Posts from the ‘How to work’ category

Pace Yourself.

It been just over ten days into the New Year & what a difference a week makes. Depending on where you are, you’ve probably experienced lockdowns, COVID has taken more lives & the infection rates have skyrocketed, the Capitol building was invaded in the United States and all this occurred within the first 7 days of 2021.

My advice, pace yourself. It may or may not be a worse year than 2020, who knows but know that it is a marathon not a sprint. You want to be in it for the long haul. It’s too early to start feeling sorry for yourself, it’s too early to start complaining, it’s too early to start the emotional rollercoaster, it is too early. Take each incident as it comes be it lockdown, be it whatever is affecting or afflicting you. It is imperative you stay strong, easier said than done, I know but what are the alternatives?

I was told by an elder that the only people that know peace are in their graves, for if you don’t want to be there be ok with trials & tribulations. Life is all about dealing problems on a regular basis, we should however enjoy & cherish the breaks in between the chaos. Remember not a lot of people saw the New Year especially those that COVID took from us, be grateful that you are still here. You have come this far and survived what 2020 had so don’t give up now, keep fighting & I’m sure things will get better. In the meantime pace yourself, we all have a long way to go, the year has hardly started.

The dry periods and the break.

There comes a time when you’ll not know what to do. It hits us all at different times in our lives. You could be bored with your routine, whatever that may be, you could be tired of your work, you could be tired of your environment. You may not even know what it is. Yes it does happen.It’s ok to take a break during these dry periods. You may need to find a new way to jump start things. You may need to be inspired; you may need a change of environment, easier said than done during these lockdown periods depending on where in the world you’re.


Let me go against the grain & say do nothing. People & I myself have recommended bombarding yourself with things that inspire but, things don’t always work 100% of the time especially with art. Trust me sometimes you need a day off, if not several but with caution & with the objective of jump starting things. Let’s call it a lazy day or several. Do nothing.


We’re so used to being busy these days we find it difficult to do nothing. Ask people trying to meditate for the first to time. It is hard, I know, I’ve tried it. I’ve however found that that these dry periods can be a good time to look back & take stock of things that are important to you & to learn to appreciate them. We all move to the next project when one is complete. As a result we tend under appreciate where we’ve come from. We take things for granted. Take a moment to stop creating & look through your work from the very beginning & take time to appreciate how you’ve grown. I’m sure you will smile. I know I do. Dry periods are important to recharge, reflect & value how far we’ve come.

When do you do this? I can’t tell you because we’re all different people chasing different dreams. But make sure you add it to your tool box. How frequently? It depends on what works for you, but please do not over do this. Generally I’ve found that life dictates this period for you, your job is to recognize it when the time comes & when it does, embrace it & try & use it as best you can & not to reject it or see it as a crisis.

Take a break it is not the end of the world.
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The Fundamentals…..

What do you want to get good at? coding, photography, art, sports, etc you name it, the best way is to master the fundamentals. Note the word “master”. I believe a lot of people don’t do this, most are adequate not masters. For example you want to be good at art, there is no getting round it, you have to understand & master these core fundamentals:

  • Color
  • Composition 
  • Value
  • Form & Structure
  • Brush work
  • Perspective 
  • Values

The truth of the matter however, is that it can take you years to master each one, let alone how they combine in your work. Just being good at them is not just going to cut it in the long run. You have to dedicate your existence to becoming a master & understand that you’ll never be perfect at any but continually strive to be. From experience I think you’ll have things you’re great at & others you are good enough. My advice focus on your weaknesses.

Focus on the fundamentals, become a master & then you can start to bend & break the rules in whatever you are doing. Your images in drawing for example will work because there is a core basis from which your art is grounded. 

It shouldn’t feel like work though, I think if it feels like work something is off. For all intents & purposes you should enjoy the challenge, the experiments & realizations as you forge ahead. 

Realize however that from time to time you need to go back & relearn the basics. Even if it’s  just a reminder, there is always something good about looking at things from the eyes of a novice.

How can you do this you may ask? become a teacher. You not only help the student but yourself because the act of teaching takes you back to the beginning that you may find difficult to do on your own. Hope this is helpful to someone, don’t take the fundamentals for granted, don’t. 

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My Confessions……

I’m not a writer, not by a long shot, so bear with me when reading my blog. The whole purpose is to communicate with my readers. I try to convey what I know to those who care and hopefully they can learn from me, or even teach me something in the comments section. 

I really tried avoiding writing a blog on my website when I first started I have to admit, but I think it’s imperative. Surprisingly it hasn’t been that bad. I’ve been doing my best and so far so good. I hope it’s helped those who have taken time to read it. Thanks a million, you know who you’re. 

I have made a lot of mistakes in my blog posts but I guess it is essential for growth, as Denzel Washington said in one of his speeches; it is ok to fail but make sure you “fail forward”. I definitely think I have done that looking back. There is still much to do but I think I’m getting a hang of it. I think the quality has gotten better and readers have been able to benefit from it from time to time.

It hasn’t been easy I must admit. I think it is just natural to want to spend time doing the things you really enjoy. In my case the artistic stuff. I think however that the blog allows me to connect on a different level that is also essential. I won’t lie I don’t enjoy it as much but we all have things we don’t enjoy but we have to get good at for our own benefit for example finance. Don’t get me started on that it is critical and the moment you make a conscious decision to get good at it the better for you and those around you.

So not to take too much of your time because I understand that there is so much online that competes for our most valuable resource, time. I want to say a big thank you. Thanks for bearing with us while we grow and get better.

Sorry it won’t save you

I think we’ve all tried it at some point, especially if you are a Photoshop user, you think if you purchase those brushes, actions or gradient maps your work will get better. Sorry to burst to your bubble it won’t.

We all want short cuts in achieving desired results, be it art or anything we do. It’s just human nature and it seldom works. 

The most important recommendation I can suggest is to get the basics right. It’s the foundation everything is built on. If you get the basics right these “extras” will add a bit of panache to your work. Conversely if the basics are off, no amount of custom brushes in Photoshop or unique photography technique(s) will make the work any better. 

Focus on the fundamentals, I can’t stress this enough. Use what you already have to get better. Talking from experience you’ll just waste money on things that you don’t need & wonder why your work isn’t any better, especially in this day and age where all your favourite artists are selling brushes, actions and so on. You just don’t need it, at least not yet.

So how will you know when you need it? When your work is good enough and you don’t really need it; that is the time. A bit contradictory, I know, but it is.

So have you wasted money on such? if so share, like & comment below. 

Remember art is subjective.

You need to get comfortable with people not liking or connecting with your work. It’s difficult I know, remember you ultimately do it for yourself. At least I do. You do it because it brings you joy to share something you are good at or at least want to be good at. There is something inside you that needs to be shared with the world. 

In an ideal world, everyone likes or appreciate what we do but the reverse is the reality. We need to be comfortable with this, it’s imperative. When we’re not, we alter our work for others appreciation or acknowledgment. I think this is dangerous having done it in the past. Eventually you look at your work and you just don’t like where it ended up. Trust me it’s a place you don’t want to be. In no man’s land, you’re not happy and neither is your audience. A better scenario, they are happy and you aren’t. 

Get comfortable with the fact that some people will not like your work, no matter how hard you try they just won’t. You just can’t please everyone and embarking on that journey is just futile. Focus more on your fans, they are the fuel you need to go further. I’d say that you should ignore the haters but I think they can also help. How? You may ask, well they can keep you grounded and can be a source of constructive criticisms which can also be helpful. You however want to avoid the toxic ones for obvious reasons. Hope this helps.

So what has been your experiences in the past with fans & haters, please comment below, like & share. 

What you don’t see.

People often forget that what they get to see is the final product. The pictures posted on my website or Instagram feed has been curated. It’s invariably the best of the best. So much has happened in the background that people are not aware off or ignore. There are images that won’t see the light of day, for whatever reason. It could be because it is a bad shot (yes that happens even to the best of us), it could be because it just doesn’t connect with the viewer; the image may just may not work for whatever reason and so on. Artists only let you see what they want you to see.

We’re not perfect, we don’t always get it right the first time round. Art invariably needs to be refined until the desired result is achieved or abandoned. Yes, it does happen. What is key however, is the never ending pursuit of good art.  For example, some studio sessions can last 30 mins depending on the concept, some longer. It depends on the model, the vibe in the studio, the team synergy and so on. 

Furthermore there are days nothing works, it does happens. The atmosphere during the shoot may not be right no matter how hard you try or the drawing just isn’t working and needs to be scrapped. Trust me there are days like that. But it’s ok, don’t think that every endeavour works as planned. The important thing is to keep working. 

Next time you appreciate art, take time to think deeply about it. What is the concept, colours, what do you think the artist is trying to say, how successful do you think the artist was able to achieve what he/she set out to do and so on. Two things happen, you start to appreciate the work put in from a different perspective and subconsciously you start to incorporate this critical thinking into your work, which always works for the better.

Do you think about art this way already? or is it a new concept to you? If not, are you going to try it out?

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Practice! practice! practice!

If I were ever asked to give a simple advice on how to get better at anything. What would my advice be? I’ll say practice a lot. Put in the work, because you can only get better through mileage, of course this is after you’ve acquired the relevant knowledge and understand the basics. How much you might ask? I’ll say a lot, yes it is vague I know, but this is where things vary from person to person.

The key is you’ll subconsciously start noticing things you need to change & some things will become muscle memory. I think this is how instructors especially omit key information while teaching. It’s not intentional, it’s just that they’ve done it so many times that they omit it while teaching, without ever thinking of it. Ever wondered why you did something exactly as instructed, I mean exactly and it still didn’t come out as the teacher did his or hers. Its muscle memory, the instructor may have omitted something important however minute.

Practice!, practice!, practice!, it’s imperative, you need to put in the hours to get better it is that simple. It applies to everything from public speaking to drawing to painting. It is a prerequisite. You will definitely have days were you don’t feel like it. This is where self-discipline comes in. According to Elbert Hubbard 

“Self-discipline is the ability to make yourself do what you should do, when you should do it whether you feel like it or not”.

Push through, you need to if you want to get better. 

A common obstacle will be time, not enough hours within the day. Sadly we all get the same number of hours within the day, 24. I can’t help you here. What I will however implore you to do is to make time no matter how little and make it a routine to practice regularly for that is the only way to improve your craft.

How many hours a day or week do you practice your art whatever that may be? Do you think you’re doing enough or do you think there is room for improvement? 

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Don’t be mediocre.

So you’ve been told that your work isn’t good enough. For example, in photography, the light isn’t good; in art, your colours aren’t right or your proportions need work. They may be right, they may have a point, but be careful, it may lead your work down the path of mediocrity.

If you go ahead & tick all the boxes as required by the so called “best practices” you won’t stand out and you’ll just be one of the many. I’m by no means advocating you jettison “best practices”, no not by long shot. But have it at the back of your mind that your work should be yours. It should be for your audience. It should be a combination of the things that inspire you, with a bit of “you” added to it.

A bit of you can be many things. It could be what you’ve discovered while experimenting, it could be you going against the grain. It could be you embarking on what a lot of people shy away from. Whatever that may be, let it be that which puts a smile, a question mark, or that which puts an aha! moment on your face. I think that indicates progress on this never ending journey.

Now don’t get me wrong it doesn’t always work out, but I believe the day you stop doing these things is the day the mundane creeps up in your work.

So while you check some “best practices” boxes while working, have it at the back of your mind that the mundane is your enemy.

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People and their love.

People tend to take extra care doing what they love, it just shows. If you have two people on the same endeavour, with the same relative skills & experience, you can tell who loves it. It just comes through, it might not be immediately obvious but if you examine closely it shows. There is that extra labour of love in what we like. People that enjoy what they do tend to stick it out longer than those that don’t as well. So ask yourself? Do you really enjoy what you’re doing? If not, will you ever enjoy it?

It may be you don’t like the stage you’re in but the stage is required to get to your favourite part. So stick it out. If not, how fast can you can get out? If you can’t get out for the time being, what can you do to alleviate the situation? It is not all endeavours we dislike we can easily get out of, for example your day job. So what can you do to make it more interesting? It could be something as simple as listening to your favourite music while you work. We know that music can change ones mood. 

If for whatever reason it is hopeless can I recommend setting a part of your day to do what you love, it can be therapeutic in my opinion. It could be done after work. You could take up a personal project that you are passionate about. Overtime you’ll find out that you start to look forward to it and it invariably brightens your day. Thus having a positive impact on your mundane daily routine. So give it a try, what else is there to lose? Hope it helps.

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