The Perfect Bait

by Bobby Chiu

It’s currently available in several formats:

PaperbackiPhone App and Audio Stream.

I got the app and used it on my iPad, as that was the most convenient for me, and it gives you access to the text as well as the audio.

Bobby has also been releasing parts of it on youtube with art demos – 3 at the time of writing.  I’m not sure if these are just extracts, or if he will release the whole audiobook this way:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3 

In a nutshell

The Perfect Bait was written by professional artist Bobby Chiu as a kind of instruction manual for beginning artists.  He wanted to share all of the lessons that he has learnt along the way to becoming a successful artist, both from personal experience, and from advice passed on to him by other artists, to help and inspire upcoming artists.

Rating

Entertainment  
 Inspiration  
 Instruction  
 Technical  n/a

Key quotes

“Cynicism and skepticism only creates an expectation of failure, which encourages you to give up if you don’t immediately succeed”

“If you want to be exceptional, you have to be comfortable with being out of your comfort zone. – Everett Downing”

“If bad things happen to you when you are trying your hardest, then that means you’re about to reach the next level and good things are on their way.”

My thoughts

When I first heard about this book, I didn’t understand the title, and wasn’t sure if it would be relevant to me as an animator because it’s written from an artist’s perspective – he talks about portfolios and not demo reels. However I took a chance on it, and am very glad I did. “The Perfect Bait” is referring to how you as an artist, want to attract the right clients with your work. You’re the fisherman, your work is the bait, and potential clients are the fish.

Like most creative people, Bobby has had a lot of rejection and discouragement, but I found the ways in which he has overcome setbacks really inspiring, and made me reassess my own attitude towards my work and career.  His advice can mostly be summed up as: always give 100%, believe that you will succeed, never give up and practise, practise, practise.  Nothing new there, but hearing of ways that you can do this, and how he himself has put this to good effect in his career, really inspired me.  I also like the advice that he has included from other artists, including animators, that give insight from people with different experiences.

I personally found the “Freeing the Motivated You” chapter the most helpful and relevant (not to mention inspiring!), but there is plenty of great information in all the chapters.  “Increasing Your Artistic Skill Level” has lots of good tips – both for those wanting to improve their sketching, but I think also applicable to improving animation skills.  I would say that the chapter on “Exposure” is the least relevant to animators but I still found it interesting and there were some helpful tips.  The “Big Clients” and “Financial Security” chapters have a lot of great advice, especially if you are working freelance.  So with all that in mind, I have given the book a rating of “good” on instruction, just because it is not animation specific advice, so it’s not all relevant, but there is still plenty we can take away from it.

Some minor quibbles in terms of the app functionality: I don’t particularly like reading iPhone apps on my iPad, as I find them too small, and it’s annoying to constantly be turning pages.  So I’ve mostly used the “listen” option.  The audio quality when the author is talking is excellent, but when you hear from other artists the quality drops significantly – some worse than others.  You’re still able to understand what’s being said, but it’s a small annoyance.

However, those are very minor issues.  I love this book – it made me take a serious look at how I’m currently applying myself to my animation and realise that I could be doing a lot more, and working much harder.  It’s really given me an energy boost, and I know that I’m going to keep referring back to this book in future – either for career advice, or when I need a shot of inspiration.

Highly recommended if you’re looking for some motivation.

Contents

1 Introduction

2 Increasing Your Artistic Skill Level

3 Freeing the Motivated You

4 Exposure

5 Big Clients

6 Financial Security

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