Shop Talk

Open Discussion: What was Your Steepest Learning Curve?

Picking up from last week’s “Do You Consider Yourself An Expert?” chat, in this week’s Open Discussion we’re asking you to share the steepest learning curve you’ve had to overcome since you began making art. Learning curves can be obvious (like, I learned quickly what skills I didn’t have, just when I needed them), or universal (like making art is hard and joyous both at the same time). I understand asking you to share what are basically weaknesses is a big ask, but I truly believe it’s great to talk about and discuss them openly.

Recently, I’ve heard about some pretty common learning curves: “I didn’t know I could actually be so poor” or funny ones like, “I leaned not to work for crazy-town people,” but some of them can be really sad and difficult. And that’s the thing people don’t usually talk about. It’s great to be working full-time as a designer, but it’s rare to hear about the 2 or 3 years of horrid, lonely struggles. The other day an artist turned to me, sighed and said, “I didn’t realize I couldn’t actually afford to have a child if I chose to be an artist.”

Perhaps that artist will make having kids and creating  art work, but there’s a compendium of knowledge that seems to arrive once you’re years into creative work.

"Fall effect" by carbine

Did the steepest learning curve you encountered come early in your career? I think things get more interesting if you lost or gained something from your experience. Did it come with a sacrifice?

Please let us know the hardest, sharpest lessons you’ve learned. Any topic is valid as long as it relates to your art — relationships, certain skills — it’s all relevant. Let’s talk about this often tricky area of creative life in the comments below.