The Curse Of Being Creative And Quantitative

In a Peanuts cartoon, Charlie Brown once said that the worst thing about walking down the middle of the road is you can get run over from both directions. That's how it is when you're an artist with a passion for logic and reason: your creative colleagues think you're a cynical sell-out to the suits, while your more left-brained co-workers might see you as a red-eyed, screaming anarchist.

But in balance there is efficiency. Seeing both sides of that coin allows me to weave deeper purpose and effectiveness into my creative work, and that is key to making the needle move.

Creative Background

I began my creative career as an illustrator and cartoonist for my local paper while working my way through college in the operations center at Wachovia Bank. I took a leave of absence from The Bank and immersed myself in learning as much as I could about layout and design from the creative professionals in the newspaper industry. One in particular was a lady named Sally Griffin. She had spent many years in the advertising industry and was one of the smartest people I would ever meet. From her I learned the value of marrying type to visual imagery for effective communication of ideas. And the universal necessity of white space.

Later, I returned to Wachovia and became a regular contributor to The Charlotte Observer for the next several years. worked as an editorial cartoonist and put my creative skills to work by establishing in-house agencies at banks and credit unions. Most recently I've been involved in marketing research and creating voice of customer feedback channels with The Hartsema Group.

Infographic Profile

Above is a link to my infographic profile with a couple of visuals that better explain my general professional background. There's a Skills Distribution chart which shows how my professional acumen is distributed, an Adobe Professional Software Usage graph which shows my competency in the Adobe packages I use most often, and coming soon I'll have a visualization of my Emotional Intelligence (EQ) from an assessment that was provided by Six Seconds North America.

Adobe Software: The Road To Master User?

Many years ago I was invited to make a presentation to the professors of my University's philosophy department which included some of the smartest people I would ever know. When I took the floor I rather apologetically said that, as a teaching assistant, I was only a student of philosophy and was privileged just to be included in their forum. I was interrupted by the head of our department, Dr. Toenjes, who said "Nathan, we are all students of philosophy." It was a lesson I never forgot: that the smartest people I know refused to call themselves masters of their subject material.

Adobe's Creative Cloud is still the gold standard of design and publishing software and will likely continue to be for some time to come. The dizzying array of menu options and parameters for just a single package would take months to learn much less master, and you can get some serious creative work done with a good understanding of just a few of them. I have worked sparingly for many years in some Adobe programs and worked intently for shorter periods of time in others, and I always feel that I have something more to learn. So I don't strive to become a master of any software, I'd rather be a good student.

EQ Assessment

Emotional Intelligence or EQ is emerging as a key assessment tool in the science of understanding interpersonal relationships between people and teams. Human beings are extraordinarily complex creatures with a broad operational (and dynamic) range of emotional conditions. Understanding your own tendencies as well as those you interact with is a key to successful teamwork.

We recently participated in an EQ assessment through Six Seconds North America that provided tremendous insight into each of our operational tendencies and noble goals.