The details

I was thinking about details as I walked the dog this morning, and reflecting on my zine project, especially the finishing of that project. It’s easy to get to 90% in a project. The last 10% is the hardest, and it’s all about details. The minor details of sequencing and layout; testing out different types of paper; practising trimming, and binding; and so on.

Sometimes people characterise say this is the difference between a professional and a hobbyist. I would say it’s the mark of an amateur – even a professional amateur. We finish things because we love to do it – to do the work. And the work is in the details.

The post by Robert Heaton quoted below is about love and details in the life of a toddler, but the same applies to an artist of any age:

Loving anything can be a tremendous source of happiness. But it can be difficult. How do you love something? How do we help Oscar to do it? Gaby’s been having trouble sleeping, and she emailed me at 3am:

“When I was at music school my teacher told me ‘loving something means loving the details.’ It took me years before I finally understood what he meant, and recently I’ve been thinking about it a lot. Sometimes it just happens and you become obsessed with the details of something on your own. But usually you don’t see what the details are; or you see them, but you don’t see how you could ever love them. I still don’t know if I ever really loved music, but the closest I got was in grad school when I finally learned how to practise and pay attention. I want to show Oscar the details of everything I can and how to love them, so that maybe one day he’ll continue exploring them on his own. I want to find out what he’s interested in and what he’s ready for and show him details that he will care about. I’m not sure I do this well, but that’s my goal.”

Robert Heaton

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