Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Setting Goals


I like to set myself goals.  I always work better with a task list.  Having a clear idea of where I want to go and what I want to accomplish has always helped me plan out how to get there.  It helps me balance and take control of my life, which I like to think is at least partially why I'm not sitting at some desk right now saying, "I haven't done anything I wanted to do."

(Ok, I am sitting at a desk, but it's a much loved one covered in sketchpads and books and a worn spot where my tea usually sits)

I also think having a clear set of goals makes it easier to accomplish them.  You know the old trick about breaking a big task down into smaller pieces?  Well, it works even better if you know your end point and can work backwards from it in small stages.  For exmaple, when I was fifteen and decided I wanted to work in the games industry, it obviously wasn't going to happen right there and then.  But I knew I would need a portfolio of work, which meant learning the skills to get my work up to a professional level, which meant (for me) going to a suitable university.  Which meant finding the right one, and then getting the grades and portfolio to get INTO said university.  That was someone fifteen-year-old-me could manage!  Some of my priorities changed along the way (I originally wanted to go into 3D animation), but that's ok.  The important thing is to have some desire.  Jon Schindehette of the ArtOrder blog/community made a post just yesterday about handling a portfolio review, and one thing he focused on was the importance of knowing who you are and what your aspirations are.

"As anyone that has suffered through a review from me knows – I always start out a review by asking “what do you do”, “Who do you want to work for”, and “what do you want to get from this review”. Those are not arbitrary questions. They are intended to weed out the artist that has goals and is serious about their craft. The worse answer you can give me is “I just want to draw!” While enthusiastic, it tells me nothing about your goals, desires, or professional track that you wish to take."

My goals a few years ago included getting a job I loved, moving into my own flat, starting my own blog and being featured in ImagineFX.  Well I accomplished the first three, and I did get a mention and a few pieces into an article in ImagineFX.  Now, I want to get my art featured in their FXPose section.  And I have a few other goals in mind, with my overall plan being raise my online profile and push my work and contacts up the the next level.

Here are some of my goals for the coming future.

  • As above, be featured in ImagineFX's Expose section

  • Learn to paint in oils

  • Have my art published in an Expose or Exotique book.

  • Get a critique/paintover from the Muddy Colours gang

  • Find a screen recording method that my PC can handle andmake a few video tutorials.

  • Become a member of the ConceptCraniopagus group on DeviantArt.

  • Build a personal website 


And just for fun, some of my longer term goals!

  • Be published in Spectrum

  • Be an ImagineFX cover artist

  • Do a book cover for Tor

  • Attend the Illustration Master Class

  • Ok, this one is vain - be nominated for a Chelsey Award!


So now I have those laid out, I can work out what I need to do to accomplish them.  The first list is much easier - I need to  finish up more of the paintings on my epic To Paint list, prep and submit my existing concept art to my gallery, figure out CSS again after all these years, and - duh - actually submit my art to ImagineFX, Ballistic, etc.  The second list is still mostly dreams and completing the things on the first will help, so I don't have to worry about specifics right now - although attending the IMC will probably require some sort of lottery win or a really lucky poker night!

I have other, non-art related things I want to accomplish (for example, I'm working towards being able to bench press, squat and deadlift my own body weight, and I'm getting REALLY close to the last one) but those are another list entirely.  So what are some of your art goals?

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