The difference between an artist and a dreamer is not only the action required to create your vision, but also the skill set necessary to realize the vision accurately. Proper research, planning, preparation, persistence, and guidance are required for artists to be successful.
Although I currently label myself an engraver—it is how I make most of my living—I spend ample time studying and pursuing other mediums. Usually, the mediums I am studying satellite my main focus, but sometimes not at all. Examples are metallurgy, silversmithing, blacksmithing, woodwork, saddle making, leather carving, 2D digital art, traditional sculpting, and calligraphy. At face value many of these studies are considered antiquities, irrelevant to the modern mass produced world. An exception to that would be digital art. Knowledge in this area allows me to leverage technology to speed up the design process by rendering ideas very quickly. Because engraving usually takes months to complete one piece at the highest level possible, it’s better to find out bad ideas in a few minutes rather than at the end of months of work; there is no erasing. Sculpture is a great exercise in seeing and giving things form in 2D rather than just thinking in lines; that alone drastically moved my 2D art forward. Studying other mediums helps with creating the best art pieces possible.
Many people jump straight into trying to fulfill their vision and attempt create a master work without the necessary preparation. “Hey, why not ride that motivation, right?” Well, experience teaches that failure leads to fear, fear leads to hesitation, and hesitation leads to more failure. If people would redirect that motivation to study, prior to beginning a project, there would be much better art produced and more people finding success and satisfaction in their creative work. Along with the extracurricular work I do to help broaden my base of knowledge, I study every chance I get. If l can figure out the parts before trying the whole thing, this allows me the opportunity to approach the job with much more confidence. This is not a new concept, but forgotten far too often.
My main goal as an artist is to continue to grow by learning new things and maintaining the motivation to produce exceptional pieces of work. The finished piece, the end result, is simply a byproduct of my aforementioned effort and process. The process works for me; it fuels ideas which then require me to learn how to realize them. The more I learn, the more ideas and tools I have in my tool box. The cycle continues on and on and my base continues to broaden, resulting in the forward march of progress.