A deadline is negative inspiration. Still, it’s better than no inspiration at all.
-Rita Mae Brown

We’re nearing the end of the quarter, and soon will be nearing our Focus on Illustrator. This is good news and bad news… Good news is that we’ll be moving into new software and learning new things. That’s always fun. Challenging, but fun. The bad news is that some of you are still not learning to use the tool. You’re learning how to make the tools in illustrator work, but you’re not learning to make them work for YOUR DESIGN. And a lot of the problem is that you guys are not developing good, strong ideas to make happen.

First- Get on to the lab and make sure you’re getting your work done. ‘Nuff said about that. Report cards coming soon. Don’t fall too far behind unless you are making my face melt off with amazing beautiful design.

Look at the inspiration. Research (which means, by etymology, to search and search again!) other ideas. Develop a smart “catch” for your message. Ask friends to critique your work and EMBRACE the constructive criticism. 5 weeks and a handful of tutorials does not make you a designer… so listen to creative, constructive critique. Some of you are acting like criticism is a bad thing! Nothing can be farther from the truth!! Until you learn to let go of your fragile ego and self-importance, you will never become strong and truly important. Really listen to these wise words:

“We need very strong ears to hear ourselves judged frankly, and because there are few who can endure frank criticism without being stung by it, those who venture to criticize us perform a remarkable act of friendship, for to undertake to wound or offend a man for his own good is to have a healthy love for him.”
-Michel De Montaigne

The people that take the time and effort to criticize you should be viewed as friends. They are helping you see the areas where you can grow. This does, of course, assume that they are criticizing your art in honesty, and not in arrogance… but even if they are, so what?? Take it in anyway! It says nothing about who you are or your value as a person, so who cares if they don’t like it? Take in the criticism and ask yourself the harder questions- “What might they be seeing that I am blind to?” “What am I failing to communicate to another audience different than myself?” “Can I articulate why I disagree with their criticism if I feel it is unfair?” Without being able to articulate why the other person is wrong, you have to assume they are right in their criticism- at least for them. And maybe you can look at their art and realize you’re just from different places when it comes to design. Maybe the other person is a small person and has to retaliate because you judged their art poorly. That’s sad, so don’t even bother fighting back. Just be honest in your critique of their work and if they can’t take it, don’t worry about it. Their one little comment won’t offset the comments by the other 40 students in class. (if all 40 are saying it needs a lot of work, then it probably does, and you would be wise to listen.)

Can’t accept criticism? That’s easy to solve. Choose to be a loser and a quitter. What??? I’m being too harsh? I’m not the first to say it:

“Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing”
– Aristotle

Take a step out. Do something amazing. Take the time to create something excellent. It’s so much better to be proud of a project than just “done” with it. Try to speak to the world… and when the world says they don’t get it… re-work the message or delivery so that the things that you have to say that are important can be heard.

You may feel a little pang when someone else criticizes your art. That’s fine, we all do. Especially when we’ve worked hard on it. But the question to ask is not “How do I avoid criticism?”, but “Is my perception of my own work truly justified?” (thanks, Jesse P for today’s amazing logo and inspirational message.)

10/8 Update– Hey guys… I’m in PA shooting a wedding (photography.) You know the drill… just keep moving on in your projects, and remember that for 106 and 107, we’re really focusing on creating a beautiful piece, those aren’t “learning” but “doing’ projects. HIGH STANDARDS for those two! 108-1.11 are kind of fun and learning projects… so lots of freedom to do whatever you want- and there’s really no examples because I’m leaving it wide open for you!