What a creative extrovert is
Most creative people are introverts. That is, they prefer to be alone, doing their drawing, or painting, or whatever their creative pursuit is. In fact, some creative people become rich but never go beyond living in their "tiny world", and being far away from people. I've known a lot of people like that who have become successful, and have been expected to attend parties, and are just miserable there, wishing that they could get back to their drawing, or whatever, alone.
As an art teacher, I expect the vast majority of my students to be introverted. That is, people who don't socialize much, people who keep to themselves. The classic example is someone who never looks up from their sketch pad. And I understand that. My childhood was a typical creative introvert's, I spent a lot of time alone, mostly drawing superheroes, and most of my friends were made up of people like me, most of them musicians.
Speaking for myself, I didn't like the way that my life was going by my mid-twenties. In spite of the fact that I found work as a graphic designer and illustrator, and was making money at it, I really didn't consider myself to have much of a life. I was doing a lot of freelance work, which meant a small amount of human contact, but mostly just going back to the old drawing board. I didn't have a girlfriend, I never went anywhere, I just did my artwork, and then looked around to see if I could do some more.
Right around age 28 I decided to change my life dramatically. I decided to see if I could fit in with all of the other people around me who seemed to be having a lot of fun socially. I moved to the big city, I went on job interviews. I taught myself to "get my knuckles off of the ground", to shake hands and look people in the eye. I got the job, I got the girl. I went places, and I did things. My jobs were always in the creative departments of companies, but I invited myself to parties, to corporate functions. I learned how to wear a suit, I learned how to introduce myself. For those of you who met me in Los Angeles in the 1980s, you may remember how similar my introduction was to a character in the movie "Animal House", who said, "Eric Stratton, Rush Chairman, damn glad to meet you!" I said, "Brad Hall, Corporate Marketing, glad to meet you!" I know that I got some double-takes from people, because I said exactly in the same tone of voice that he used, but mostly it was a confident line that expressed exactly how I felt. I was glad to meet them!
I'll never really be an extrovert. Like most introverts, being in groups of people tires me, and I need time alone. But I've seen introverted creative people, who have absolutely no social skills, and I kind of feel sorry for what they're missing. There's a big, beautiful, wonderful world out there with a lot of wonderful people! And it took and effort to overcome my being an introvert, and it's still a lot of work, but it's worth it.
Posted by Brad Hall