Finding a Mentor

Finding Mentors has always been a thing that Mike and I advocate for in our class. They can be immensely helpful in a lot of ways. But there seem to be a lot of misconceptions of what a mentor is and what they can/will do for you, so I thought I would write a little blog post to talk about what we think are the important things you should look for in a mentor and how to approach somebody. 

First thing's first: Don't ever ask "Will you be my mentor" It's weird and uncomfortable for both parties. It feels like you're asking somebody to date you. Just don't do it, there are better ways to find a good mentor. 

A lot of students tend to think that a mentor is a finite state, something like a personal study teacher. You work with them for a few weeks/months and then once it's up you guys are no longer connected. This is simply not the case. A mentor/mentee relationship is something that develops over time and can actually change and evolve into something very different than a student teacher relationship. 

Lets take two of my favorite TV characters: Jack and Liz from 30 rock. 

These two have the quintessential and ideal version of a mentorship. Jack may be the mentor and Liz the Mentee, but they both learn from each other the whole way. They have more than a formal relationship and are true friends throughout the series. As an aside, when their relationship as Mentor and mentee beings Jack asks Liz to be his mentee and not the other way around. When he decides in a future episode to find a new mentee, he auditions people based on a very specific set of requirements. ("DHIC", Drive, Humility, Intelligence, Chaos)  

These are the types of mentors you should be looking out for. Not just the types who's work you maybe be into or who work at the place you want to arrive at. You have to find somebody who you have good chemistry with, and for whom the relationship will be mutually beneficial. 

So, how do you find a good mentor? Look at your own network, who do you know? Where can you find people who's work you admire who you can actually see and talk to? If you work in a big studio environment, your boss or art director can be your mentor, or even someone who you work with who has been at the job longer than you. 

We always favor a more casual approach to mentorship. If you find someone who you think could be a good mentor to you, just make sure to show them your work, get feedback and ask for help when you're stuck. More likely than not, they will be willing to help even though a formal arrangement has not been made. After a few weeks or months this informal mentorship can develop into something that you can both feel out and find a good balance. 

Maybe you aren't working yet so you don't have the casual connection to great artists that others do, You can do the same thing with your teachers or artists in your social circle. Go to sketch groups and ask your favorite artists about their work, about their methods and ask for their help when you need it on something specific. It's always the mentee's responsiblity to reach out to the mentor, so don't just sit around and wait for your mentor to visit you, go seek them out! 

Liz, Jack and Hazel, from the episode "Grandmentor" 

Liz, Jack and Hazel, from the episode "Grandmentor" 

And lastly, one of the best things that you can do for yourself is also to become a mentor. When you've been working for a while or have some knowledge, pass it on. You can offer to mentor somebody or you can see if there is someone out there would you could pass your knowledge to who would be a great younger friend. 




7 Days of Color - Week 1 and 2

A couple of weeks ago I had an idea where I wanted my instagram feed to look like a RAINBOW~ So I started #7daysofcolor where every day starting on Monday we do a painting or photo of something for the color theme of the day. On the one hand, this has prevented me from posting a lot of random stuff, but I did in fact achieve my goal of a RAINBOW feed! Here are collections from the first two weeks.

We've got one more week left, so feel free to join in! Just hashtag #7daysof color! Colors go 

Monday: Red

Tuesday: Orange

Wednesday: Yellow

Thursday: Green

Friday: Blue

Saturday: Indigo

Sunday: Violet