Not enough time in the day…

Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Dribbble, Instagram… everyday designers, artists, illustrators, makers and doers around the world post their creations online for us to appreciate. While this can often prove a vital resource for inspiration, there are a number of catches when browsing and posting art and design online…

The first problem is that what you think is wonderful (and your mum has reassured you is truly awesome) might just be a bit rubbish. And now the whole of the internet has seen it and anonymous commenters are bluntly comparing your artistic ability to that of a trained chimp. Ouch! Of course the alternative is almost as bad – your work is poor but you get 30+ likes on Instagram so you falsely assume that it’s good. Who are these people who are telling you that your work is ‘Adorbs’ or ‘Sick!’ and do they know what they’re talking about? Take a look at their profile and the sort of thing they post. If it’s all kittens and food, are they really a valid critic? Perhaps not. So, rule 1: don’t just post any old stuff. Look at it. Evaluate it. Post it only if you’re proud of it.

The second problem with sticking all your images online is that other people, less scrupulous than yourself, may appropriate your work and pass it off as their own. Rule 2: if you’re showing professional work that you use to earn your living, it may be better to only show a sneak peek online or to invest in professional watermark services to protect your copyright.

A further problem with looking at the work of talented, skilled designers and illustrators from across the world is the crushing sense of personal failure that can arise when you realize that, even if you quit your day job and did nothing but drawing practice from now until you’re 90, you’re never going to be THAT good. Oof! That can be a harsh blow to your ego but hey – maybe that person can’t code websites or cook a mean linguini or whatever your particular talent may be. So rule 3: don’t let the talents of others knock your self-confidence.

However, the main problem with browsing Pinterest and Behance etc is that we spend too much time looking and not enough doing… Faced with the sheer enormity of stuff available to look at, admire, covet and drool over, it’s easy to waste whole afternoons browsing, pinning and admiring inspirational images but that’s time you could have spent creating your own little masterpiece. So the final, most important rule is: make time to make things. Go on…

(Featured image: Whale  by Sarah Bibby)

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