Sparks Don’t Fly

What do you do when you’re stuck on something?  Do you sit through it until you work your way to the other side?  Or, do you walk away and allow yourself to be distracted by something else?

Tasked with developing an inspiring 20-minute careers’ presentation for primary school children, I got a spark of an idea while brushing my teeth one morning before work.  Four days’ later my reluctant colleague and I delivered my idea seven times in one day, and it was a hit with both the children and their teachers.  Even my colleague was buzzing with energy by the time we returned to work at the end of the day.

I’m trying the same approach with a dormant creative project, but I’m lacking sparks.  I have some character ideas I’ve been working on and (mostly) off for a few years.  But I’m struggling to ‘see’ them.  I know them well enough to be able to describe them in words, but the images are harder to get down on paper.  I’m also struggling with story ideas, for them, and keep looking for distractions.  Not a great start for my first picture book project!

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The Measure of Measure

As I sat down to type this I felt the familiar guilt of having done NOTHING in my sketchbook since my last post two weeks’ ago.  “But you have!” my inner voice tells me. I’d forgotten I’d drawn some character sketches for my Craftsy Expressive Picture Book Characters course, trying to figure out how to make an animal look upset.  But I’ve been asleep a few times since then.  And I’m so used to berating myself for not doing any drawing, that I don’t make a point of revelling when I do.

And this doesn’t take into account other creative things I’ve been doing during the last two weeks.  Mr C and I have started to design our front garden, which is currently a 12x6m patch of gravel, with no foliage.  I’ve also started to adjust a worn-once dress so I’ll wear it more often, and had to create stuff for work.  And although I added a few doodles to my character design sketchbook, that’s not the point.

Creativity can manifest itself in many ways, through words, images, ideas, conversations, and clothes, for example.  So, we shouldn’t use just one method to measure our creativity by, if at all.  The quality of our creative journey is probably a far better indicator of the progress we’re making, than the number of steps (pages/projects) we’ve taken to get there.

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Logo Logic: Fire Walking

When I embark on an art or design project, I always fluster.  Some of my ideas aren’t what you’d call mainstream and often have to be explained.  And that concerns me.

Take, for example, my diversity and inclusion logo design.  My first idea was a Venn diagram.  A bit boring, but no explanation needed.  Yet it just didn’t sit right with me.  I wanted to go with something a little less obvious.  And I did.

But with creative projects I feel I have to keep justifying my idea to myself, or explaining them to others.  At the moment I have limited faith (that comes from experience) but some of my ideas are just so far off the mark I end up on a completely different path to the one I should have been on (again, from experience).

Could I be a trailblazer, a brave pioneer of fresh new territory?  Or am I just lost?

A trailblazer is literally someone who makes marks along their trail so that others may follow behind.  They may not find the destination they were expecting, but if they hadn’t started their journey they would never have known.  I’ve begun to tell myself I’m blazing my own trail.  In time I hope someone feels curious enough to follow, find what I found, and discover where I’m headed next.

Lesson 5: It takes courage to blaze a new trail, so it’s okay to hesitate a little (and you won’t burn your feet).  Enjoy the journey or you’ll miss part of the fun, and take time to discover your destination when you finally get there.

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Dream Believer (2)

Have you ever asked the universe for advice, or taken guidance from a dream?

It’s not something I’d ever thought of doing until I learned that ‘it’ had guided successful watercolourist Anna Mason back into art after a long hiatus.  And last week I justified my own reasons for asking for myself.

I was sceptical at first, conscious that I might inadvertently seek out the ‘answers’ I was hoping for.  But with nothing to lose, on two consecutive nights I asked the universe to shine a light on my future path.  And on two consecutive days, it did.

For example, on day one, the model for my weekly life-drawing class was the life-model I drew at art college over ten years’ ago, but haven’t seen since.  Maybe it was just a coincidence.  Yet it was the first time he’d been booked by that class, and I myself had missed loads of them (including the previous three weeks).  There were other hints, and I’m still receiving encouragement.  However, they all were, and still are, pointing me in the same direction.  And who am I to argue with the universe?

It seems I am on the right path, but I may need to adjust my compass.

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