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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Hollis

Advice for perfectionists

Not too long ago I had the pleasure of meeting Derek Brazell from the AOI. I've been a fan of the valuable service they offer to illustrators since I graduated (long ago). After the Klaus Flugge Prize Award ceremony I spoke with the Association Of Illustrators about advice for perfectionists, tips on colour and 'hidden' parts of the picture book. Here's an extract below...

Pierre and top-dog old school B-boys super fly
Cool dudes

You’ve spoken a bit about the parallels between the book and your creative process – what would be your advice for the perfectionists out there?

Make. Thinking (or overthinking) is often your own worst enemy.

Of course, we need to ‘think’ visually. I find it helpful to separate the process into two different stages. Making and editing. If there isn’t a boundary, the two interfere with each other. It’s too easy to second guess everything you do, thus stunting your flow. Or stopping yourself from starting altogether!

It was something Christophe Niemann said (I think) that really resonated with me, he talked about separating the Artist and the Editor, and the goal is to become freer as an artist and more ruthless as an editor. So, make unapologetically. Rest. Then be selective, choose the best bits, refine from there.

Resting, and getting out of the studio between the two stages is important because you’ll be mentally drained after a proper session (making), you lose perspective on what works and what doesn’t. It’s difficult to judge your own work objectively when you’re caught up in the process. I find it helpful to start by making a mess, then you don’t have to worry about facing the blank page. Sooner or later fun stuff will emerge from that mess. Run with that. See where it takes you. Click here for the full interview with the AOI


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