PK 079: How to Develop as an Artist and Play to Your Strengths to Create Your Best Work

PK 079: How to Develop as an Artist and Play to Your Strengths to Create Your Best Work 2 PK 079 podcast header
In this podcast, established artist and Pencil Kings community leader, Chaz Sutherland, talks about how to develop as an artist and keep learning new skills

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“There’ll be a lot of people out there telling you not to be an artist. You shouldn’t be one of those people.”

~ Chaz Sutherland

How do you learn how to develop as an artist and find your ideal creative career?

In this podcast, we speak to established artist and Pencil Kings community member, Chaz Sutherland.

He talks about his career so far with companies such as Electronic Arts and Shiny Entertainment, and his plans for the future.

And he also explains how you can develop your skills as an artist and find the right creative career for you…

How to Develop as an Artist and Learn How to Reinvent Yourself

Chaz has recently moved to a new area and is currently looking for job opportunities while updating his portfolio.

And although he’s worked as a digital artist since the 1990s, he’s had to constantly learn new skills to adapt to the ever-changing world of computer software and re-invent himself as an artist.

For example, he’s currently expanding his knowledge of 3D programs such as ZBrush and Maya and learning more about VFX software.

He says: “The sheer amount of great art that’s being created can be overwhelming, so if you’re not paying attention to that, you can find yourself drowning real quick. So I’ve never, ever taken a rest. It drives my wife crazy, but I just don’t feel like you can.”

So where do you start if you want know how to develop as an artist and find a career that matches your skills?

For Chaz, it’s all about finding where your strengths and weaknesses lie, and then working on the things you enjoy doing the most.

He explains: “Right now, I’ve been concentrating on two things: My illustration skills, and my visual effects skills. The more focus you put into one area, the faster you’re going to learn it.”

But how do people learn a particular skill? In Chaz’s experience, everyone learns differently, and it’s important to find the way of learning that works best for you.

For example, he was never strong on math at school, but finds it easier to learn this subject nowadays due to his willingness to learn and focus on it.

How to Play to Your Strengths as an Artist

It can take some time to discover what your real strengths and weaknesses are and learn how to develop as an artist, but Chaz says being honest about these can really help you focus on creating your best work.

He says: “When you just realize ‘these are my strengths, these are my weaknesses’, I still think you can work within those boundaries and maximise your potential.”

Listen to this week’s show and learn:

  • How to find a way of learning new skills that works for you
  • How to develop as an artist and focus on your strengths
  • How to stay positive and follow your creative dream

People on this Episode:

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Thanks for listening to our show! We’ll be back next Wednesday morning 8AM EST.



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4 thoughts on “PK 079: How to Develop as an Artist and Play to Your Strengths to Create Your Best Work”

  1. I really liked this podcast. Chaz apologised for getting too philosophical, but this is exactly the kind of stuff I want to be listening to. I’m an aspiring artist who doesn’t really have the goal of turning my art into a career. So for me I love hearing about that side of things. I would love to hear more artists talk about their mentality and discipline for improving their skills – as most people work full-time and are tired from work I think it’s an extremely important topic. My biggest struggle is always “how can I go home from work and draw instead of playing video games? I enjoy playing games more and I get rewarded a lot quicker for it.” I think a lot of people here would have a similar struggle.

    Great stuff,

    1. Hi Brendan and thanks so much for your feedback. I’m glad you enjoyed Chaz’s podcast and I hope it inspires you in your journey as an artist. As for finding time for art vs playing video games (and, let’s face it, that’s a struggle we can all identify with!), here’s my advice: Try devoting just 15 mins to your art each day. Don’t worry about creating anything ‘perfect’ or ‘polished’ – just sketch out some ideas as roughly as you like. You’ll most likely find this’ll kick-start your imagination, and you’ll naturally find yourself wanting to devote more and more time to drawing 🙂 Let me know how you get on!

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