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Comparing Yourself to Others

On 14, May 2013 | 12 Comments | In career, inspiration, lilla rogers, my work, typography | By Tina

Hi everyone. I’ve been comparing myself to other designers lately. Not even my work, but at the reaction their work is getting from others. I’ve been questioning whether I have what it takes to make it as a commercial designer.

This is a recurring theme with creative people. The dichotomy is we shouldn’t be comparing ourselves to others, but we need to in order to know what is marketable. If our stuff isn’t marketable, we won’t be able to pay the bills.

So I’ve been feeling a bit lost. I believe in my work but if others don’t, then I can’t really make a career out of it?

I’m not going to give up – I’m too stubborn for that. =) But lately I’ve found some inspiration that has let me see things in a different way.

Lilla Rogers, probably the most famous art agent in the world replied to someone on Facebook about exactly the same dilemma. She said, ‘It’s not a competition.’

Copyright Dreaming on a Star by Tina Devins

Copyright Dreaming on a Star by Tina Devins

A little light switched on in my head, when I read this.

You see that is the way children make art. They make art, they draw pretty pictures. There is so much freedom in how they do that. There is no-one else involved. No agent, buyer, college tutor, nobody to critique. It is simply art for art’s sake. They are at play.

As adults and especially working artists and designers there is always someone else involved. Whether it’s a customer, an agent, a colleague, a contemporary, a friend – whoever sees your work (and rates it).

In a way those people are there when we pick up a pen or a paintbrush; there’s all these other people to please.  I wonder does all this distraction muddy our paints?

In college my sculpture tutor used to say – “Play, have fun!” I had done an architectural degree before changing direction and while architecture is creative, there is a grounding in reality. Playing didn’t seem like ‘work’. But it was playing with materials and losing myself that really brought out the best in my work.

So I am going to try and focus more on this playful attitude and forget that there are others to please.

As if to confirm this thought I came across this quote the same day:


So I am hoping to keep any negative thoughts at bay and stop comparing myself to others.

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  1. Beautiful post. I hear you xx

  2. Tina

    Thanks for reading Onneke and glad you liked it x

  3. great post, Tina… I think it’s been a plague going around. 🙂

    • Tina

      Ha! You might be right Nicky!

  4. Thanks for this post it is really inspiring x

    • Tina

      Your welcome Chloe. Delighted you liked it x

  5. This is a great post Tina! I have been feeling actually the same lately and I am trying to take a step back and create work that I enjoy making. 🙂

    • Tina

      Thanks Liz. It’s good we can all share these things together and not feel like we’re the only one. Thanks for reading x

  6. I completely understand where you’re coming from Tina…. all of a sudden what you do, yourself being creative, becomes a job and sort of belongs to someone else. In childrenswear, you have to adapt to trends because they are what sells and so you do end up losing yourself and not knowing what it is that is actually you. The only way I realised to get back to you is to put the extra hours in, playing around and doing stuff you enjoy so you don’t even notice the time going by. Also, it’s a social world now and so we’re always surrounded by designs by other people. Whilst this is amazing and inspiring, it can also be confusing and stop you designing like only you should. I guess the balance is to do the stuff that sells but always make time for the other designs that feels like you. i sort of feel with me, that I’m always learning and discovering anyway. So, just keep doing what you like and be true to yourself…. at the end of the day if you’ve enjoyed doing it, it will show through! :-)) x

  7. Tina

    Thanks Lizzie for your thoughtful reply. I definitely believe that if you enjoy what you do, it will show through. And creating time to play aswell. I think it’s a challenge to stay true to yourself, but definitely you need to be. Thank you x

  8. great post, so true!!!!

    • Tina

      Thanks Miranda for stopping by and commenting x

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