Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What does it take?

I have recently been interacting with a lot of younger artists and people with an interest in art and one point of conversation keeps coming up time and time again. I am continually being asked either, "How can I get to do this?" or "What do I need to do to make work like you?". In 100% of these situations I feel that my answer of, "LOTS and LOTS of hard work and time spent over the course of my entire life and spending all my time working towards my goals." seems to not be taken seriously or not understood for what to really entails. In these situations I always wish I had my jar with me...

June 2005 - present.

On a whim when I started working professionally in the gaming industry I started throwing my pencil nubs into an empty glass jar. Very soon it just became habit and with the exception of a few, all of my pencil nubs for the last six years have been going in there. When someone asks, "What do I need to do to make work like you do?" I just want to show them my jar and say, "It takes 10 of these."

This jar also serves as a reminder to me that there will be another jar after it. The goal is to not simply fill it, the goal is to continue working and hopefully to improve. If I was not continually reminded of my skill level and the fact that I still have loads of room for improvement but the world around me, the jar would serve as a personal reminder to keep pressing forward. After all the events of last week I was left looking at the jar with fresh eyes. Even though I am reminded I am not at the level I feel I can be and I am still not working on the projects I think I have the abilities for, eventually I will. The jar proves that.

What does it take to get to that next level? "LOTS and LOTS of hard work and time spent over the course of my entire life and spending all my time working towards my goals." Sometimes, I need to remind myself of this.

That is all for today, see you back here on Friday! Until then...

For more samples of my work or to contact
me regarding my availability head over to my website:


  1. HAHAHA - this is awesome. I'd love to see all your jars lined up. You've got your own motivational office poster!

  2. I knew there was a reason I shouldn't be using a mechanical pencil! No trophies! :) Great post, Christopher.

  3. @ Tarosan, HAHA! Maybe I can start my own motivational internet meme, that would be GREAT! :D

    @ Jon, Thanks! Never thought of them as trophies, that is pretty good. Thought of them more as scars or wrinkles. Thanks for the positive spin :)

  4. It's funny Chris.. I was talking with a studio mate, and we came to the conclusion that most of the time when people ask the "how do I get better/ how can I do this questions", they actually mean, " how can I do this without a lot of blood, sweat, and tears"..

    I guess honestly, if I knew that answer, I wouldn't share it with many people.. But the only true answer I do know basically supports your jar of pencils solution.

    I personally had a wall of sketchbooks in college, over 20.

    I guess telling someone to draw more in order to get better at drawing sounds Snarky- but it's the only true answer to the question..

    until they develop ArtRoids.. but I'd hate to see the side effects.


  5. Thanks for your thoughts on this, Riq! I don't think it is snarky at all, it is just the truth and it is the last thing people want to hear. The best piece of advice I ever received by a professional looking at my portfolio was "DRAW MORE". That continued to be his response to every follow up question. I took it to heart. Now I have a jaw of pencil nubs. You have a wall of sketchbooks. I don't think there are cheats of shortcuts with this stuff... it just takes time and effort.

    Yeah... I would fear ArtRoid rage ;)

  6. This is awesome. So awesome, in fact, that it has caught fire through the internet, and has made its way to Spain. I humbly invite you to check on our jars (and progress) as we start this long, yet fulfilling, trek. :) Thanks for being such a huge inspiration!