Being an Explorer in this modern age

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I am, and I’ve been, very attracted to the idea of being an explorer for a long time. Since I read about all the adventures of heroes in foreign lands when I was little, I’ve been picturing myself as one of them. But don’t get me wrong. I know I won’t become a real explorer. Though, if you want to know about a real one, you could start with this article.

Finding new places and cultures is not a goal of mine, but meeting new places and people it is. Yet, what I really want is to be an explorer of life. I crave experiences. But even then, I am picky. I’m not willing to try unhealthy or life threatening experiences. I just want to do new things, learn more, read more, see new places, discover different ways of doing things…

One can be an explorer of the outer world, of the under sea world, of the outer space and also an explorer of the inner world. My perspective of being an explorer may be closer to of that of being the first penguin. However, I would still try something if it’s done before, if just I haven’t done it myself. ‘Cause, we all know most things are already invented. That doesn’t mean we cannot do it, try it, experiment with it…

I’m also a big fun of miniadventures. You don’t need to go to the other side of the world to live an adventure. Stepping out of your usual routine, your known streets and out of your comfort zone can be quite exciting and memorable too. It’s just trying something new. Looking at the smallest details of the plants in your garden. Taking your dog to a different park. There are gazillions of opportunities and chances and possibilities.

And the best way to start exploring?

With no expectations.

Not hoping to discover the new biggest hit.

Not longing for a shiny picture to show to the world.

Just wanting to be there, live it, feel it, experience it. And learn something.

That is my reason. That’s why I’ll never have enough of life. There’s no way I can stop wanting to learn, to discover, to see things under a different light.

I could stare at the world for thousands of billion of years… and that would not be enough to be aware of every detail of every little piece of it. Not enough to understand all that goes on inside me, on my mind or how I feel. Not enough to see every creature, to read every book or paint all the paintings I imagine. Time is the only concern, but it’s also the compass that will guide me in order to choose what I want most and what’s important to me.

The greatest beauty I find on all of that?

That we can create more of it. More beauty. More incredible objects, machines, architecture… It’s an endless universe of wonder that we are missing most of the time.

And so my craving for painting remains. Because I want to be able to enjoy and observe the flow of water and colours, depicting what I see, discovering forms and textures. It’s an endless pleasure and an endless challenge.

But, why should you be an explorer today?

Because no matter who you are or what you do. You can do something new, something unconventional, something that is a lot you. To be authentic. Not plain weird or different, but true to how you are, who you are. You have the chance to put a grain of you in what you do. And that’s a kind of magic. Which usually pays back. Following all the rules and trends had been proved it’s not a guarantee of anything. Breaking all of them is neither. Choosing the ones that better align with you… well, at least they’d be easier to follow and more appealing.

Knowing yourself is far more important than other rules. There is no knowledge out there able to tell what is best for you but yourself. Though that’s hard. Means listening to yourself more than the outside. It means trying to understand yourself instead of taking others statements as true. Means experimenting. Doing and undoing. It’s a lot of work, the right work. The inner world is not your enemy and the outside is neither. Listen both, follow your heart, discover what is true to yourself, align both worlds. When I feel true peace, I know I’m on the right path.

Finally, there’s no highest step in an explorer’s journey than to be thankful. At the end, we are talking about appreciation. The bigger it is, the better life becomes.


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5 Books I want to read before Christmas, for girlbosses

Life in the Atelier, Sweet Home
books for christmas

Have you ever read an article of books recommendations of books that the critic haven’t yet read?

Well, lucky me, I’m just a designer and not a critic!

A post on books again… just because they’re one of my loves!

Well, it is for a few reasons in fact:  I enjoyed reading and learning this way since my early school years and because I need to do something to relax and avoid loosing my mind on the internet in these cosy too-cold-for-my-taste winters. Also, my boyfriend likes to watch an episode before sleeping and not of one my favourite series… so it’s perfect to have an engaging book to read at the same time.

So, one afternoon I went to dive into the deepness of the Internet to make a selection of some books. I had just finished reading #Girlboss by Sophia Amouroso so I started from there to find similar products. To do so, I usually go to goodreads or just amazon. There I look up for similar titles and themes or make a new search. If I find something that sound interesting I’ll add the book to my wishlist or want-to read list. That way, when I feel like buying a book I just have to go to those lists and shop, knowing exactly what I want.

For today’s selection, I chose mainly books written by women who happen to be entrepreneurs too.

 

My So-Called Freelance Life

A few pages in and I’m completely hooked up on this. The author has a clear and engaging voice with a nice sense of humour. I’m devouring it. This book is written to help any freelancer or wannabe in any industry. Even though, Michelle Goodman is a freelance writer (a fact usually present on books about x, you know, because they have to be written by someone… who usually happens to write). But it looks good, very good.

 

Girl Code

As the title says, a book for women entrepreneurs. The author started out writing a blog and from there published several books and became a coach. This book is still in the business side but with a focus on the mindset that will be useful for women in business.

“ it will teach you how to build confidence in yourself, reconnect with your “why,” eradicate jealousy, and ultimately learn the power of connection”

What else can I say? I’ve only read the introduction 😅

 

Leave your mark

I don’t know if you’ve heard about #Girlboss or read it, but if you do, this one is kind of similar… To where I’ve read. In the fashion industry, very focused on techniques and advice to get a job. In Girlboss it seemed that Amouroso would teach about how to make your own empire, but she more accurately advise on how to be and apply to become part of Nasty Gal, her business. In Leave your mark, the goal is not to get into a business in particular but more about landing your job.

Though, there is more to it. The author got some amazing results from using social media and she will share her secrets with you. So I’m skipping some chapters of how to land the job of your life (because I prefer freelancing and I’ve read enough about the standard way to get a job) and jumping into social media. More I can’t tell you, I’m on it, but I promise to make a follow up post or just update this one.( So keep your eyes peeled for it! ).

 

Design is a job

I must confess, looking at the outside, this one seems kind of boring. The foreword is by Erik Spiekerman so it kind of gives me some reference and hope. From this early part of the book I would like to share the following sentences :

“Clients need to understand that they’ve hired us to do something they are not good at. And that they need to pay us for our knowledge, skills, experience and, yes: attitude. ”  Erik Spiekerman

Getting to the index, I notice that it may not be a boring book about the fundamentals of design at all. In fact, is the “formal” guide to being a graphic designer in freelance mode. Will it share some new perspective on my job? I do expect it to do so, and specially, what the author tells in the introduction:

“You will have more confidence in yourself and a deeper understanding of your craft.” Mike Monteiro

 

The power

I know I know… This recommendation doesn’t go much on line with the other books… But it’s always good to get some help that motivates you and not just gives you advice. So a bit of self-help to make the path to solopreneur sweeter.

I’m sure you’ve heard about The Secret. I saw the movie when it came out and have rewatched it several times. I have read the last book, Hero, which I love. But have pending the Power, which I’ll be reading right away, and The Magic, which I’ll try to get for Christmas! 😉🎄 This book comes to be an extension and progression of The Secret, adding stories and knowledge.

What are some books in your want-to-read list? Let me know in the comments!

Also, check out this post (and this one) for more book recommendations


And if you liked the post, let me send you a recap of all links at the end of every month.


How to go away with experimenting in art and design

Life in the Atelier

experimenting in design

Creativity isn’t an easy friend. You know it and I’ve told you (here and here). It is important to be flexible in mind to be creative. But, how to do that? What does it really mean?

Let’s remember what creativity really is: to make connections and see relationships were others haven’t.  When we use creativity, it is usually using a process. We need a solution for a problem (may it be a painting, a design, whatever). To get there, you can go through a number of steps in which you recognise the problem, look for references, collect ideas, etc.

One of the methods to come up with solutions or creative ideas is …. (guess it…) EXPERIMENTATION! (that’s right, you knew it!) And it’s what I consider the funniest part of the process. Kind of difficult, not too serious, blurred rules… But the most rewarding and playful part. That’s why I needed to write this post: it’s not always easy to accept that you need time to go through the experimenting phase.

7 Reasons to do experiment in your creative process

1- To practice creativity and become better at it

We can’t think that we already are at the top of our abilities and just keep doing the same again and again. Experimenting will stretch your creative muscles and skills to reach new heights. Also, creativity is about making connections, and the only way to get better at it is practicing. You’ll get used at doing it and sooner you’ll be getting more original ideas.

2-  To find new ways to express yourself

We have a medium in which we are comfortable, we have a style that defines us and topics we like to talk about. Well, that’s ok and right but, what about adding something else? Our works may be new and top (or not) at some point, but that doesn’t mean they can change. Maybe one day you’ll need to make them different. Just for you, nor for your audience. Or maybe you feel something is missing. Experimenting will allow you to keep growing and finding those things to add ( or subtract) and will give you new tools or expand your comfort zone, so your goals could grow too.

3- Discover styles or techniques that fit you

When you have to experiment, you have to try new things. And you have to do some research to find those. You’ll come up with new information, medium, materials and exciting possibilities. You may even try new arts, hobbies and crafts that could help you in your current creative problems. You’ll find out about other artists and inspirations too that can help you see your work under another light. Remember that a style is never fully defined and finished.

4 – Find out new things to blend into your work

Experimenting could be part of a travel. Or maybe just a trip downstairs into the closet of the forgotten stuff. Stories are part of our lives and can live through the work we do. When we live new adventures, they can become part of the solution.

5 – Have fun for the sake of it

No explanation needed. Enjoy it? Then do it!

6 – Become the next trend

Ok, this is not 100% realistic. Not because you experiment you’ll become popular. But maybe you will. Better experiment and be yourself than to spend the rest of your life just copying those who are popular.

7- Differentiate yourself from the competition

As I was saying, not to go with the fashion can make you different, and at some point, some people will get tired of trends… And you’ll be shining in your corner of rarity. Be ready to sing your song.

Now that you know how good can it be for you to incorporate experimenting into your creative process, let’s find some ways to convince yourself (or others) that what you’re doing is for the best.

experimenting

How to go about it – experimenting in your problem-solving process:

1- Write an artist statement about it

Artist statements help the audience to understand why an artwork exists and which ideas, feelings or concepts is build from. If your experiments are going to be in plein air you may consider to mention what is their function in the series of artworks, why you do it and what that brings to your work.

2- Justify with reasonable arguments

You may not need to write an artist statement but just tell others and yourself why you are doing it. Just choose one of my 7 points and elaborate with your own words.

3- Relate it to an evolution of yourself

What happens inside, happens outside. If your are in a moment of your life when things are changing and you are evolving it won’t sound bad to link experimenting in your creative process with your own inner progress. You are learning about yourself, and before arriving to clear statements, you’ll need to try a bit of this and that.

4- Link to events happening around you, in the world

Sometimes it’s the outside that calls us to action or change. You can experiment in order to become more socially or environmentally conscious, to create awareness around a topic or to be of help to those around. New problems call for new solutions, and you’re seeking them.

5- Make it part of a series

You can design your own challenge and experiment in order to complete it. For example, I did one that consisted in painting a wave everyday. It didn’t matter the medium nor the final product. Doing projects like these, you can create more artwork, more defined series and learn a lot.

6- Use it for a personal or self-initiated project

Related to the one before, but this could be just one thing. You may decide that you want to incorporate pattern t-shirts in your shop. So you need to learn how to make patterns and which ones work best. This can very useful and productive, because you are learning and experimenting but you’re also using all that material in a meaningful way for your business.

7- Use it to promote yourself along with a shared event

This is another strategy to use your experiments in your business. Now that Christmas is coming, you may want to play around that theme in your unique way… and share it all over social media. Sure that will be noticed by people and reshared! Any event can be an excuse to experiment and make some work that will take you and your work a step further… and maybe closer to your ideal audience. So it deserves a shot, doesn’t it? 😉

· How do you keep your creativity on shape?

· What do you want to experiment with? Have you done any of the above?


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7 podcasts for content creators and creative entrepreneurs

Life in the Atelier

creative podcasts

Today is a very special day, a day for gratitude. It’s Thanksgiving day. I don’t celebrate it (because it doesn’t exist in Catalonia) but I do like it exists. I believe gratitude is such an important value that we so often forget about! But not today, so let’s be thankful because the following podcasts exist and are here to help us in pursuing our creative and entrepreneur endeavours!

I’m not a podcast addict and usually don’t listen to lots of them.The reason for this is that I don’t find the time (missing long commutes in train) which makes me kind of picky of what I listen to on a basis. Thought, when I’m quietly sitting in my desk, in the middle of some drawing or painting, sometimes it feels nice to listen to human beings and learn some while I’m working.

 

1- Being Boss

Kathleen and Emily are the hosts of Being Boss, both of them running successful  business on branding and web design. They will teach all about the creative entrepreneur lifestyle and becoming the boss.

2 – Blazing creative

Another podcast run by two bosses, Meghan Maydel and Steph Schertz, that in their own words  they “talk pop culture, entrepreneurship, and their favorite tools of the week”.

 

3- Online marketing made easy with Amy Porterfield

Amy Potterfield is a well-known social media strategist. In her podcast, you’ll learn all you need to know about running a business on the Internet, from social media latest trends, strategy, content creation and entrepreneurial lifestyle.

4- CTR ALT Delete

This is the perfect podcast for those of us who sail the waters of social media, entrepreneurship, creativity without loosing sight of the important values in life.

5- Makers

Stories of people doing it in the creative world. Passionate, diverse and inspiring, all in one podcast of 20 minutes to get you started full of motivation.

6- Creative Mornings Podcast

I don’t only listen to the Creative Mornings Podcast but I wait expectantly for their newsletter. Creative mornings are a series of breakfast lectures happening one Friday morning every month in different locations around the world. If you happen to have one on your town, why not attend? But if circumstances aren’t on your favour, then you have the podcast. In it, you’ll listen to all kinds of creatives from this community give a short talk to spur your interest and creativity.

 

7- The Start
I started listening to this podcast what feels like a long time ago and is still one of my favourites. I love how Nick and Patrick interview their creative fellows. You’ll learn about their lives, the very beginning of their careers and all of their favourite things. It feels like meeting some awesome friends for a coffee.

 

 


 

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Creative books for the artist in you (2)

Life in the Atelier

great creative books

Even if your art is your passion, it doesn’t come easy to devote yourself to it. There are those endless projects, too many ideas or the lack of them. Sometimes, working in our art feels like a battle, like a war.

We started the topic with these books over here. This is the follow-up post, with a few more recommendations.

 

3- The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles

That’s what the book by Steven Pressfield, The War of Art it is about. It is a guide that tries to explain, rationalise and inspire creatives to express themselves, overcoming what he calls “resistance”. Resistance is all thhose things that stop a creative from completing her work of art. Call it procrastination, lack of inspiration, etc. Read his work and let it help you, I’m sure you’ll find the support you need to go on with your creative projects.
Some of my favourite quotes:

– “Here’s another test. Of any activity you do, ask yourself: If I were the last person on earth, would I still do it?”

– “Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.”

– Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.”

– “The conventional interpretation is that the amateur pursues his calling out of love, while the pro does it for money. Not the way I see it. In my view, the amateur does not love the game enough. If he did, he would not pursue it as a sideline, distinct from his “real” vocation. The professional loves it so much he dedicates his life to it. He commits full-time.”

 

4- The Art of Asking; or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help

The next book I want to recommend you is The Art of Asking, by Amanda Palmer. She is a singer and part of the Dresden Dolls, but I didn’t know anything about her until I read her book. As you can guess, this book is a lot about “asking” but it is a lot about her biography too. But that is not a problem. I loved the way the book is written and how everything relates and connects, the stories and the main message of the book. It is a new perspective on how to approach the act of creating and sharing your creations that won’t leave you indifferent.

– “Have you ever noticed that this looks like this?”

– “There’s no “correct path” to becoming a real artist. You might think you’ll gain legitimacy by going to art school, getting published, getting signed to a record label. But it’s all bullshit, and it’s all in your head. You’re an artist when you say you are. And you’re a good artist when you make somebody else experience or feel something deep or unexpected.”

– “Given the opportunity, some small consistent portion of the population will happily pay for art ”

– “The spirit of an artist’s gifts can wake our own.”

 

5 – The Art Spirit

My final recommendation of creative books is The Art Spirit. I’ve just been reading this book and I can say it is great and have surprised me immensely. This is not such a book as the others, it’s been written from letters and articles too from the author and it is closely tied to the process of painting with oils. The writer, Robert Henri, was a painter and a teacher, and the book is full of advice for art students and painters – or creatives. Because you’ll find out about technique and composition but also a lot of his philosophy of life and the artist profession.

And following, my highlights:

ON HAPPINESS AND LIFESTYLE

– “Every movement in nature is orderly, one thing the outcome of an-other, a matter of constructive, growing force. We live our lives in tune with nature when we are happy, and all our misery is the result of our effort to dictate against nature. In moments of great happiness we seem to be with the uni- verse; when all is wrong we seem to be alone, disjointed.”

– “No thing is beautiful. But all things await the sensitive and imaginative mind that may be aroused to pleasurable emotion at sight of them. This is beauty.”

– “Find out what you really like if you can. Find out what is really important to you. Then sing your song. You will have something to sing about and your whole heart will be in the singing”

– “A good picture is a fruit of all your great living.”

– “The thing to do is for each individual to wake up, to discover himself as a human being, with needs of his own. To look about, learn from all sources, look within, and find if he can invent for himself a vehicle for his self-expression.”

–“To have ideas one must have imagination. To express ideas one must have science.”

– “Do not let the fact that things are not made for you, that conditions are not as they should be, stop you. Go on anyway. Everything depends on those who go on anyway.”

– “To be an artist is to construct, and to whatever degree one shows the genius for construction in work of any sort, he is that much an artist. The artist life is therefore the desirable life, and it is possible to all.”

– “There is a joy in the pursuit of anything.”
– “Life is finding yourself. It is a spirit development.”

ON ART

– “Try to paint canvases that will show how interesting landscape looks to you—your pleasure in the thing”

– “We must paint only what is important to us, must not respond to outside demands. They do not know what they want, or what we have to give.”

– “One of the great difficulties of an art student is to decide between his own natural impressions and what he thinks should be his impressions.”

– “Don’t stop to paint the material, but push on to give the spirit.”

– “To paint is to know how to put nothing on a canvas, and have it look like something when you stand back.”

– “Hold to this principle that the greatest drawing, the greatest expression, the greatest completion, the sense of all contained, lies in what can be done through the larger masses and the larger gestures”

– “The development of the power of seeing and the power to retain in the memory that which is essential and to make record and thus test out how true the seeing and the memory have been is the way to happiness.”

– “If we knew what we saw, we could paint it.”

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How to start any creative project … and move forward

Life in the Atelier

start a project

Your creative juices have been spurring ideas for days. You see plenty of things you could try out. You are definitely ready for a DIY project. The moment have arrived. You have the time to work on something creative for the pleasure of it.

But you find yourself starring a blank page.

Or this page.  (Google page)

google blank page

Or maybe this one. (Pinterest)

pinterest

It isn’t a very good beginning, is it? Well, truth is, it’s not that bad either.

When starting any project you’ll usually have a previous idea of what it is that you want to do. But this idea can be very blurry. And even if it’s not, you’ll need to develop it.

So, how do I start? You may wonder.

How I would do it, I would starting making clear what is that I want to do.

how to start a creative project

What is the final result that you envision?

Is it a DIY project? Maybe a present for someone? A piece of clothing? Or maybe it’s an illustration or painting. Or maybe is a logo. Or an ebook. However, make it clear what is that you really want to do and attain with the activity of your boiling creative juices.

You know what you want.

Next step…

INSPIRATION or finding references.

If I was to start a logo design, I would do a previous research about the company, competition and audience and follow it with the creation of a mood board. For a painting, I may have a clear idea and just sketch it and look for reference pictures before starting my study.

So, for any project, I would make a search to see what it is that already exists and could be helpful and make a selection. For a DIY for example, I would look for similar works, tutorials and final pieces to get some knowledge and inspiration. I may even find inspiration in things that have nothing in common with the project but that could bring something new to it, for example a different colour scheme.

Let’s see some examples

This is what I would do for a logo design. I would look for pictures that evoke a feeling or sensation according to the values of the brand I’m designing for and create a piece that convey all this image. I usually do a couple, so the client and I can decide which one better fits the project.

screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-20-20-11

You could assemble your images in just one page with illustrator or photoshop to have a better perspective, or just save all of them in a folder in which to go back when you feel a bit lost.

For a drawing, the process could be more flexible. For example, if I just want to create something completely new and I’m feeling adventurous, I would go to my library of preferred works of art and take a look. This library is nothing more that images saved which inspire me, use techniques and colours that I like very much or are just pieces I admire. Looking at them make me realise of what I want to achieve with my artworks so it’s a good starting point for sketches and ideas. They also spur my imagination.

How I organize the images that Ilike and can inspire my work

How I organize the images that I like and can inspire my work

If I don’t need a new idea, I would jump onto looking for reference images right away. Those are the skeleton of my drawing. I learn how is what I want to draw.

So you’ve started your project, what’s next?

Time for the fun to begin. You’ll probably start very excited!

It’s time to design, to put the research to work, experiment, brainstorm and just produce the work.

Be aware that you’ll probably get a to a point when your bright idea will seem not as good and you may think to abandon that creation that isn’t looking like your tutorial. My advice… keep trying! There’s always that moment of doubt when it seems too much effort is not paying off, that it won’t happen, that the project will be a failure. It’s not. It’s just how creation feels to most people.

Keep working until it is finished. You will know when it is. It may get to a point where it could be still be improved but you know it is time to let it go. Or maybe it’s just so perfect as you envisioned.

It doesn’t matter, when you say it’s finished you can sit down and treat yourself cause you’ve done it!

chillout

Now, don’t take too long before creating something new! Using you’ll creativity often is like flexibility, you’ll become so much better at it just stretching more often 🙂

What are you working on lately? What is a creative project you want to start? How does your creative process work?

Tell me about your experiences and projects in the comments.

  


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