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Week 28.

Patience is a Virtue in Your Design Process

A Donut by Kylie on 19 July

I was sifting through the archives this week when I came across the below picture.

six-year-old

From what I can recall, this is my most recent and very last full-on drawing project (beyond a quick sketch or doodle) that I completed. It’s funny to say ‘most recent’ because I drew this almost six years ago while I was doing a certificate course in Graphic Design. Had I not been enrolled in a course and specifically assigned this task, the last thing I would have drawn before this would have been twelve years ago (grade 10) in high school art class.

It’s not that I dislike drawing; I actually really enjoy it… when I get going. The problem is that because I do it so irregularly whenever I pick up a pen or pencil my drawing skills are so far removed from what I know they can be that it takes a significant amount of time to get past the initial “I-can’t-do-this-anymore” frustration.

Half of this comes down to inconsistency and the other half comes down to impatience. I can’t expect my skill level to be consistent when my drawing practice is inconsistent and years lie between each piece of work. By the same token, I can’t expect to get better if I’m not patient with rebuilding my skills. I have seen my web design work go from strength to strength each year because I practice it every day for 8 or more hours. I would really like to see my drawing skills improve in the same way but gosh darn it, I need to be more consistent and more patient.

Appropriately enough, I saw a tweet not long after finding this old illustration where someone pointed out that impatience was their biggest flaw as a designer. Me too, pal. I’ve talked about patience before, but being impatient hinders the design process so much. In the rush to find the ‘perfect solution’ impatience often causes you to go for the quickest solution disguised as the perfect solution because you just want to get to the end as quick as you can. This leaves no room for experimentation or exploration, something that is critical to the design process.

My lesson is so black and white this week: patience helps.

This week's donut?

Exercising patience is one of the most important personal skills you can develop as a designer. Patience allows you to be relentless in your experimentation and exploration; it allows you the time to work past your personal threshold of what you already know to exist. This is where you find innovation and originality.

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