The best and last advice from Fat Penguin. By @christinems_

By Christine Smith


The best and last advice from Fat Penguin.


First of all – WHERE DID TIME GO? It’s under a year ago I gave up everything I had, for a bench in Brixton. Not knowing what to expect, yet still holding the highest of expectations. Advice number one, things are never as you expect them at SCA. You’re launched out of your comfort zone, it’s terrifying and gratifying in equal measure. You learn to make decisions based on your gut. You learn to listen to yourself – but more importantly others. It’s easy to indulge in overthinking and care about other people’s opinions too much, however, if you trust in yourself, set yourself goals, form your own opinion, you’ll thrive.


Reflecting on all that’s happened this year make it hard to reflect back to the start. Before I started I cared a lot about awards. SCA is a school known for winning a lot of those – and I was sure that unless I got at least a pencil and a lion, I would have failed this year. Now I know that’s not true. It’s not about awards – it’s about the work. It’s about making stuff. I wish I had known this from the start and made more stuff happen. I have got something that matters much more to me. I have an amazing partner, and a book we’re proud of that reflects who we are and the placements we wanted. We didn’t win any pencils or lions, but we kept working – because that’s what matters. If you then get an award for it, of course, that’s an extra nice bonus, but it’s by no means the aim. 


A lot of people care about Marc’s opinion. Advice number one: don’t try to be his favorite. Listen to his advice about the work. Don’t kiss his ass and try to impress him. In the end of the year, he is not the one giving you your job. I’ve had a lot of arguments with him and trust me, it’s time wasted. But if you learn to respect him, he respects you. He sees something in all of us at SCA. And if you need help, he is there to help. I wish I had used him more for feedback on my work – cause he’s really good at it. (That was number two for advice). 

He wants everyone at SCA to be the best version of themselves. You will inevitably fuck up, and he’ll still believe in you. He knows exactly who to push and when to do it. Believe me – everything he does is for your betterment. He knows more than anyone that hard work trumps talent. However, he does like fame. He does like people who go out and do stuff, so if you do this (not for him, but for yourself and because of what you believe in) he will like it. Don’t be afraid of pushing back, defending your work, but do it with respect. 

How to be creative 

Being creative is not just for advertising, it’s about you. You’ll get so many opinions and feedback from all the amazing people coming into the studio and even though you can see something right in all of it, learn to listen to those you trust. Don’t try and fit your work into others opinions – make their feedback fit your work. Criticism is important. Self-criticism is vital. It means honesty and opportunity for improvement. Don’t be afraid of failing, rather cross the line and learn from it than being afraid of going too far and diluting your ideas before they’ve had a chance to breathe.

Being creative on command is damn hard and there are good and bad days. For everyone! You will get a lot of masterclasses on how to get inspiration including street wisdom, dot collection, specific creative techniques but just remember that creativity doesn’t fit into a box. Do what’s right for you, listen to what makes you excited, what ignites desire and evokes emotion. Write everything down. Read it back through. You never know when you’ll need it. As Marc will say 1100 times, ‘opportunity is now here’. 


I could continue this scab forever because this year has been the most intense, heartbreaking, breathtaking, sweaty, tearful blend of amazingness you can possibly squeeze into one Danish girl. 

My most important lesson for me overall is to always ask why. Always question things the way they are and look for a new way of doing it. I thought it was bad to never settle, and I’ve always felt odd and as a sort of “outsider” because I always searched for something new and got bored so easily – but finally I’ve accepted this is what’s making me the creative I am. Thanks to everyone who’ve helped me come this far.

Thank you SCA.

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