How to go away with experimenting in art and design

Create

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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How to start any creative project … and move forward

Create

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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