Last week we hosted our fifth Fuse Session workshop with the amazing Tad Carpenter. Tad is a fellow Midwesterner residing in Kansas City, MO, where he runs a branding and identity studio with his wife, Jessica.

While Tad was in town he also gave a talk for AIGA and AAF. The talk was super entertaining and full of amazing work, from gig posters to illustrations, kids’ books, branding and identity. But the best part of the talk was all the wisdom he shared. Tad’s ability to connect with an audience always brings a freshness and urgency to his topics. Here are a few things he shared with us:

  1. The harder you work, the luckier you get.
  2. Be true to who you are.
  3. Everyone has a masterpiece in them from birth.
  4. Walk out on that thin ice and ask, “Can I stand here?”
  5. Lean into something you love.
  6. Embrace the power of play.
  7. Don’t let it get unfun.

While I believe all of these are true, I’m really going to focus on the last two: “Embrace the power of play” and “Don’t let it get unfun.”

As creatives, it is easy to get stuck in that day-to-day hustle and forget to come up for air. Those opportunities to take a breath have to be intentional. Just like any other occupation, we can get burned out. Workshops like Fuse Sessions provide us with an opportunity to embrace the power of play for a day while also getting a lot of value at the same time.

Tad Carpenter's Quote on Passion Projects

Another good opportunity to play is personal or passion projects. I believe every creative should have a personal project. This should be something you are passionate about and enjoy doing. Tad has a personal project called SUN-day Suns, where he gives himself an hour or so to illustrate a sun each week. The goal is simple: to play. A good rule of thumb is to make it easy for yourself to succeed, but also make sure you are getting something out of it. That something could be as simple as enjoying what you are creating or learning a new technique. It is through this process of continuously “making” that you will find yourself.

It’s important to remember that as creatives WE GET TO DO THIS. So whenever you’re having a bad day, remember it’s a privilege to be in this industry and create for a living.

Big thanks to Tad for an amazing workshop. Be sure to check out the recap video the amazingly talented Kevin Spahn put together. Also, thanks to AIGA and AAF for partnering with us. We love teaming up to bring awesome people like Tad to our beautiful city. Here’s to many more to come!

Check out Fuse Sessions and be sure to follow them on Twitter and Instagram for updates on the next workshop.

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Bob Ewing

Bob Ewing isn’t just a designer – he’s a nationally-renowned lettering expert, illustrator, and graphic designer – plus, if you ever need a door or a window installed he’s your man. And since joining us here at Element Three, he’s won a national Addy, so he’s pretty darn good at the designing as well.