The blank page syndrome. The burnout moment. The empty mind feeling. Everybody, but specially those of us who work in a creative field have experienced it. Even the student during the long hours before an exam has this thought: I don’t feel like it.
And you know that it’s quite difficult to be productive when you are not feeling it right? But you know you have to do it and start as soon as possible. How can we move on from that pain and do the work?
Smart procrastination. That’s my answer and my method. Well, prior to that I would try to do something else that is equally urgent or important. When that doesn’t work, I decide I will have a good time and start working in a different way.
“By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The non-existent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.”— Nikos Kazantzakis
Let’s imagine I need to do an illustration. I don’t know where to start. I should have a concept, and I may have one, but it’s not talking to me, I’m not visualizing the painting yet.
So, what do I do?
1- I keep a folder full of images that I collect for future reference or inspiration. Things I would like to draw, inspiring pictures or others’ illustrations and paintings that I like. Going through all of my favorites could help me get a clear image of what I’d like my illustration to look like, choose a palette I want to try or just convey a feeling I want to incorporate to the piece.
2 – Option two: use Pinterest. Not in an endless search for something without even knowing what I’m looking for, but just to look through all of my boards and see if there’s a theme that I haven’t tried yet or maybe let the lifestyle of my choice inspire the real me. One that I would specially recommend is (having and) checking your dreams’ board. That will probably be more powerful and bring you some creative energy that you could use to start the work.
3 – If nothing has worked so far (which would be rare, I usually would use just one of all these items) I visit a very dangerous place: Instagram. However, I’m not talking about refreshing endlessly the feed or go stalk your favorite artists; I’m just talking about using your likes and saved instas to get you back to a moment you felt inspired. Because I will usually save a picture when it tells me a story or makes me feel a special something which I know may be useful my future uninspired me.
4 – Similar to the previous one, I often take screenshots of things I like or things I could use in the future. It’s also a good moment to check them. I must confess I usually forget about them so they sometimes are, at the least, a surprise.
5- Have you been too hard on yourself? Then it’s time to go over the old photos of travels and let my your life (and gratitude for it) be your inspiration. In the same way, I may revise my old sketches. That’s wonderful, because there might be an old drawing there deserving of some improvement.
“A new idea is delicate. It can be killed by a sneer or a yawn; it can be stabbed to death by a quip and worried to death by a frown on the right man’s brow.”— Charles Brower
A writing problem
If it’s too hard to craft a new post, there’s hope too.
1 – Take an old post of yours and see what’s missing. Could that become a new post?
2 – I have this wonderful app called Keep, by Google, in which I jot down any idea I get at any time. When you are experiencing a block, it’s a great time to go check it.
3 – Stop and reflect. What has been going on in your life? Or to the people around you? Could something of that be transferred to your blog? What story could you tell and link to your theme? Asking questions is always a good way to start.What strategies do you have to get inspiration or dropping aside procrastination?
Do you remember my last post about books? Well, it’s this one .
So maybe it’s time to update you on my reading list.
I’ll start with the books I haven’t finished reading yet.
My so-called freelance life
It’s a wonderful guide for the wannabe freelancer that has never been in that situation before, is starting now or in need of a bit of help. There’s plenty of good and practical advice. I haven’t been through it all though because I feel like I already know the theory and I don’t need to go over it (again). In my case, I should be working the path instead of informing myself. But if you’re considering going freelance, this book could be the prefect reading for you.
Design is my job
I only started it. It is nice but it’s not a great guide like the one above. It gives you the author’s advice on everything he considers necessary. And even though I appreciate the tone of it, very close to the reader, it won’t help me feel good about my job…so I said Next!
I’m 30 pages away from the end. It’s a good read to start feeling better about your life and spreading the love. A read I’d recommend. But I must add, I’ve been working on The Magic book for the last month too. And it is incredibly good. If you liked The Secret I would totally recommend it. It’s a great way to really put some gratitude into your daily life, with daily exercises. And it’s awesome how it really works.
Also, if that’s not enough and you liked everything about The Secret, I would also recommend you the book “The Science of Getting Rich”, which is the one that Rhonda received and inspired all The Secret series. It’s a very short read, you can find it free online (because it’s 100 years old!) and gets you to the point in a straightforward way. I’ll be rereading it, for sure!
Books that I did finish reading
I had a bit of trouble getting hooked by this book at first, because I couldn’t align with the author’s voice or tone at first. But as I got further I started liking it more and more. It may not become my favourite book but it is inspirational and motivational for all women in business and will empower your dreams (which I’ll always be grateful for). Let me show you some of my favourite quotes – the ones that speak the most to me.
“You must find the place inside of you where everything is possible.”
“You must envision your world through the eyes of positivity and possibility. The moment you do that, you open up a world of endless abundance.”
“Her success is not your failure.”
Leave your mark
As I told you in the previous post, I skipped the first part, because it was mostly about how to get a job. Now, the social media chapters and branding are good stuff. It’s a nice read because it feels like a different way to learn about what to do and what not to do on social media, along with some stories and advice. Who knew it that it could be so entertaining and helpful!
Want more books for the girl boss in you?
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Long days pass on through my studio’s windows, while my hands move quickly over paper and keyboards.
I wander on paths of woods in the warm afternoons and the streets of imaginary cities on my mind indistinctly.
I am a free soul.
My fingers dance over four strings while I relax at the sound of my ukulele, inspiring dreams of a surf trip to Hawaii.
Time is nothing but a shadow in the wall. The air is filled with the fragrance of a thousand flowers.
Sunsets spill waves of gold over the mountains and the sea is transformed into countless pieces of mirrors that show us another sky.
Drops of paint run quickly over the canvas, water deforming the shapes, the brush redrawing them and the voice of Lana del Rey bringing melodies of old dreams.
I am a free soul.
The only rules I know are those I build, the only schedule the routines I create.
All I know is the world I live in, the fresh air from up north, the breaking waves of my surfing spot, the chirping of birds when I wake up and the silence of the night.
Plenty of people populate my world; more than I’ll ever meet, some more than those who know my name, strangers who one day may become friends.
The smell of old books fill cosy afternoons by the fire while others are spent on unknown places that resemble galleries and airports.
Routine is always broken by adventures: long walks and climbs, surf trips to catch the next best wave, road trips that take us to beautiful landscapes and open our minds to new realities… nights under the stars and travels over the waters.
My work is all I’ve been doing naturally since I started doing things for myself. It brings pleasure to me while giving pleasure to others.
It was hard to realise that life would be whatever I decided to do with it. But then everything started falling into place.
There’s never perfection but fate comes always with perfect moments. Patience has always been my worst enemy thought in the end always becomes the best friend of the artist.
A creative soul lies within. Glimpses of it can be seen through gentle eyes. Everyone has a piece of it, all of us can watch our magic.
But no magic is greater than life has in itself. And to experience it may be our only mission.”
How should an artist’s lifestyle look like to you?
How do you imagine the perfect lifestyle of a creative life? What is your ideal routine? What is the life you dream of?
Need more? Let me send you a recap of all links at the end of every month:
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.
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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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.”
– “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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I’m sitting in my sofa, a blanket over my legs, the last lights of the afternoon entering smoothly through the window. A cool breeze is petting the trees outside and dark clouds are moving fast towards the town, above the mountains. I’m reading a book and I’m fully immersed in the words.
That, for good or bad, has been a recurring scene in my life. Books have always been a good companion of my, may they have been just readings for entertainment or study. Whatever I’m interested in the moment, I’ll look for new perspectives in books.
So when I had made my mind clear that I wanted to pursue a creative career, preferably as an artist and my own boss, I started looking for books that could inspire, motivate and teach me a way. Books for creatives. And, of all of them, I’m bringing you a list of the ones more relevant.
But this is more than a list. Because as I’m getting used to highlighting I though it would be great to share some of my favourite quotes with you. (If you like what you read, maybe you could ask for some of these books this xmas… 😉 )
My selection of books for creatives
1- (a combo) Show your work /&/ Steal like an artist by Austin Kleon
Austin Kleon is an artist and writer. In his first book, Steal like an artist, he talks about having references while working and how it is ok to “copy” to learn or get inspired to develop your own work. As this one is interesting, I found much more useful the Show your work book. Basically it talks about what the title says : how and why you should share more of what you’re doing like an artist and how that can help you, your process and your success building an audience. These books are like the business side of the creative life.
Want to have a look inside? Here are some of my favourite quotes of Kleon’s books. You can also visit his site and blog to find out more.
– “Once a day, after you’ve done your day’s work, go back to your documentation and find one little piece of your process that you can share. Where you are in your process will determine what that piece is. If you’re in the very early stages, share your influences and what’s inspiring you. If you’re in the middle of executing a project, write about your methods or share works in progress. If you’ve just completed a project, show the final product, share scraps from the cutting-room floor, or write about what you learned. If you have lots of projects out into the world, you can report on how they’re doing—you can tell stories about how people are interacting with your work.”
– “Ask yourself, “Is this helpful? Is it entertaining? Is it something I’d be comfortable with my boss or my mother seeing?”
– “If you want to be more effective when sharing yourself and your work, you need to become a better storyteller. You need to know what a good story is and how to tell one.”
– “What do you do? What are your ‘recipes’? What’s your ‘cookbook’? What can you tell the world about how you operate that’s informative, educational, and promotional?”
– “If you want fans, you have to be a fan first. If you want to be accepted by a community, you have to first be a good citizen of that community. If you’re only pointing to your own stuff online, you’re doing it wrong. You have to be a connector. The writer Blake Butler calls this being an open node. If you want to get, you have to give. If you want to be noticed, you have to notice.”
– “Work is never finished, only abandoned.” —Paul Valéry”
– “My interest in making music has been to create something that does not exist that I would like to listen to. I wanted to hear music that had not yet happened, by putting together things that suggested a new thing which did not yet exist.” —Brian Eno”
– “We want you to take from us. We want you, at first, to steal from us, because you can’t steal. You will take what we give you and you will put it in your own voice and that’s how you will find your voice. And that’s how you begin. And then one day someone will steal from you.”—Francis Ford Coppola”
– “ The writer Wilson Mizner said if you copy from one author, it’s plagiarism, but if you copy from many, it’s research.”
– “First, you have to figure out who to copy. Second, you have to figure out what to copy.”
– “You start out as a phony and become real.” —Glenn O’Brien”
– “Ask anybody doing truly creative work, and they’ll tell youthe truth: They don’t know where the good stuff comes from. They just show up to do their thing. Every day.”– “It is better to take what does not belong to you than to let it lie around neglected.” —Mark Twain”
– “Google everything. I mean everything. Google your dreams, Google your problems. Don’t ask a question before you Google it. You’ll either find the answer or you’ll come up with a better question.”
– “Whether I went to school or not, I would always study.” —RZA”
– “The manifesto is this: Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use—do the work you want to see done.”
– “Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.” —Gustave Flaubert”
– “If you ask yourself ‘What’s the best thing that happened today?’ it actually forces a certain kind of cheerful retrospection that pulls up from the recent past things to write about that you wouldn’t otherwise think about. If you ask yourself ‘What happened today?’ it’s very likely that you’re going to remember the worst thing, because you’ve had to deal with it—you’ve had to rush somewhere or somebody said “something mean to you—that’s what you’re going to remember. But if you ask what the best thing is, it’s going to be some particular slant of light, or some wonderful expression somebody had, or some particularly delicious salad.” —Nicholson Baker”
2- My second recommendation is Big magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert
The author of Eat, Pray, Love wrote a book about her creative process, how she sees inspiration and how she treats every step of it.
Even I don’t resonate with every chapter, there is much to it that I do like, find inspiring and empowering.So that’s what my selected quotes are about.
– “ Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?”
– “I’m talking about living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear”
– “Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them”
– “Your fear will always be triggered by your creativity, because creativity asks you to enter into realms of uncertain outcome, and fear hates uncertain outcome.”
– “ I felt like I was falling in love, or had just heard alarming news, or was looking over a precipice at something beautiful and mesmerizing but dangerous. […] I believe I can confidently call it by its name: inspiration”
– “ Whatever is bad for you is probably also bad for your work”
– “ You can support other people in their creative efforts, acknowledging the truth that there’s plenty of room for everyone. You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures.”
– “ You might earn a living with your pursuits or you might not, but you can recognize that this is not really the point.”
– “ I don’t know what I think until I write about it” Joan Didion
– “ Romans didn’t believe that an exceptionally gifted person was a genius; they believed that an exceptionally gifted person had a genius.”
– “… in the end, creativity is a gift to the creator, not just a gift to the audience”
– “ I thank creativity for allowing me to engage with it at all. Because either way, it’s all kind of amazing – what we get to do, what we get to attempt, what we sometimes get to commune with.”
– “ You do not need anybody’s permission to live a creative life”
– “ Most things have already been done – but they haven’t been done by you.”
– “Just say what you want to say, then, and say it with all your heart. Share whatever you are driven to share. If it’s authentic enough, believe me – it will feel original.”
– “ You are not required to save the world with your creativity”
– “ At the end of the day, I do what I do because I like doing it”
– “Your own reasons to create are reason enough”
– “ Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolutions in your heart. The rest of it will take care of itself.”
– “ If you’re working on your craft every day on your own, with steady discipline and love, then you are already for real as a creator.”
– “ When we look at your work […] we will want to feel your youth”
– “We need your work in order to enrich and inform our own lives”
– “ It’s difficult to create things; if it wasn’t difficult, everyone would be doing it, and it wouldn’t be special or interesting”
– “ Be the weirdo who dares to enjoy”
– “ Let people be in love with their opinions […] and just keep doing your thing […] The reaction doesn’t belong to you”
– “ Make absolutely whatever you want to make. It’s nobody’s business but your own”
– “Everybody imitates before they can innovate”
– “ Holding yourself together through all the phases of creation is where the real work lies.”
– “ It’s far more honourable to stay in the game – even if you’re objectively failing at the game – than to excuse yourself from participation because of your delicate sensibilities. But in order to stay in the game you must let go of your fantasy of perfection”
– “ Give your mind a job to do, or else it will find a job to do, and you might not like the job it invents.”
– “ At the end of your creative adventure, you have a souvenir”
– “ You are free, because everyone is too busy fussing over themselves to worry that much about you”
– “ A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week” General George Patton
– “ The work wants be made, and it wants to be made through you”
– “ The lightly you can pass the time, the brighter your existence becomes.”
I have selected three more creative books… but I’m worried you could get an overdose of creative advice so ‘m going to share the rest next week, with the second part of this post.
In the meanwhile…
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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)
Or maybe this one. (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.
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.
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.
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 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!
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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