Keys to All Creative Crafts: Rule #9

9. Details: dress your art to the T, even if it’s skateboarding clothes
Details dictates excellence. When every element of a painting, every line, every color, every note, every cinematic shot is accurate to it’s purpose, the piece smells of excellence.

And if there is a part that is done without excellence it very often degrades the whole piece to that level. When we find a novel with a typo, we are bound to question the quality of the company that produced it. Or when one actor feels like he’s acting, the whole movie seems staged. To put it to memorable imagery, if you step in poop and go to a party your dapper pocket square won’t even matter because everyone will just remember that you brought the poop.

So strive to do every piece of your work with excellence.

To reference the first rule, this is how the Gem is polished and what makes others consider it.

You know why sometimes you look at some simple drawings and they look like a four year old drew them, and others look like a master? It is because one of them knows the exact proportions of a face, or the shape of the paw of an animal. Straight lines take skill and are easily recognizable when they’re off. Colors have natural partners they are happy with and it’s not just random. Shapes and rhythms can have mathematical patterns in them, and our mind recognizes that. And the more excellence with which we wield these things, the more it polishes the gems.

Here are a couple simple line drawings of faces I found on Google images. The 1st has many elements done with excellence, and the 2nd by the illustrator’s own admission was done before they learned a lot about drawing.

good woman drawing       not as good woman drawing

The 1st is done with excellence on every level. Every line is the right shape, the face is perfectly proportioned, the stance is natural and says a lot, and even the line work is minimal and calligraphic. In the second the shape of everything is questionable, the proportions are of, the stance is soul less, the line work is sketchy and inaccurate. Even the scan is amateur. They are both simple pictures of a face. In the first all of the details are done with excellence, not a single one done poorly. In the second all of the details are just a little off.

So as you master your craft pay attention and master every one of these categories, and the others that you find.

Now, hear this, not only does everything you wear have to be expertly tidy, what you choose to wear must be appropriate to the party your showing up at. If you wear a pocket square to the skate park, you better think about making it a bandana like it was always meant to be it. And do it with excellence.

Now, I want to advise you to be careful in this whole excellence thing as well. If you are waiting until something is perfect before you release it to the world, the world may never get to see it. Especially in this world where social media and keeping track of an artist is almost as fun as keeping track of their art, there are some benefits to showing pieces of things to the world before they are complete. Drop a work in progress onto Facebook, but make sure you tell them it is just a work in progress.

(Sneak peek at the other rules:
1.Value: Unbury gems and polish them
2.Awareness: Don’t grow pot in your basement
3.Audience: Don’t call your girlfriend fat
4.Pure Beauty: That bird’s got bugs
5.Passion: Feed your monster
6.Focal Point: Give them a paper weight
7.Patterns and Variations: If life is a series of roads, give me some windows to look in
8.Storytelling: Give all art the guts of a joke
9.Details: Dress your art to the T, even when it’s skateboarding clothes
10.Brand: The singer has to be as cool as the song.
11.Bonus rule: There are too many rules to know, but try