone, but I like structure and lists and mapping my way through things so I'm hoping it will work.

My five steps will look something like this:

1. Increasing Skills:
- Untutored Life Drawing classes
- Online classes- courses and video tutorials at least once a week
- Have a long term personal project

2. Motivation:
- Vary mediums- digital, drawing, acrylics
- Aim to complete one digital work each week
- Regular catchups with people who inspire me
- Competitions- Enter at least one a month to give short deadlines and focus
- Sketchbooks- maintain a sketchbook draw in it everyday
- Go out to draw anything, everyone and everything
- Make use of podcasts & itunesU short courses
- Have a long term personal project

3. Exposure:
- Continue with blogging but aim to be more regular and topical in addition to showing work
- Get back to selling traditional paintings online through my etsy store
- Be active in online forums

4. Attracting big clients:
- this step is not something that I am greatly concerned about at the moment, I think it's more important that I get a clearer sense of my place in the industry and a greater understanding of who I am as an artist. My financial plan in step 5 also takes the pressure off getting big clients.

5. Financial Security:
- To take the pressure off myself in the development of my art and art career, I've decided to go back to teaching as a job (supply or contract) not a career. This will allow me to earn a decent income and if treated as a job rather than an all defining career then I will be able to maintain the development of my art career relying on steps 1 and 2 to do so.

For me, Chiu's book helped to give me clarity and reassurance. I like the idea that I have a skeleton framework on which to hang my own personal interpretation of his 5 steps. I also felt like I was engaged in a conversation with a professional in the industry, someone who had been there and pre-empted my questions because they were once his own questions when he started out. More than anything though, Bobby Chiu's The Perfect Bait has motivated me to 'just keep swimming, just keep swimming.'

More information about Bobby Chiu's The Perfect Bait, including purchase information & formats, can be found at the following link: http://www.theperfectbait.com/about.php

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