“I’m not an artist”

by Kelly Hobkirk

The client hands me chicken scratch on a napkin, and I’m fine with that. He apologizes for it with, “I’m no artist,” but it doesn’t matter. There is brilliance in the idea, just waiting to be discovered, polished and promoted. And I’m the lucky guy who gets to help him do it.

“I’m not an artist,” she says, before explaining her inspiring idea, “So I can’t draw it.” It’s okay, I am an artist, and it’s why she has me there. But she is an artist too, just not a visual artist.

People frequently apologize for their lack of drawing skill. It reminds me of my mom apologizing just before serving a home-cooked meal. “This isn’t very good,” she’ll say, but of course it’s delicious.

Clients would be amazed at how many designers can’t actually draw. (I’ll admit, I think good graphic designers make an effort to learn to draw.) I can draw and I thoroughly enjoy it, but drawing is not a requirement for being an artist.

We’re not here to be superior to our clients. We’re here to help them communicate who they are, what they do, about their amazing approach or offering, what they stand for and why anyone should care. And we love it.

Yes, we’re artists, but so is most of everyone else on the planet. From the guy who designs and manufactures sustainable furniture to the doctor (of any modality) who makes connections that solve medical mysteries to the woman who helps more people ride bicycles, they’re all artists in their own right. Can they draw? Maybe not on paper, but they can draw in their minds, formulate ideas that change our reality, improve lives and inspire greatness in others. That’s art, all of it.

Posted by Kelly Hobkirk • June 17, 2012 • Tags: