President’s Column: March 2015
Never stop learning!
We had a great meeting last month featuring caricaturist Tom “Huf” Hofstedt. You can read all about it in this month’s meeting review article. During his opening remarks, Huf brought up a very good point. He said that the one thought he wanted to leave to the group with was to “hang on and continue to learn”. Huf said that a true artist never truly “gets there”. “Always keep going. The learning never stops.” This is something I’ve known for a long time. It was great to hear it coming from such an experienced artist who has spent years mastering his craft. It gives us hope that there are still new discoveries waiting just beyond the horizon no matter how old and experienced you think you may be.
As cartoonists, illustrators, animators, writers, and designers, we all strive to achieve the next level as a creative individual. The trick is to know how to fight complaciency and stay focused on our goals. Sometimes just being able to set a goal is a task unto itself. Setting a goal and knowing what you want to achieve will give you the motivation needed to overcome those nagging thoughts of self doubt that keep us from moving forward. Never be satisfied! No mater what your current situation is. Maybe you think you’ve reached the maximum achievement possible. You’ve “maxed out”. Well, you’d be surprised what creativity is still locked inside of you waiting to be released. All it takes is some effort to push yourself out of that ditch you’ve dug yourself in.
When Huf first entered the room and made his way to the front table to give his presentation, he was walked very slowly leaning on his cane . His speech was slow and soft as he spoke to the group, sometimes searching for his words before being able to complete a sentence. However, once he started drawing we were no longer looking at an 80 year old man suffering from his ailments. Huf was once again an energetic youth full of vitality! He showed no sign of fatigue as he drew non-stop for an hour and a half. He could have gone all night! It’s that creative energy at work. I’ve felt it too when I’ve done a few live caricature drawing events. Or when I’m working at the computer trying to solve some design issue or create an illustration. The time flies by! Where does that energy come from?
I believe we have a creative “spark” or pilot light burning inside of us. When you’re doing what you love to do, that spark becomes a roaring flame. However, when you’re complacent and not-motivated that spark becomes very dim… but it doesn’t go away. Sometimes all it takes is a some extra effort to get the flame going again. But be careful not to burn out! (Lots of fire metaphors here, huh?). So next time you feel down and can’t find the motivation to do what you really want to do, just remind yourself of Huf’s one thought he wanted to leave us with: “Hang on and continue to learn.”