In a previous blog post I reviewed the book and digital download Making Your Life as an Artist by Andrew Simonet, a considered insight into the role of art and methods for working efficiently with an art-based skill-set. This matter-of-fact publication has unsurprisingly expanded into an even further practicable format in the Making Workbook.
Designed for use in small groups but also usable individually, the new publication is made to complement the original, and is similarly available to purchase or free to download on Artists U. By deliberately playing to the inherent skills that artists have – such as problem solving, or making intangible ideas exist within the world – artists using this book can single out their priorities, their means to create and their future work steps clearly.
The book is divided into 4 sections: planning, mission, money and time. Each one has a series of short exercises, often with a lateral approach to the task at hand – for example, using an interview set-up to talk around the elements of each other’s practice when make a statement. The potential embarrassment-factor is avoided by a down-to-earth tone and irreverence throughout – perhaps conscious of how averse artists can be to self-help and group work.
Key to the book’s pragmatism is its acknowledgement that the work of an artist can’t be compartmentalised from day-to-day life: goals and spending, for example, encompass everything in life, not just professional aspects. Central, too, is the author’s awareness of the human nature of those participating and possible pitfalls in doing the short writing tasks, recognising when to make things specific, and what elements are contingent upon other people.
The money section is not about saving pennies but heightening awareness of budgeting: finding avenues to gain more finances by breaking down skills from previous projects, and guiding you in finding your daily and hourly rate that are your baseline for making a living. The time section, in contrast, is about condensing, focused on taking on less to work more meaningfully, and has practical steps to limit procrastination.
Rather than a basis on financial success or personal fulfilment as an artist, this book is grounded upon the day-to-day life and approach of creative workers that has room for all types of practices. It’s a great accompaniment to the previous publication and beneficial for any artist stuck in a professional rut, particularly if guidance on finding the problem and its solution is required.