Monday, March 16, 2009

mom was right

Yes it is true. Mom was right. I don't know about you, but my mom was a stickler for nagging us kids about working neat. She had to nag us because we didn't really listen and were sloppy, in a hurry and thought the mess would clean itself. I remember being a late night baker and she would get so mad at me for not cleaning up my mess as I worked, and for leaving a pile of slop in the sink with the slop covered bowls and utensils used to bake my treats. 

Now working neat seems obvious to me now as a grown up. I nag my own kids about being neat in the kitchen and cleaning up their slop as they make things. Of course they don't listen well, hence why I nag. 

This same principal of working neat in the kitchen is every bit as important, more so even, to working neat on art/files you wish to sell, or are contracted to make. I wouldn't have thought of making a blog post about this if I hadn't recently been reviewing some student work. The work was clever and fun, loved the concept and the style. But if I had been presented it as an Art Director I would have looked at the artist in shock. Granted it was a student, (albeit college) but the art had been shoddily put together with markers to cover up mistakes, and edges ripped. The work was finished work, it wasn't a study. What this made me realize is sometimes artist's don't realize that neatness, and presentation really counts. I am not saying you can't have a messy studio, paint and chalk dust everywhere. But if you want to give a finished piece to an Art Director, it better be labeled, clean, and ready for reproduction. The art should look like a professional made it. Otherwise, who will perceive you as a professional and want to pay you a professional wage?

Working neat doesn't stop for painting, drawing and the like. As a designer I hate picking up someone else's files to work on and not have layers labeled clearly. I can tell you a Photoshop file with 100 layers, just floating around, none labeled, none in groups, is a big, stinky pile of rancid poor workmanship. So, while you are thinking about clean papers in your portfolio, think about that digital file and make sure you are organized, and tidy before you hand it over. If not, you waste people's time, and no matter how good you are, whoever is having to clean up your mess will gladly trade you for someone else as soon as they can. 

Think clean, organized and professional. And call your mom to tell her thank you.


BJ Lantz said...

Boy ~ you got that right! As a designer over the years I have had to pickup other artist's files from time to time and have seen these poorly put-together creatures and they make you cringe and swear. Not to say I haven't been guilty of working along and forgetting to name a layer or two myself, but when send the file off to somebody I make an effort to combine layers where I can without it being an editing problem, name them what (hopefully) makes sense and get rid of the hidden ones.

Laura Zarrin said...

You are so right!! My illustration teacher wouldn't accept work that wasn't presented in a clean, neat, professional manner. She even insisted on sketches always surrounded by a line border. You had to follow the rules, just like with a client. Great training! I'm a stickler for this, both digitally and traditionally. My house is a mess, but my art is pristine.