Quote of the Week! – Insights from Robert Louis Stevenson

Nurturing Growth in the Creative Industry:

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”

~Robert Louis Stevenson

This profound quote by Robert Louis Stevenson encapsulates a mindset that is crucial for long-term success in the creative industries. For artists, surface designers, and photographers, the journey is not solely about immediate results but about the continuous efforts and investments made toward future growth and achievements.

The Essence of Planting Seeds in the Creative Process

In the creative industry, the act of planting seeds can be likened to the daily practices and efforts that contribute to an artist’s or designer’s long-term success. This involves creating new work, experimenting with different techniques, building a portfolio, networking, and learning new skills. These activities might not yield immediate rewards but are essential for growth and development.

For instance, an artist who dedicates time each day to sketching or experimenting with new mediums is planting seeds. These small, consistent efforts accumulate over time, leading to improved skills and a more diverse body of work. Similarly, a photographer who continuously explores different lighting techniques or composition styles is investing in their future success by expanding their creative toolkit.

Example: An Emerging Artist

Consider an emerging artist named Alex. Alex spends hours each week experimenting with various painting techniques, attending workshops, and seeking feedback from mentors. Despite not having many exhibitions or sales initially, Alex is planting seeds through these efforts. Over time, these investments lead to a unique artistic style, a robust portfolio, and a network of supportive peers and mentors. Eventually, Alex’s dedication pays off with invitations to exhibit work, increased sales, and recognition in the art community.

The Long-Term Vision for Surface Designers

Surface designers, who create patterns and designs for products such as textiles, wallpapers, and ceramics, also benefit from focusing on planting seeds rather than immediate harvests. Building a successful career in surface design often requires extensive research, trend analysis, and experimentation with different design software and techniques.

Example: A Surface Designer’s Journey

Consider a surface designer named Maya. Maya spends time each day researching market trends, experimenting with new design software, and creating sample patterns. Initially, these patterns might not lead to significant sales or licensing deals. However, by consistently producing high-quality, innovative designs and building a diverse portfolio, Maya positions herself as a versatile and skilled designer. Over time, these efforts lead to collaborations with major brands, licensing deals, and a strong reputation in the industry.

The Role of Persistence for Photographers

For photographers, the principle of planting seeds applies to the continuous effort to improve their craft, build a portfolio, and network with potential clients and collaborators. Photography, like other creative fields, requires dedication and persistence. The fruits of these efforts might not be immediately visible, but they are crucial for long-term success.

Example: A Photographer’s Path

Imagine a photographer named Jordan. Jordan dedicates time each day to exploring different photography techniques, such as lighting, composition, and post-processing. Additionally, Jordan invests in building a strong online presence by regularly updating a portfolio website and engaging with the photography community on social media. While these efforts might not lead to immediate paid assignments, they gradually build Jordan’s skills, visibility, and network. Eventually, this persistence results in paid gigs, gallery showings, and collaborations with other artists and brands.

Embracing the Journey

Stevenson’s quote encourages creative professionals to embrace the journey rather than fixate on immediate results. The creative industry often involves periods of uncertainty and slow progress. However, by focusing on the seeds being planted—such as honing skills, creating new work, and building connections—artists, surface designers, and photographers can cultivate a sustainable and fulfilling career.

Celebrating Small Wins

While the ultimate harvest might take time, it’s important for creative professionals to celebrate small wins along the way. These small wins, such as completing a challenging project, receiving positive feedback, or learning a new technique, are indicators of growth and progress. Celebrating these achievements helps maintain motivation and reinforces the value of the ongoing efforts.

Building a Sustainable Career

A sustainable career in the creative industry is built on the foundation of continuous learning, experimentation, and persistence. By adopting the mindset suggested by Stevenson’s quote, creative professionals can focus on the long-term vision for their careers. This involves setting goals, consistently working towards them, and recognizing that each effort contributes to future success.


“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” This quote by Robert Louis Stevenson offers valuable insight for artists, surface designers, and photographers. In the creative industry, success is often the result of continuous efforts and investments made over time. By focusing on planting seeds—whether through developing skills, creating new work, or building connections—creative professionals can cultivate a sustainable and fulfilling career. Embracing this mindset helps navigate the uncertainties of the creative journey and ensures long-term growth and achievement.

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Vinh Van Lam
the authorVinh Van Lam
Vinh Van Lam, co-founder of ArtSHINE, is a visionary art coach and entrepreneur with a passion for fostering creativity. With a diverse background in art and business, he brings a unique perspective to empower emerging artists, enabling them to thrive in the dynamic art industry through the innovative platform of ArtSHINE.

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