TFD: You're More.
Happy Happy Monday!
It's been a while since I've posted a diary entry. I've been feeling a bit inspired by conversations and self reflection these past two weeks so I wanted to write a more personal post today.
Today I want to talk about measuring self worth by your portfolio.
You see, this topic can actually be applied to a lot of things. Measuring self worth by how many followers or likes you have on social media. Measuring self worth by revisions or critique from a client. Measuring self worth by how well accepted your newest piece of work is. Hopefully you understand what I'm getting at...
The big problem here is that artists like us often measure our self worth by these things. We feel like our identity is mingled in with our "brand". And you know why? It's because we look at other artists' portfolios or Instagram feeds and we strip them down to those images as a representation of who they are. We say to ourselves: "I feel like I have a good grasp on who Molly Jacques is. She's bubbly, fun, has a positive attitude, she's encouraging, she knows a lot about freelancing and how to make it work for her, she totally has her shit together".
In the same thought, you might start to compare your own work to my portfolio. But you're not comparing your work objectively, you're comparing who you are as a person to who you think I am based on the images that I've presented you with. Which is a real big problem because you're a human that is so so so much more than a series of images on a screen. And likewise, I'm much more than the images I've presented. I'm real. Flawed. Messy. Into weird things that frankly most people would think are lame. And I'm cool with that.
And want to know a secret? I'm not my brand. My brand is what I sell, it's not who I am. Sure, I like to encourage others with a positive voice but that doesn't really say too much more about me other than that. My portfolio is full of bright colors but does that mean that I'm a bright, bubbly person? Maybe. Maybe not.
Either way, I just want to encourage each of you to think objectively about your work and know fully that your self worth is not based on your portfolio. You are so much more.
The thing about being a commercial Illustrator is that you are creating artwork for clients who want to sell products. They are interested in how you can solve visual problems to sell those products, they aren't interested in what your religion is or how pretty you are. If your client responds to your concept sketches by saying that they are totally off base, it doesn't mean that they are saying you are an off base human. See where I'm going with this?
Remember that you are so much more than your portfolio. You're more than how well you can direct people to buy a product based on images, words, and perception. Let your brand do that, and don't limit yourself to what your brand does.