If you're an artist of any kind I assume you understand the thrill of solving a creative problem. With each solution comes new found knowledge and growth, something I have learned is vital to life as a designer.
I spent about 5 years out of college working at a job I didn't love. My experience was fairly straight forward; I worked for a corporation who dictated what colors, fonts and images I could use, which was fair since they were maintaining their brand image. However, it left me feeling stunted and sad. It wasn't all bad... I learned a lot while working there...about work ethic, how to set files properly for production, how great if felt to pay my bills on time, what a good boss looks like, what a bad boss looks like, how to work with all different kinds of personalities but most importantly that I was happiest when I was learning and being challenged.
I realized that I had to take control over my own growth. I started to take on small clients on the side, as well as personal projects to force myself to continue to grow creatively and joined forces with other local artist to collaborate on some projects. During this time I gave myself small personal goals which led to bigger goals and some of the most amazing friendships that I still have today.
For me the end result (thus far) has been to venture out into the world of freelance. That may not be the right option for everyone. It was a tough decision that we made as a family... we planned for it and I was able to slowly wean myself from my full time position to allow a stable transition. Whether you thrive in a home office alone or in a corporate environment I would urge you to continue growing as an artist. A couple ideas to get you going:
1. Gather With Other Creatives
Meet with a couple people to work on personal projects together. This is will give you a sense of accountability, encouragement and potentially lead to amazing collaborations!
2. Take A Class
In our town we have a few colleges that offer continuing education classes as well as a cultural arts center where there are continuous classes taking place. There are also private lessons & open studios that will gladly teach you a new skill... (take a class is my small goal for the fall!)
3. Learn A New Skill
As a graphic designer that can look like learning to incorporate print making or hand graphics into my pieces. Maybe for a ceramicist that looks like making your own glazes. Really anything that stretches what you already know.
If you were designed to be an artist, be one. There is joy in discovery, in learning, in solving a problem, but most importantly in being "You".