The Healthy Way to Compare Yourself to Other Artists

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Illustration by Thomas James

It can be dangerous to spend too much time comparing your own Illustration work to that of your fellow artists, but there are times when it can be beneficial to your art and your business.

I’m sure we’ve all found ourselves getting caught in the trap of unhealthy comparisons. It can be easy to find yourself looking at someone’s art and marveling at how much better they are than you, or how much more successful. This only results in feelings of doubt and uncertainty, which can wreak havoc on your creative output. If you find yourself in this situation, maybe it’s time to back off and return to your own voice and think about what is unique about you.

However, it is also a mistake to go too far in the opposite direction and close yourself off from your fellow Illustrators altogether, thereby passing up opportunities for personal, professional, and artistic growth.

Healthy Comparison

There’s no doubt that paying attention to your fellow Illustrators can be a great learning experience when done in moderation. There are so many things you can learn from the ways that other people communicate visual ideas, promote their work, design their website, etc.

Whenever you come across an Illustrator that inspires you, take a moment to think about what it is that’s grabbing your attention.

Have they tackled a topic in a way that you might not have considered?

Do they have a unique skill or technique that you can develop within yourself?

Are they running their business in a way that you can apply to your own situation?

Questions like these can help to turn simple admiration into a more studious approach that can make you a better Illustrator. No matter what level of experience or talent you consider yourself to be at, growth and education should be a regular activity, lest you become stagnant and complacent in your craft.

The important thing is to be mindful of the ways that you can take the things that you learn from other artists and make them your own without simply copying their approach.

Do you consciously study the work and practices of your fellow Illustrators? What are some things that you’ve learned by doing this?

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Thomas James

Thomas James

Thomas James is an Illustrator who has worked with The New York Times, WIRED, Pentagram, Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, and many others. You can see his portfolio at thomasjamesillustration.com.
Thomas James

Posted by Thomas James on 07/23/15 under business,freelance
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