Do you think you could swap jobs with someone for a day?
At one point or another, all of us wonder what our lives would be like had we pursued a different career path. While my childhood dreams––a wild spectrum of inventor to gas station worker to artist to marine biologist to brain surgeon––were pretty much far-flung ideas based on anything I had a mild interest in, as I grew up I found myself dwelling on the possibility of pursuing art. Not as a painter or illustrator, but perhaps along the lines of an art director or a graphic designer. I’ve had a little experience in both, so with enough of a push, who knows what could happen?
In the spirit of exploring those what if’s and maybe’s hanging over our heads, Wonder decided to try out a job switch of sorts. What would happen if our artist and one of our writers swapped designations?
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A Writer Becomes an Artist
If Adie, a writer, were required to give me 100 bucks every time she said “This is bullshit” throughout the course of the challenge, I’d be rich. Tasked to make banner art for a gift list article with no Photoshop experience, she tried her luck with MS Paint. Yeah, that program we all used when we were 5. Now, I’m not going to cast judgment knowing that there are digital artists who make full-on masterpieces on the program, but it’s definitely amusing knowing she tried to make layers and delete backgrounds with Paint’s basic toolbox. She was ultimately forced into using Photoshop when she realized she couldn’t erase neatly with Paint’s square eraser.
Despite the exploding profanities, Adie fared better than expected.
Describe the job swap experience in a word. A misery. I felt like I was back in high school and didn’t know shit.
What was the hardest part? Navigating the software and figuring out how to put the topic into one piece of artwork.
Did you ask Alex for help in the process? I did. I would be like, “Alex, how do you do this?” and she would tell me to press this tool or use that tool.
How do you think you fared? Like crap, really. But I think it helps that I know how Alex does her art, so it’s not like I made a new concept. We intentionally picked an article that was supposedly easy for the both of us because it’s straight to the point. If we did a think piece, I think I would have died.
Did you learn anything from the swap? I learned I don’t want Alex’s job.
An Artist Becomes a Writer
Alex has long expressed that she “cannot write,” but I couldn’t quite understand what she meant whenever she’d say this. After all, in conversation, she’d speak just fine, would have fleshed out opinions and unique points of view to share. But as many a writer would know, the hardest part is sometimes putting your thoughts on a page. Alex was the one who threw in the towel, but she had gotten her fair share of copy in before calling it quits.
Where she included more categories and products in her article, Adie streamlined and trimmed as she saw fit. Ahead, comparisons of excerpts of their written work.
Describe the job swap experience in a word. Painful.
What was the hardest part? Coming up with something that was originally me, because I’m not a writer. You know how you just absorb everything around you, especially from ads and it sticks in your mind? When I tried to get a cohesive sentence out it always came out cheesy.
Did you ask Adie for help in the process? No.
How do you think you fared? I couldn’t come up with anything that wasn’t cheesy, it sounded like a dated advertisement.
Did you learn anything from the swap? It’s not a walk in the park, it’s not easy. I hope people realize that.
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Trying out a new craft is always a struggle. If anything, this little exercise reinforces that idea that each professional should be treated with respect––especially when you aren’t sure you can do what they can.
Art Alexandra Lara