Captain Planet and Power Rangers are a couple of shows on my all-time television list. Every week, a new obstacle to hurdle was presented before the groups. The most important aspect I learned about each show was camaraderie. The two factions would approach the task together, each person contributing their strengths to the situation. Leading up to them discovering themselves and powers, they would soon come to understand how they needed each other. Attempting to face the problem individually resulted in failed attempts. I use these shows and their characters as framework for my approach to the creative world. Not only am I combining my strengths to my own work, but lending assistance to those that could achieve more with a bit of my help. Sometimes a word of encouragement or just a brief pow-wow is all that’s needed at times.

Location, Location, Location

When I began creating, studio courses in senior high then undergrad would place you in peer critiques. Everyone would post their work for the class to see in an exhibit style setting. No particular order, just find a location that was suitable for your work and wait your turn to discuss your work. During these critiques, I would try to keep as much responses in my head until my critique was done to use to approach my work next time. The critiques weren’t to belittle you or act as a barrage of insults. Another perspective of your work was given. Sometimes a tip or hint here and there would resolve an issue you’d been having during the entire duration of the project. While not in a classroom setting, I would be fortunate enough to be within a similar environment in my dorm and then at my now place of employment. I’ve been accustomed to seeing other creatives only hearing their own critiques or seeking it from those that would deliver a review that mirrored their own. Environments such as these assist with you being a creative and listening to opinions that contrast your own, seeking individuals that have more experience or more successful in an area that you’re not, as well as you building your network.

Yin & Yang

Designing and learning has always gone hand-in-hand: I learn something I’m interested in. Practice and develop the skill. KILL THAT #$%@. On to the next. Repeat. Now I’m willing to try most creative techniques to the point where I say, “You know what? If I come across this, I’ll just refer them to such-and-such.” (Such-and-such. My way of saying: insert person, place or thing here _____) Although I’m becoming familiar with the technique or tool, more than likely there’s someone I know that is exceptionally better than me in that same aspect. This isn’t going against the “If you don’t know something, say you do and learn it” approach. I’m a firm believer in that phrase, however, I’m also a believer of time is money. Sure, I could spend hours learning this for this particular request. Or…I could contact the individual that is better and give them business instead. Doing that reveals that I see this person doing their thang and doing it well (might I add) but also that I’m a team player. My experience has taught me not everyone has the same tools in their arsenal: programs, experience, and people.

Try Some Tenderness

I’ve always lent a helping hand so doing it in the creative realm wasn’t a daunting task. Whether it’s sharing fonts, techniques, or resources, I aim to assist those around me that would like to learn about design. I’ve played a pretty good role being a resource in general for creatives. Linking other creatives with each other that would work well together. Discussing mindsets and obstacles that come with being a creative. Informing them of my own journey, experiences and current goals. Creatives aren’t so much different from each other, just the paths that we’ve left behind us is all. I believe two, three, four, five heads work entirely better than one. Being a jack of trades is fine and dandy when you’re a one-man band, ya know. Collaboration isn’t a must but it should be practiced often. Even if its a personal project you’re working on and you would like more insight, reaching out is the first step. Sharing of ideas keeps you recharged and inspired to keep at it. Inquire about what others around you have going on and what they are looking forward to. You could potentially be the arm or leg they needed to build their Megazord.