Every artist faces criticism. In art school, it’s from teachers and classmates. As a professional, it comes from art directors. We illustrators, artists, and designers all have to learn how to face a critique in a polite and professional manner. The success of our careers depends on it. So with this article, I would like you all to take a moment and consider what kind of person you are when your art is being judged.
So why watch American Idol? People face criticism on this show every week in the form of Randy, Paula, and Simon. The contestants react to their judgment in a variety of ways, and this greatly affects who wins the heart of the American people. What kind of contestant would you be? Would you make it the next round?
Are you positive that you are going to be the Next Big Thing? Are you appalled when others disagree? You won’t get anywhere unless you start listening to some criticism.
These guys will keep singing, even when the judges have already told them to shut up three times. They’ll offer a different tune, a different style, but you know it will still be awful. I remember watching a girl who pleaded for several minutes before she was pushed out the door. Leave yourself with a bit of dignity and don’t resort to begging. It will just leave a bad taste in the judge’s mouth, and you’ll ruin all chances of making a comeback later.
Remember the guy who came in dressed as the Statue of Liberty? Or the guy who tried to mask his tone-deafness with juggling? There are no fancy tricks that will get you through the door besides skill and hard work. A $100 frame is not going to fix a mediocre painting.
There are some people who come out of the audition room thinking that their life is over because they didn’t become the next 1-in-a-million superstar. One rejection, or two or ten, is not the end of the world. Learn what your strengths are and take advantage of them. Take your weaknesses and try to develop them.
These are the ones that forget their lyrics, make excuses (“I’m REALLY nervous.”), or try to make it into the singing competition by tap dancing. Practice your skills, be prepared to present your work, and be familiar with the type of competition you are facing.
Be polite. Don’t interrupt the judges while they’re speaking. Where appropriate clothing. Practice good hygiene. And don’t run off cursing and swearing down the hall if they don’t like you.
A guy with silver hair swore that he was the next Taylor Hicks. Another thought he was the spitting image of Clay Aiken. Then they proceeded to dress, act, and sing like them, or at least attempt to. If you want to stand out from the crowd, you have to be yourself. Don’t try to follow in someone else’s success. You’ll just be a cheap copy of the better version.
You may not have made it to Hollywood the first time, but you took Simon’s advice to heart and came back better the next year. Your hard work earns you a spot in the Final 12. You have your bad weeks (the dreaded Disco Night) and your great weeks (“It was okay,” Simon says). You give thanks to your parents and your hometown every week and are polite to the press. Your charm and skill win the fans over. They give you millions of votes each week and you are crowned the next American Idol.
Learn from these people and take a good hard look at yourself. Is your attitude Idol-worthy? The success of a creative professional relies on his ability to grow. Take the chance to learn from your mistakes and be confident that your work and talent will only get better.