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  • Katelin Kinney

Jack of All Trades, Master of (N)One

We've all heard that phrase right? Jack of all trades, master of none. The point being if you spread your time across multiple disciplines you won't be able to dedicate all of your time to perfecting one skill. I get it, it makes sense, but I also don't think this has to be a negative thing, nor does it have to be an all or nothing concept. My favorite thing, my passion, is conceptual composite photography. Taking a quick look at my website you'll clearly see I'm addicted to photoshop and creating surreal scenes that have a clever concept behind them geared towards appealing advertising. However, I also have dipped my toes into graphic design, video, typography, landscape photography, gifs, packaging, studio photography, etc.

So, is this bad? I say absolutely not. Will I ever be a master at graphic design? Nope. And that doesn't bother me at all. I know I can offer design services at a lower price, because I'm not an industry leader. And guess what? There's a market for that. Nike may not be looking for a budget friendly designer, but plenty of businesses are, and I know I can definitely help those businesses to reach up to the next level- and ideally out grow me to jump up to the next level of designers. I enjoy learning and working in multiples trades. Does this then mean I'm doomed to be a master of none?

Compositing is my one skill that I derive the most pleasure from improving. I do dedicate most of my time and energy to it. Technically speaking could I spend more time working on that if I didn't spend time pursuing other skillsets? Yes, but I don't believe that would be beneficial to me personally, and the reason is this: Creatives get burnt out. I need to step away and take a break from even my deepest passion. Continuing to push through when I'm frustrated or uninspired or just tired would not further my mastery of my skill. Instead redirecting my attention to other creative fields has been truly valuable to me. Not to mention I do actually pick up subtle skills in those other trades that translate into my composite photography. Learning more about the basics of design has helped my layouts in my composite photographs. Learning about color spaces and printing practices through package designing has helped me to understand what specs would be needed by my client at the other end of the process.

So, keep creating my friends! Branch out if you feel the urge. Learn new skills. Explore different programs and techniques. Think of the most unreachable creative idea you have and ask yourself, "Ok, well how would I actually make that?" then go find the tutorials and develop the skills. Add to your arsenal of abilities. Make some money doing it! And don't allow that old phrase "jack of all trades master of none" to get you down or make you believe you won't become a master just because you want to also learn other things. You never know what random pieces of knowledge you'll stumble across that will actually propel you further towards mastering your one true focus of passion!


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