I made a thing

The title of this post is inspired by a recurring exclamation from Jeremy Clarkson on his recent (and excellent) farming show for Amazon Prime. If you haven’t watched it, he tends to shout something along these lines every time he manages to do something productive.

Whilst this makes for a funny recurring gag, it does actually convey the important message that we should be OK with celebrating our accomplishments, even if we’re the only person listening.

And that’s kind of what this post is about: celebrating something that I’ve accomplished. I created something. That may seem like something or nothing to you. It may also be a bit confusing, after all, if you know my background you’ll know I’ve created lots of things before. I’ve developed websites, designed posters, and more recently starting posting my photos and videos online too.

But to me, this is different. Ever since I was a child I struggled with drawing. I remember sitting next to my best friend when I was just 6 or 7 and despairing at how poor my efforts were compared to his.

Fast forward a couple of decades, and apart from dabbling unsuccessfully in Adobe Illustrator, I’d never tried to create any form of illustration or vector by myself from hand. However, I recently needed to replicate my company’s logo for a project I was working on. As I had a bit of time to spare I committed to learning how to effectively use the tools I had to work with, in this case Affinity Designer. Several hours of YouTube footage later, and I had at least an understanding of which options to use and how, I was able to accomplish the task and that was that.

Until yesterday. When I suddenly had a thought which I immediately went to tweet. I was just working out the wording when I realised that this was something that could be conveyed quicker and easier by an image.

I got out my notebook, iterated a few times, then created a final sketch. The next day I fired up my graphic design software, and using the skills I’d learnt a few months ago, I was able to create the finished article in a few minutes.

If you’re a designer or artist of any kind, this might not seem like a big deal to you. But for me, this is the result of hours of watching YouTube videos, reading blogs, following people who inspire me online, and consuming as much knowledge and wisdom as I could in order to create, and more importantly, be able to share my creation. An original piece of art, of which I am proud.

Could it be better? Yes.

Could someone else do it better? Yes

Do I care? No.

There’s really two battles that have been won here.

First, that of improving over time to get to a place to be able to create.

Second, that of having the confidence to actually put the creation out there. I don’t like the idea of being proud (blame my Britishness), but being proud of your work is a pre-requisite to sharing it.

These two tweets from the past week for me summarise the process I’ve been through over the past 18 months. It’s been a long road, but it’s one I’m glad to have travelled.

Now onto the next one.