5 Reasons Getting to Know Yourself is the Key to Finding Your Artistic Voice
1. Understanding what moves you helps you move others!
This video was shared with me by my friend John Stanbury from Advice to Sink in Slowly (who I made this print for). It’s basically about the old ‘write what you know’ idea but clarifying it from writing what you know circumstantially, to what you emotionally know. When you identify the moments in your life when you ‘felt the most’ (either from life or from media) you can start to develop an emotional palette for your work. For me a lot of what I work with is childhood over the top melancholy(!) (thinks Charlie Brown Christmas and Fraggle Rock) and absurd humor (The Muppets and Spongebob)
2. Knowing your personality type helps you play to your strengths!
Some people hate the myers-briggs test, and I’m not one of those people. There are problems with personality tests, but don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. I suggest taking this personality test here. Take that result, the 4 letter archetype, and read about it online. This helped me realize I prefer to lean towards evoking emotion in my work rather than engage thinking. Huge in my development!
3. Realize the differences between you and your influences!
In college I discovered a lot of work that moved me so much that I just felt defeated that I hadn’t made it. It felt like I was looking at work I would have made based on my life and personality! Learning about myself helped me realize all the ways I am unique and different from all other designers out there that inspire me, then I focused and pushed hard into my differences to set myself apart as much as possible.
4. Finding what’s important to you enriches your artistic voice!
I suggest writing a list of the things that are most important to you. Write a top ten list of the most important people to you, movies, books, beliefs, etc. The more you write and identify the more you can inject it into your work. When you start finding these things and injecting them into your work the easier for people to relate to your work because it gains authenticity. This adds nuance and humanity to your artistic voice.
5. Knowing where you want to go gives you focus!
When you take time to understand who you really are you start to get a sense of where you want to go. When you understand where you would like to be in 5, 10, 15 years you start to understand what type of work you should be doing. For instance, if you really want to be making your own graphic novels in 5 years you shouldn’t be spending all your time trying to develop a style that works best on t-shirts.