You can either create as a designer or an artist. While a designer chooses the paths that have already been specified, an artist describes his own path. There are pros and cons of each approach. Before you choose an approach for yourself, it is important that you clearly understand the difference between an artist and a designer.
A designer is a person who goes by the set rules. They are basically trained and have vast knowledge about the rules. An artist is someone who is not much trained. They choose to create their own ways and have a basic knowledge about the rules that have been set.
Choose your path
There must be something that created your interest in computer graphics. Knowing the reason which made you take this job can help you choose your approach. For example, if you were intrigued by the colours, designs and pictures and wanted to create some yourself than you should go with the designer approach and if you chose the profession to earn money than you should go with the designer approach. You can also choose the designer path if you are not very creative.
Analyse your strengths
Everyone has some strength and some weaknesses. You can never compete others in the field without capitalising on your strengths. Use your strengths to your advantage. Build around your strength. If you are not good in some areas, this does not mean that you should not use them at all, it’s just that capitalising on your strengths will give you an advantage. A designer would try to gain expertise in all fields while an artist would go with his strengths and then find out ways in which he can put his other limited skills to good use.
Being a one man army
Every new suit of adobe would make you believe that you can handle everything alone. You can go with this approach if you are not dealing with very demanding clients, demanding clients would seek expertise in all the services that they get. A designer would try to gain knowledge and learn everything so that he can do all the stuff himself. An artist would choose his area of expertise and capitalise on it. He would than gain knowledge on other things so that he can put them to use o make his work better.
Knowing the standards
A designer would have knowledge of all the standards by heart while an artist would choose to ignore them so that he can explore territories that have not been discovered. The fact is that standards are important an artist too. If you do not have any knowledge about the standards, you may end up creating stuff that is excellent but is junk because it cannot be used to perfection. It’s better to know the standards beforehand so that you don’t end up create something that is not worth your effort.
Self taught vs School
Let’s get it straight, ‘school kills creativity’. A designer would go with the conventional method of learning things while an artist would choose to be self taught so that he can be creative with his work. By the time you get your degree in your hand, you would be used to putting your mind in the designing direction and not in the artist direction
The approach you choose is ultimately going to affect whom you work with and what you are known for in the field. So keep all the above things in the mind and choose wisely.