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The creative practice: A continuous exercise of an evolving profession

Pete Clayton is Made in Plymouth’s Creative Columnist; an illustrator, animator and graphic designer based in Plymouth. Not a born native to the city and region, but a fully bred Plymouthian who’s lived here most of his 41 years… man and boy! In work, Pete’s purpose as a multidisciplinary creative and writer is to share his love of what he does and in turn give people an inspiring creative lift. Today he continues his theme of evolving, learning and growing.

I consider myself to be a very lucky individual in my chosen profession as a freelance illustrator, animator and graphic designer. No two days are ever the same. One day I could be designing packaging for dog vitamins and the next illustrating a social media promo for Disney / Pixar.

On the outside you might say I’ve reached the summit of my career. “I’ve made it” you could say? But I ask you… in an ever changing industry, isn’t it hard for me or anyone to ever say that they’re top of their game? For me at least, there’s always so much to learn.

Keeping it Humble
In any case, me being me, I wouldn’t ever say that I’m top of my game anyway. As that would be far too egotistical. I prefer to try to be simply good at what I do rather than be the best. It’s much more humble and realistic.

Through this humble nature of mine is a realisation that I can never be truly “top dog”. I personally feel that my career as a designer, illustrator and animator is a “practice” where I learn and grow continuously with this evolving creative industry.

A Creative Practitioner
Sure I can (and do) have a set of go-to-tools and parameters in which to tackle a brief or project. But at the end of the day every client brief is always different from the next and requires new ways of thinking and tools to solve it. Indeed, new ways of thinking, new trends, new problems, changing creative requirements and new software developments mean there’s always something to learn and in turn, new ways to grow.

Takeaways after a project has finished are always a plus too. Pro’s and con’s of how the project went means I can learn something new to take into the next project with me and practice.

Within this continuous creative cycle, I develop with it and in turn it makes me a ‘creative practitioner’. I like this term more. It keeps me humble and hungry. It also keeps my mind open to new ideas and roads to explore.

There is No End Point
I don’t believe there’s an end point where I’ll reach the top of a mountain and say, “yes I’ve made it!” My career, over and over again, has taught me that once you’ve reached one summit, you’ll see more mountains in the distance. Personally, I’m always like… right, what’s next!

Now, you can choose to stay where you are, but there’s a good chance the world will move on without you at some point. It’s so important to evolve with the world and conquer new mountains and to be excited by learning new things and putting in the time to climb new creative heights and to see new creative sights.
For me, I’d always say, keep evolving folks! Keep developing and sharpening your tools, moving forward, learning, growing and moving forward.

Thanks for reading Pete 🙂


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