Máté Urbin | There’s No Such Thing as Perfect Art

Máté Urbin starts almost every single video in the exact same way:  The camera faces down, his right hand hovers above an iPad, and he spins an Apple Pencil around his thumb before he grips it, touches the tip to the screen, and starts to draw. 

That simple but memorable trick gives Máté’s collection of work an on-brand and consistent feel as it invites the user to experience his creative process.

It’s exactly what you’d expect from a graphic designer who, until recently, specialized in logo design and brand identity.

But, according to Máté, all of that might be a thing of the past.  Backed by a massive online following and a dedicated community, Máté is only focused on one thing:  Giving back to the people who love to watch him work.

The Power of Habit

At first glance, Máté’s unique, artistic style seems almost simplistic.  Most of his artwork features a single subject seated on a plain or limited background.  Even his short videos make the process seem effortless.

But, Máté notes, his creative process is rarely short and sweet.  The short videos he produces — the bulk of his visible content — conceal the hours of practice behind every drawing he creates.

“I really like to work on my drawings for hours and hours,” Máté said, “especially when I’m in the flow state.”

That hard work has been embedded in Máté’s creative process since he was sketching as a child when he and his brother were creating colorful characters together.  Since then, Máté has gone out of his way to draw something every single day and to experiment along the way.

“Not a day has passed when I didn’t draw anything,” he said.  “Through the years, I experimented with different art mediums from graphite, colored pencils, pen and ink, to oil paintings, as well.”

In the process of discovering who he wanted to be and what he wanted to do, Máté started his studies in mechanical engineering but quickly switched to graphic design in order to turn his creativity into his profession.  This solidified his artistic habits into his daily routine.

“I firmly believe in the power of habit, so I try to draw something every day, even when I don’t feel like it,” said Máté.  “I’m a huge fan of lettering artist Stefan Kunz, and I can totally relate to his famous quote: ‘Create something today, even if it sucks.’”

Máté does his best to mitigate failed designs and wasted time by planning ahead.  Most Sundays, he takes a step back and roadmaps his content strategy for the week so that he never feels like his creative process is under pressure from a lack of ideas.

Even so, Máté is also quick to point out that pursuing perfection while trying to maintain a high level of artistic performance is a bad idea.

“I’ve already learned that there is no such thing as a ‘perfect artwork’. In fact, perfect is the ultimate enemy of good,” he said.  “You need to know when to stop when you’re satisfied with the result, and you have to make sure to show your art to the world.”

In recent years, Máté has focused on sharing the work that he creates.  Without that critical step, he wouldn’t have gained the following that he has today.

An Unexpected Community

Máté never set out to build a creative community.  In fact, he’s quick to point out how difficult it is to stand out with content on most major social platforms because of how saturated the market has become.

It’s why Máté worked to make his content stand out from the early days.

“I’ve been focusing on differentiating my content with animations since the very beginning. This way, my videos are more recognizable and people are always eager to know what is going to happen at the end.”

The content result is always the same:  An incredible piece of artwork created right before the viewer’s eyes.

These simple marketing and branding techniques have helped him to build strong engagement within his existing audience.  And, Máté says, people who see his work for the first time are more likely to join his community when they notice that all of his videos are consistent.

Building a following has been a life-changing experience for him — one that has allowed him to break away from his agency job and branch out as an independent content creator.

“When I started sharing my artwork on social media, I’d have never thought of becoming an independent content creator full time,” he said.  “As my audience grew, more and more people were writing me DMs, asking about the brushes, color palettes that I use, how I create my illustrations, and more.”

As a result, Máté is focused on supporting that community and creating products that help them with digital drawing.  In addition to Instagram, Máté also runs a YouTube channel where he shares long-form videos of his creative process.

“A lot of creators are eager to learn from me, so I’m planning to make educational courses, tutorials and sharing e-books in this topic in the near future, as well.”

For Máté, those possibilities are endless, and that is due in no small part to his love of experimentation with different styles, mediums, and techniques.

Practice & Experimentation

Even though Máté has been drawing and sketching since childhood, he’s constantly going out of his way to improve his skills.  This is a personal pursuit that goes beyond expanding his artistic abilities.

“Every year, I set new goals, that I want to achieve and new skills that I want to acquire,” Máté explained.

Last year, Máté says that he spent most of his time learning about video editing and animations.  This year, he’s focused on Procreate skills and lettering to see if he can combine it with his illustrations.

“I’m still in the experimenting phase right now,” he said, “but it’s definitely something worth waiting for.”

On top of that, Máté is always working to perform better with his creative tools.  He uses Photoshop and Illustrator on a daily basis, even though Procreate is his all-time favorite app.

Procreate is such a versatile tool,” he said. “I use it mostly for illustrations, but since Procreate 5 has been released, you can take your creativity with the animation assist to another level.”

He also experiments with new brushes from fellow creators and recently created custom texture brushes for his community.

For Máté, it’s all in a day’s work.  But, for the community he’s built and the fans who reach out to him asking how to improve, Máté knows that it’s worth the effort.

You can find more of Máté’s work and join his community on Instagram, YouTube, and Dribble.