Learn the Rules Like a Pro, So You Can Break Them Like an Artist

Kapil Vaishnani
by Kapil Vaishnani  |  30th Jun, 2016 in Life

Do you follow rules meticulously?

Well, my father used to.

In fact, he ended up missing out on several golden opportunities in life only because he never wanted to break the rules and get into trouble. He felt safe within the boundaries set by rules. He didn’t want to get the hammer by being a nail that sticks out.

When I was growing up, I realized to my utter disappointment that everything in life comes with a set of rules. Art too.

There is a certain way to hold the pencil…..

….to mix the colors

….to choose the medium to paint on certain surfaces….. And so on

Following these rules makes for a disciplined way to learn art. Yet, if you do this without being flexible, it is going to tear apart your creativity, because creativity must flow freely like water or wind.

Let us find out why.

You may have heard about Jackson Pollock. Did you know that he had a brother who was also an artist? His name was Charles Pollock and he was the eldest in the Pollock family. Yet no one knows about his art because he was a strict follower of rule and never attempted to “colour outside the lines.”

Jackson Pollock’s art was different. And this non-conformity made all the difference

When Jazz began to make waves in the beginning of the 20th century, some musicians were unhappy about the way Afro-Americans made their music. Or the way Faulkner, a writer dared to break the rules of the syntax. But they knew what they were doing. They broke rules in order to bring meaning to their work and leave a new legacy.

There is no limit when it comes to innovation and expression. If it is in your mind, you can show it through your art. It is a product of your soul. Creating art can be hard, painful and confusing, an awful mess – like giving birth to a new child. The entire process of creation can be an awful mess. It’s an act of defiance. If you can dare, you can create something new.

However, in order to break rules, you must first learn the rules

If you are a musician, you will have to understand how to create a balanced composition, before you go on to create an off-kilter composition.  You need to hone technical skills before you can come up with a style that is entirely yours.

You must break the rules completely

Half-way measures, ridden with self-doubt, won’t work. You have to go all out.

You must be able to explain your art

You have to make people understand your vision. You have to connect with them.

Lastly, you have to be consistent in your art

You can break the rules, just once. You have to adopt it as your signature style. You have to show faith in your discovery.


Kapil Vaishnani

Founder - Chairman, Litmus Branding Pvt. Ltd.
Kapil Vaishnani founded Litmus in 2001 to water his passion for creating brands. Kapil’s a creative brain hitched at business. He firmly believes that focused communication is the key and it must carry a purpose that serves both brand and business. Simplicity is Kapil’s power gear that has shaped some of the prominent brands in India and globally. His passion-filled sportsmanship with multi-disciplinary talent is brimming with experience of 20+ years. Talk sense and he is all ears.